Home' Afloat : AFLOAT January 2015 Contents 60 AFLOAT.com.au January 2015
with David Lockwood
Seasons aren’t defined by some grid on a calendar. Mother
Nature is fickle and some years she works in your favour while
others she is against you. It’s with this in mind and some good
fortune for a change that we prepare the tackle for what could
be one of the best marlin runs along the Eastern Seaboard in
Following what must have been ideal conditions for
recruitment in the spawning grounds, the marlin are on the
march. A great giant black marlin season on the Great Barrier
Reef has lead to a big run of smaller marlin on our temperate
inshore grounds. After a stellar heavy-tackle season off Cairns
and Cooktown, and hot bite on the babies in Hervey Bay, the
small marlin have since reached Sydney and beyond.
While this happens every summer, this looks like one of
those bumper seasons where the fish cruise well inshore along
the snapper grounds and even within fishing distance of rock-
hoppers on our oceanic headlands. A cracker season like this
can see marlin milling about from Palm Beach to Port Hacking,
putting local fishos in a real flap.
On year in the mid-1990s, you could see them free jumping
as you cleared Barrenjoey and North Head. Everyone with a
trailerboat was catching them from 20 metres of green water
out to 60 metres of blue ocean current. Multiple hook-ups were
common and the action for 25-40kg fish was as good as you’ll
find anywhere in the world.
In a season like this, when the baitfish are milling about
in vast schools in close, the marlin are easy to find. Head a
little wider and you will find a lot of other game fish in hot
pursuit, too. The FADS and fish-trap floats, the current lines
and temperature breaks, the baitfish and flying fish are happy
hunting grounds for mahi mahi, small yellowfin, wahoo and
a bigger class of marlin.
There were already excellent reports of marlin off Sydney in
early December, which is a tad earlier than most years, so we’re
betting on this year being a beauty. The only thing getting in your
way will be the weather, but with forecasters tilting the needle
in favour of an El Niño-like pattern you can expect onshore sea
breezes in the 10-20 knots range by midday. Nothing out of the
ordinary and good fishing weather.
Launch early and troll upwind, usually to the north, so you
can surf back down-sea and home later. Zig-zag trolling is better
than just straight-line when running up-sea, so ‘tack’ when the
wind is on the nose.
And don’t be afraid to use a knot more speed to make sure
your lures are working aggressively. The top and bottom of the
tide and the tide changes often coincide with the hot marlin
bite, while the lead-up to the full moon and from one week after
that to the end of the following week and into the dark phase
are good bite times.
Baitfish on the surface are obvious hot hunting grounds,
but also look for bait on your sounder holding deep in the
water column. If there’s nothing snapping up top, jig some
livies for a slow-drift presentation down deep and through
the bait school.
That said, trolling a spread of three to five small 15cm pusher-
style lures is the best way to prospect for marlin. Run the lures
on your transom waves. The third wave back is the short corner,
the fifth wave is the long corner, the short outrigger is on the
seventh wave and the long rigger is a couple of waves behind
that. Then there is the shotgun way back in the middle.
The longest lures should be on the downwind side of the
boat so the long belly of line billows outboard and drags the
lures out into clean water. But don’t drop your guard with the
lures in close in the wash. Marlin often appear from nowhere
and crash them. I like running dark lures in the white water and
brighter lures out back.
If the marlin are snapping in close as we forecast, there’s
really not that much to catching one other than being out
there. Throw some small pusher lures overboard and troll at
7-8 knots in 45-70 metres off Long Reef, with Centrepoint Tower
as your backdrop.
Head out early and catch some pan-sized snapper and
mahi mahi for the table then finish the day with a troll. But
if the marlin are snapping you’ll soon find all other fish pale
by comparison. Long hot days of marlin fishing in summer,
with some well-chosen mates and music and the GoPros at
the ready is a great way to spend a sickie. And it looks like it’s
going around: marlin fever.
• DUBARRY • HARKEN • HENRI LLOYD •
d’Albora Marina, New Beach Road, Rushcutters Bay
t: (02) 9363 1939 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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