The game fish season is well and truly underway now in South East Queensland. Already two tournaments have been run and billfish tagged at both – it might end up a season to remember for all the right reasons this year!
The first cab off the rank was the Sunshine Coast Spring Shootout. It was virtually a repeat of last year with SCGFC President Brent Higgins putting his dad Barry onto a blue marlin as the first billfish of the tournament on Brent’s 19’ centre console, Walk the Line.
A fair few other blue marlin were seen over the course of the tournament but they were in a lockjaw mood. Brent’s was very nearly a double hookup though. Late on Saturday Roger Bayzand’s 28’ Black Watch Blu Reela tagged a decent little black marlin for junior angler Josh. Nearby SCGFC Secretary Brett Barton hooked another black marlin on soft plastics gear aboard his Grady White Spot On, which unfortunately didn’t count but he was gunning for a snapper in the snapper category worth a cool $1,000.
A pack developed in this area on the Sunday but perennial podium finisher Wayne Finlay and his 40’ White Cap Keneka made the most of the conditions giving Brent a massive scare tagging three billfish in an hour and a half for Mick Heustis. A fourth fish was dropped, which would have won it for them outright. Blue marlin were worth 3:1 over light tackle fish in the points used.
I was aboard Chuckles, Michael Guse’s 23’ Striper and we went gunning for, and collected, the heaviest snapper with a 7.3kg model for Kelvin Steinhardt. Some other impressive gamefish were weighed. George Rehua of Reelax Enterprises captured an impressive 27kg wahoo, which is a pending Queensland record for 8kg line for his angler aboard, his father-in-law’s 7.7m Reelax Capricorn, Razo, a sistership of my vessel. There are only three of these great boats out there and Razo is the second one out of the mould with mine being hand-built as a plug for it. Mark Holland captured a fine 24kg cobia on 8kg line from Troy Rumbelow’s 21’ Sea Hunt Black Mamba. Kelly Fenwick aboard Alex Fenwick’s 575 Cruise Craft Never Home landed a decent longtail tuna to finish in the trophies.
On Sunday night of the tournament we got word of the great fishing from the top of Fraser Island that day. Heath Irvine’s 33’ Obrien Kamikaze was able to capitalise on the information and headed up with anglers Jay Graham and Brett Barton to achieve what is nearly unheard of – tagging 67 black marlin over three days, with most on 6kg and 4kg breaking strain line. A host of other boats got 11 each as well; Jason Boule’s boat tagged 11, Ken Radunz a local charter boat operator tagged 11 as well and the boat Rob was aboard out of Bundy got 11 in the morning then went heavy tackle in the afternoon.
Another boat transiting the area put a few lures out and caught seven for the afternoon heading past. Trent Irvine fished his Kevlacat Reelaxn there the first day Kamikaze found the fish and tagged five on his way to Lady Musgrave Island for the week and got one off 1770 the next day.
In reports since then I know Bundy local Peter Stephens caught two marlin and a Spanish mackerel straight out the front of Bundy. Kevin Charteris and his 21’ Pride White Horse II did a social day out the front of Breaksea. Kev fished the spit for two hours for two from three in the morning on lures then did four or so hours of bottom bashing for some ripper 4kg red throat emperor and 6kg snapper when they could get them past the sharks. He had a troll again in the afternoon to get himself one as the deckies had got the two in the morning and finished up three from five for not much effort. Another boat with him got a couple as well on their first try and a 10kg red emperor.
Ningaloo a Port Macquarie based Black Watch in company with a few other Port Mac boats tagged two blue heavy tackle and 13 blacks light tackle for a couple of days on their trip up there. The latest boat up there is TV weatherman Ken Brown’s Assegai, Megumi. Brownie had a blue one day, missed out the next and tried light tackle the next for two from eight at the Thirteen Mile crossing. This report is just before the Fraser Coast Tournaments and Mooloolaba tournaments but I should be able to report on them next edition.
In local waters the Bribie Island Club hosted their junior tournament recently and John Williams once again pulled a marlin when it counts on his 34’ Black Watch Blue Black. Other boats to tag fish recently included the consistent 7.2m SCGFC Kevlacat Reel Capture. Take Time, Tony Kemp’s Bertram from Mooloolaba Club recently tagged one and then there have been a host of fish tagged off the Gold Coast by Surfers Paradise Club boats. The fish there are the same school as Fraser Island. On their way south they visited Noosa but bypassed the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Island in the currents then headed back inshore to the Gold Coast. Quite a few Noosa locals not in clubs got a few black marlin while they were there but not many of the gamefish fleet guys got to go after them.
Give me a call at South Queensland Charter Services on 0407 574 868 or check out my website, www.smithysfishingcharters.com.au to have a go at some gamefishing action or mackerel action.Reads: 2205