Newcastle angler John Martinelli was the toast of the boat ramp last weekend, but saved his highest praise for deckie Tony “The Trojan” Tarantini.
Between them the boys boated half a dozen snapper up to 40cm but the jewell in the crown was a 14kg-cleaned longtail tail tuna.
Also known as a northern bluefin, it’s the kind of fish that sets pulses racing in rec fishing circles and they certainly were on John’s 4.85m tinnie last Saturday when the line started screaming.
”We were drifting baits in berley in shallow water over reefs when this northern bluefin took me by surprise,” John recounted this week.
“We hooked up in about 15m of water and about 20 minutes later we landed it in 50m or 60m – it just went to the horizon.
“I was just lucky to have Tony there when it struck, he was a trojan.
“He had the awareness to wind in the other lines and get the anchor up.”
Unfortunately the anchor got stuck as line screamed off John’s reel.
“I could see the blood knot and I’m telling Tony to get the anchor up, and just as he turned the motor on the anchor came loose and we started chasing.
“I would have got spooled for sure if it wasn’t for Tony.”
What made the catch even more special was it was done on 12lb braid and monoleader.
“Pound for pound using that kind of ‘whipper snipper’ cord on a tuna like that, it was a special catch and up there with my most memorable fish,” John said.
“I’ve caught wahu, jew, spanish mackerel, but with a fish like this on that sort of line, I just let the drag do the job and be patient.”
The night before the boys headed out, John had sharpened the gaff.
“Normally we just use the scoop but the gaff was necessary for this one,” John said. “Don’t why I got it ready, but I needed it.”
Fishing conditions off Newcastle last weekend were idyllic with flat seas, warm water and a mountain of bait.
The swell will drop off heading into this weekend, with warm temperatures and nor-westerly winds forecast.
“We were out at 6am and done and dusted by 9.30am,” John said.
“The water was surprisingly warm at around 22.8 degrees.”
Back at the boat ramp, John said guys asked him how they went and when Tony said it had been “memorable” and pulled out the snapper, they seemed a little underwhelmed.
“Then I emerged with the tuna and everyone was cheering. I told them it wasn’t a bad bi-catch for a bit of snapper fishing.”
John and Tony’s extended families were cheering too after the fillets were distributed later that morning.
Charlestown Anglers enjoyed a fantastic club outing last weekend, with the highlights being a big catch of dolphin fish, along with healthy catches of jew, flathead, snapper, bream, tailor and whiting.
“For the first time ever that I’ve seen we had dolphin fish [mahi mahi] weighed in,” club weighmaster Troy Terrill said.
“And at the moment we have Pat Nunn on the trophy board with a huge catch of a dolphin fish going 145cm.”
“We had a few guys go chasing the bonus species with Paul Harvey ending up being a deckie for his wife Jody. They headed up to Port Stephens with Jody getting the biggest dolphin fish.
“Big Luke went to Port Stephens FAD and said that there were hundreds of dolphin fish as he could see them swimming around the boat, he caught a fair few but only had one to weigh in as most were undersize.”
Jas Maher and Troy fished off Newcastle chasing snapper and ended up with a couple good pan size ones.
Both also reported losing monsters.
“We headed out to Newie FAD but it was very different to Port Stephens as it was very quiet,” Troy reported.
“The Newie Gravel fished really well for flathead with some great sizes.”
Daren Gould took his boys, Oliver and Jackson, out on the lake and landed a great jew .
Oliver and Jackson weighed in flathead, bream and whiting.
Chad Kelly took his daughter Hannah out in the lake in search of her first jew and although she found one, it only measured 60cm and didn’t count. She did weigh bream and trevally.
“Back at club sponsor the Warners Bay Hotel, Darren filleted his jew and gave it to the chef who ended up cooking it up, giving half to the members and half to the lucky locals,” Troy said.
“It was a great treat to be eating fresh fish at our weigh in.”
Outing winners were: Men’s, first Big Luke with dolphin fish and a lot of other species; runner-up Paul Harvey with dolphin fish as well; Women’s, first Jody Harvey with a cracker dolphin fish; Junior Boys, Oliver Gould with jew and flathead; Junior Girls, first Hannah Kelly with a great catch of different species.
The club’s next outing is May 4 on the Myall River.