The marlin bite came on strong last long weekend, according to gamefishing guru Tim Dean.
As predicted on this page last Friday, load of boats took an Australia Day opportunity to head out wide and were rewarded.
“A lot of boats did really well, with reports of six and more fish tagged and released, and quite a good variety of blacks, strips and even blues,” Tim reported.
“It had been quite patchy up till then, but it fired up really well.”
Tim’s boat Calypso caught six plus fish each of the days, as did Born Free and The Omen, and numerous others.
Water temp out wide has really picked up but Tim said action inshore had been a little slow, due in part to the Super Blue Red Blood (Whatever) moon we experienced on Thursday.
“The big tides the moon brings affect the fishing in close with so much water movement on the inshore grounds slowing things down,” he said.
“It should pick up as the tides start to neap out.
“There has been a lot of small blacks coming down the coast and after this moon we should see them invade the inshore areas.
“Also the water temps in close have been quite cold but the southerly predicted this weekend should flush it out a bit. Definitely out wide is the place to be.”
The hot marlin bite is perfectly timed as tournament season kicks off this weekend with the Broken Bay event down south.
Next weekend it will be the BigFish Bonanza out of Lake Macquarie and then the Billfish Shootout Feb 16-18 out of Nelson Bay featuring the major prize of $100,000 for a blue marlin over 236kg.
“That kind of money is a big drawcard and I don’t know too many boats that aren’t entered in that tournament,” Tim said.
Thereafter you’ll have Interclub and the East Coast Classic.
On February 15, in the lead-up to the Shootout, Tim is organising a special fishing day for returned servicemen and women doing it tough.
It’s called Soldier On Day, and it’s where local boats donate their time and fuel so vets, past and present, men and women, their friends and family, can get out on the water and take their mind off things.
“It’s the fourth year of doing it here and although it’s not affiliated with anything, NPSGFC and NSW Game Fishing Association certainly throw their support behind it,” Tim said. “Boats basically volunteer their time to take wounded warriors out for a fun day fishing.
“The organisation Soldier On covers the cost of accommodation and then all the boats donate cost of fuel and time etc for a purely good day out. I first go involved with that in the States when I went fishing with some guys in Texas, and I thought we could do the same thing here.”
Talk of kingfish brought a wry smile to Tim’s lips when the topic of the ill-fated fish farm came up.
“It’s obviously bad for Huon (the fish farm operator), but strangely enough, there has been a lot of kingfish all about the same size caught around Port Stephens lately,” he observed. “Who’d of predicted such a hot kingfish bite this time of year – seems a Pasha Bulka style storm around 40 knots from the south brings it on.”
Tim noted that Fisheries have put a temporary closure around the fish pens while they engage their recapture protocol, but he wasn’t overly confident about their chances of success.
“What are they going to do, whistle them back into the pen?” he quipped. “If I was a kingfish, I’d have to weigh up what I prefer more, a live slimey or a pellet.”
As to the environmental impact, Tim diplomatically offered this from a fishing perspective: “I’d rather be looking at them, than for them.”
Tim is an internationally recognised gamefishing expert synonymous with the boat Calypso, which he charters both here in Port Stephens and up on the Great Barrier Reef each year.
On the return leg back from Cairns this year in December, he stopped in on the Gold Coast to swap over for new, bigger and better boat.
“It’s the fourth generation of Calypso I’ve had operating over the last 25 years,” he said.
“It’s another O’Brien boat, just a little bit bigger, with a bit more set up for the Barrier Reef liveaboard trips.
“Much the same style only with a bit more power and comfort to look after us we get older.”
Calypso will be busy with tournament work and charters through to the end of April with a few big US-based clients likely to make the trip over.
“I guess it reflects how the economy is booming over there at the moment and how people are enjoying the fruits of their labour,” he said.
“Tourism Australia and Destination NSW have given fishing a big push this year, which is great to see.
“And we’ve repaid them with fresh kingfish sashimi overload.”