Black Marlin Buzz
  |  First Published: September 2009

Port Douglas harbour has been inundated with state of the art game boats arriving for the annual run of big black marlin, which are creating an excited buzz down on the water.

The big black marlin arrive each year roughly around the start of October to breed on the edge of our continental shelf. This congregation sees anglers arrive from all over the world, chartering the best vessels with the best crews. It’s a period where legends are made in the gamefishing industry.

This season could very well be off to an early start with a 600lb black marlin witnessed free jumping not far from the shelf in late August. There have been several smaller marlin caught on the outer reef and they are ready and waiting for the big females to arrive in numbers.

All indicators suggest a bumper year ahead with bait accumulating and a steady supply of mackerel and tuna in the area. The awesome weather pattern of 2009 should also greatly assist efforts this season.

One of the local skippers believes we are returning to the start of what he calls the seven-year cycle. If you look back to seven years ago the weather was settled and the marlin season was on fire. He believes this year, and likely next year, will be electrifying fishing.

The holy grail of tournaments, The Shellcove Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic, will be conducted on 24-31 October. The majority of the boats from the tournament will also return to our local waters to fish the Linden Bank and Opal Ridge for the remainder of the season until mid-December.

On the Reef

Reef reports have remained consistently good this year with targeted species such as coral trout, large-mouth nannygai and red emperor caught in solid numbers and good sizes. One mystery however is the lack of small-mouth nannygai this year, the reasoning for which no one seems to understand.

Sweetlip, spangled emperor, Moses perch and cod varieties have completed a mixed bag. Superb weather has been a contributing factor to the steady stream of reports from the reef.

The only downside to the fishing has been the increased activity by sharks in recent times, nailing many fish as they are being brought up to the boat. Whaler sharks, weighing up to 200kg+ have been the main offender hovering around fishing vessels.

Spanish mackerel have been around in solid numbers and the light tackle season has been a beauty this year. Most mackerel have ranged between 6-10kg but the prolific numbers at times have outweighed the size factor.

Spotted mackerel and school mackerel species have had a great year as well, particularly closer to the inshore reefs and islands which the smaller boat brigade have rallied upon.

Rivers and estuaries

There has been great catches of trevally and queenfish moving deep into the river systems on incoming tides, especially during clear water periods, which has been the norm this year.

Big silver flashes can be seen on these days as these fish power upstream. A live bait in their path, or lures and poppers cast in their vicinity have both received serious attention.

Mangrove jack continue to thrive amongst the snags on dead or live baits and barra reports are on the increase with an increase in water temperature.

The coming month before the close of the barra season is your best chance of securing one of these prized fish while the conditions are consistent.

Fingermark are now becoming more responsive to a fluttering live bait in the deeper holes, while bream will keep you entertained using a strip bait as you wait for the bigger bite.

We are now in the middle of the best fishing period for the year with all tropical species are on the move. Now is the time to choose your quarry and go for it!

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