One hell of a party
  |  First Published: December 2009

The 2009 marlin season finished on an absolute high and will probably be remembered as one of the best on record.

After 125 marlin were tagged at the Lizard Island tournament, the focus turned further south to our local grounds at Opal Ridge and Linden Bank which had been firing all season.

The marlin bite continued into the early parts of December with regular catches of big black marlin. The action was so impressive that local boat Watchdog experienced encounters with three 1000lb plus fish in a couple of hours on one day. And this is just one story of many.

Day after day for about six weeks there were consistently incredible catches recorded from the fleets working the grounds. The big fish really turned up the heat towards the end of November thriving in generous numbers.

Prior to our marlin season statistics showed 70% of 1000lb fish in the world were caught just off our Great Barrier Reef. Following this incredible season this statistic will more likely be 85-90%.

In other parts of the world a 1000lb fish brings everyone to a standing halt, but here in this season it has been the norm rather than the exception.

With news of our sensational season spreading globally one will expect our region to be inundated with anglers from all over the world next year in pursuit of the big black marlin. So if you are thinking of taking up the challenge my advice is to book right now. Peak times between October-November in 2010 are already filling fast.

In other news the reef fishing leading into Christmas remained quite productive and calm days allowed anglers to fish deeper sourcing good numbers of large-mouth nannygai.

Close behind these nannygai schools were large gold spot trevally, red emperor and spangled emperor.

The coral trout also returned to form after the November reef closure. With the warmer conditions they can be sourced in 20-30m of water with the bigger varieties being caught that bit deeper.

As usual there are plenty of sweetlip on offer too, along with stripeys and long-nosed emperor.

The Spanish mackerel run definitely tapered off during the early parts of December, but you can still expect to encounter the solitary big rogue variety. A juicy live bait in a slight berley slick will eventually attract a response.

There are plenty of longtail and mack tuna in the paddocks to replace the mackerel if you are into your trolling. If you are feeling adventurous there a good numbers of yellowfin tuna, wahoo and mahi mahi not far off the outer shelf. Don't be surprised if the odd marlin is still there as well.

In November and in early December we had some good patches of rain, which brought along our river and estuary fishing nicely.

Fingermark and mangrove jack have been busy along with accidental barra catches. Fingermark are best fished on top of the tide while most jack and barra have been snared on the outgoing.

Local flats have seen a good supply of golden trevally, with small sharks and shovelnose rays also very active on the incoming tides.

With the associated incoming tide there are plenty of queenfish and smaller trevally sweeping in and harassing the big supply of juvenile fingerlings in our systems.

Consistent fishing in our rivers and creeks will be numbered from here on in as we anticipate the onslaught of the wet season. But I find after a big drop the fishing peaks a few days after.

Enjoy the New Year festivities and best of luck for the coming year.

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