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Larva Lure - Change it, lock it, catch it

Tournament Report Day 1:

Well the radio skeds weren’t too bad yesterday and I was able to get each tag up for those following from other locations.  If you want to join in and follow the reports fish by fish you can do so on via my Twitter feed. Just click on my Twitter handle below. And for those who were following yesterday, thanks for the nice comments and support!

Well another year, another Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic and even with the challenges the event has met this year firstly with the relocation to Cooktown (due to damage from Cyclone Ita. And Cooktown Fisherman’s Wharf and 1770 and the whole town did such a great job for the briefing and sailpast. It was lovely to see so many people come down to see us off! ABC Open’s Gemma Deavin took some great shots of the festivities you can see on the ABC Far North’s Facebook page here.)  The other challenge has been the radio skeds also due to damage from the cyclone to the repeater station, but we managed even if we did have to use 3 separate channels to do that!

A shot of Little Audrey's 650lb-er. They were unlucky not to get a tag into a third fish.

A shot of Little Audrey’s 650lb-er. They were unlucky not to get a tag into a third fish.

As for the fishing, well, its been many years since the event has started off on such a high. The first fish was reported only 40 minutes after start fishing – a 200lb black marlin for Sarah Jackson fishing on Capt. Steve Ahlers’ Hellraiser – and it was pretty much non-stop throughout the day from there.  Capt. Brett Goetze’s Amokura has streaked to the lead with three nice fish at 800, 850 and 400lbs all for angler Frank Padoin. They also missed a fourth later in the day.

A regular from the private fleet, Lachie and Janice Eggin’s Althaldo (150 & 400) leads the group on two tags on countback from Capt. Daniel Carlson’s Little Audrey (650 & 250), Capt. Brad Craft’s Castille III (300 & 900), Capt. Ashley Wallis’ Kalira (700 & 950) and Capt. Ross Finlayson’s Top Shot (80 & 150). Boats on one tag a piece are Hellraiser, Moana III, Think Big (another nice fish at 850lbs for Sharon), Iona II, Reel Easy and Duyfken.

A photo of Phil’s fish on Castille III below that Capt. Brad put at 900lbs.  As Brad says, “Phil the Pom comes good!” :-)


It’s worth noting that Ash’s anglers on board Kalira are representing the Bertarelli Foundation this year – and while I’m not sure if these were first marlin for Daniel and Marco Meister, they were certainly very nice fish. This year once again, the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic is taking part in the IGFA Great Marlin Race and satellite tagging program and for the first time (world first), every member of the fleet has been issued with one Satellite Tag free of charge
which will hopefully enable the scientists to learn more about these magnificent creatures.
These PSAT Tags cost Aus $5000.00 each and is funded by the enormous generosity of The Bertarelli Foundation and The Peter Teakle Foundation.

Heading north

I had a quick report from another Cairns season regular who is currently on route north from the Gold Coast to join the rest of the fleet.  Capt. Jared Weir on Shaka reports that he had 10 blue bites off Sandy Cape straight lining north. Two were doubles and all of them had multiple shots. They only caught 2 as the rest either never hooked or jumped off with the biggest around 450lb. Jared says that it would have been fun to stay in the area and switching them as they all kept coming back.  So some fun ahead for boats who have time to spend out there.

Another Coffs Update

Richard O’Ferrall with more from Coffs: After a quiet winter, the Coffs Coast game fishing has started to wake up from the doldrums with more promise than we’ve seen for some time.

The East Australian Current was missing in action for several weeks in late winter, and is only now starting to flow normally again. So far, it’s brought masses of bait into the northern NSW coast, and with it, one of the best early striped marlin bites seen for some time. The stripes are still proving to be a bit erratic, but if you can find some mid-water or surface bait and work it for a while, the chances are you’ll raise striped marlin. This spring, the stripes are working in large packs, and a high proportion of multiple hookups on lures have been a feature of striped marlin fishing here for the past month. In the last three weeks alone, my records and reports from the game fishing community here show 49 striped marlin raised, which for this time of year is well above average, and is almost certainly not the full picture.
Read the rest of the report…

Pakula Lures

Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic

The Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic starts today and for this reason I have few reports from fishing yesterday as most of the competing fleet were in port (with the exception: Capt. Alex Johnston on Shikari who went 1 from 4 at Jenny Louise yesterday).

In the past as you all know, I’ve live tweeted tags for the event but due to some communication issues that remain courtesy of Cyclone Ita that went through the area in April (and causing the tournament to relocate to Cooktown for 2014 – photo), I’m not sure how well we’re going to be able to hear each other.  I’ll be helping out with the scheds myself so we’ll see how it goes. Today will be a good indication. Black Marlin Blog on Twitter is here so you can check and see how its going.

Little Black Marlin


Some great reports of the little blacks that are still making their way down the coast. Nathan Green converted 8 from 10 on board Pelagic yesterday (photo above) fishing the grounds north of Yeppoon (photo). Nathan said the fish were all int the 10-20kg range. I also heard that Aaron Concords’ Mabuyu also went 9-7-3 on the little blacks off Fraser yesterday. Great to hear they are making their way through.


I received some great shots from Mike Hallam who was fishing on Amokura of Onsite’s big fish from Thursday above as well as one of Viking’s big fish (below) from earlier this week as well. Great shots Mike, thanks for sending!


A catch up report from Capt. Corey Hard’s Askari who started another 30 day marathon trip with the Dreamin’ On crew yesterday with two fish at 450 and 300lbs.  Corey tells me that they fished the previous 7 days from Number 2 to Number 10 Ribbon and caught 14 for the trip including two big fish and 4 others 500lbs or better.  They caught a 750lb-er, 600lb-er and 450lb-er in one day and a 950lb-er, 500lb-er and 350lb-er on another.

But over all a quieter day on the water with many boats heading in early to secure a prime spot in Cooktown in the leadup to the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic which starts tomorrow (out of Cooktown this year).   Still out on the reef, Capt. Dean Beech on Onsite added another fish about 300lbs, Capt. Adam Jordan’s Iona went 1 from 2 at 350lbs and down off Cairns, Capt. Alex Johnston’s Shikari returned from 3 days at the Bank with his guests from Sweden going 4 from 4 with all getting their first marlin at 800, 700, 400 and 300lbs. Well done guys!

And another from Cairns, a report from Dylan Brier-Mills who was fishing on the 6.8m trailer boat Hammer and seeing some action with a fish around the 400lb getting wrapped up and busting them off after a quick surface display. The next fish did stay connected with angler Declan Williams getting his first heavy tackle black that skipper Jason Preece called 500lbs, and a first for Dylan on the leader.  Fishing their way to Opal Reef in the afternoon they hooked another fish around 800lbs that Dylan was in the harness for but the line was cut by a toothy critter.  The fish were on 80lb stand up tackle.



Capt. Dean Beech had a year away from the reef, but it didn’t take him much time to get back into the swing on Onsite this year notching up two big fish at the upper Ribbons yesterday.  The first for Grant Murphy that he put at 950lbs+ and then less than two hours later, another big one for Graham Whitaker that he put at 1100lbs!  This caps off a busy few days for the boys who are now on 5 for their first three days of the season (with the other 3 in the 200-300lb range). Photos above and below.


reeleasyLikewise: he may be in a ‘small’ boat but Sea Fever’s Capt. Ashley Matthew on Reel Easy just finished a top four days for his guests from Airlie Beach with another fish that he put at 800lbs (photo right) nearby.



Down the bottom, Brett “Changa” Chain is back on the GBR and yesterday fishing with Leon Akritidis on his 28ft Carolina Classic Defiant for bait up to Cooktown for the tournament. At 2:30 they decided to switch to heavy tackle and fishing into the anchorage at Opal. Less than an hour into it and they had the massive bite on our Zacatak Cracker lure from the big girl. Changa says it’s definitely the biggest fish he has caught whilst privateering. With only 3 on board, it was fitting that Leon was the angler (on standup 80!) for his biggest fish and Mario Zac was on the leader. When she was released she had a couple of smaller male fishing tailing with her. Great way to start their couple of weeks up here for Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic! Photo below.


Back up off Cooktown, with Capt. Luke Fallon on KEKOA, we headed out for the first day of our overnighter with PNG fisher’s Niki and James Collins who were keen to get onto a big black marlin after some good years fishing for the smaller blues off PNG.  Niki was first in the chair and after a false start with the big girl stealing the scad, she came back for another go and another scad. This time she stayed connected and hooked firmly in the corner of the mouth, gave Niki a tough 50min fight before release.  Capt. Luke put her at 850lbs, photo below.


Iona II’s Capt. Adam Jordan also went two from two on the first day of a new trip with Peter Cardilini and Roger Gentle at 400lbs.


And catching up: Little Audrey’s Capt. Daniel Carlson finished up another 5 day trip with 6 from 11 all between 300 and 450lbs.

And Capt. Steve Ahlers on Hellraiser likewise, after I told you about his big fish from Monday, has  finished 4 four days with Russell and Monique, notching up 6 fish, a  350, 800lb+, and 900lb + for Russell and 1000+, 350 and 400lb for Monique. 800lb + picture below.


Late report from Glanville on Capt. Bill Billson’s Viking II who released one from two smaller fish.