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Larva Lure - Change it, lock it, catch it

Disappointment came via an announcement from the GFAA yesterday that the satellite tag put in the broadbill swordfish on Saturday has detached.  Unfortunately this early data unfortunately means this fish has died.  I confirmed with Dr. Sean Tracey of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) that I was able to share his explanation which is in his words below.

Dr. Sean Tracey IMAS

“They (the satellite tags) are rated as good to 1800 metres and have a fail-safe that will detach them from the fish if they go below this depth. Based on the depth data recorded (in this case), the tag went almost straight to the sea floor, stayed at 600 metres – basically the depth the fish was tagged over, and detached after 2 days as it was programmed to do if it stayed at a constant depth.

Either the whole fish sunk to the bottom or possibly it was bitten and part of the fish (with the tag) sunk.

Either way it is disappointing but there is still much to learn about this fishery, particularly the fish off Tasmania.

There have been several sat tagging studies in New Zealand and Australia (within the commercial fishery) as from the US from both commercial and recreational fisheries on swords. One of the big questions is are the fish off Tasmania an isolated population or do they migrate south annually. The sat tagging work in Australia does not show the fish migrating as far south as Tasmania (but this doesn’t mean they don’t). So we hope to get a few tags out on fish caught off Tassie (that survive) and see if they stay local or go walkabout.”

samssail
Pakula Lures

Hot fishing all over is not what you expect in winter!

But its a BIG report today so use the links below to skip to the sections in the report if you don’t have the time to read the lot..then come back later. It’s well worth it!

1. Townsville (Cape Bowling Green) – the juvies are here!
2. Sunshine Coast – water cold and green out wide but sails still in number in closer
3. Gold Coast – yet more blue marlin. What a great year!
4. Sydney – warm water, still blues and stripes around
5. Western Australia – non stop billfish, mostly sails for the start of the season at Broome

Townsville’s Cape Bowling Green

Report from Townsville GFC Club Committee member and young gun Jack Nicolosi who, on board the family boat Zuri, with several other club boats enjoyed a fun weekend on the water and overnight raft up at Bowling Green… oh and they found a bunch of marlin too!

Arriving on the grounds mid-morning on Saturday they found the bait pretty much right where they left it last year, and had a little black up within 15 minutes. It disappeared after a few strikes setting up a pattern that saw them go 4-2-0 within the first hour fishing.  The real hot bite was after the tide turn and gave them a final score of 7-5-2 including a first black marlin for Donna’s brother Kevin. Fishing nearby Reel Crazy finished with 4-4-2, Silverback went 3-3-1, Maximus 1-1-1 and Princess C 1-1-0. Interestingly all boats encountered and caught dolphinfish which have been scarce at Bowling Green for many years.

zuri

The overnight raft up lead to sore heads and dulled reaction times on Sunday but the fishing did not let any keen angler sleep it off!  Arriving at the grounds Zuri’s first strike was a double header of little fish which resulted in Jack’s cartwheeling off and Kev tagging and releasing his second fish in as many days. In the next few hours they raised countless fish without hookup. After heading over to investigate a free jumper, all hell broke loose with 5 hungry little blacks in the spread at once and only two angler on deck! The pattern continued throughout the rest of the day wrapping up what Jack calls one of the most spectacular and most frustrating days fishing down at Bowling Green with a 16-7-4 (bringing the total weekend tally to 23-12-6!)

With Rowan on the wheel, Silverback had a blinder going 8-8-7 on Sunday (and a very respectable 12-10-8 for the weekend – photo sequence below) while Reel Crazy was unlucky with a 1-0-0.

Another highlight for the weekend was Cathy on Princess C releasing her first ever sailfish finally after all the years of fishing and resulting in only black marlin instead! Well done Cathy!

silverback

Jack tells me that the vast majority of fish were sub 12kg (and a lot of those between 5-10kg making them hard to hook!) except for the last few on the lures a bit bigger. All in all a great way to kick off the 2014 light tackle season…I’ll say!
Update: Michael Winterton tells me he took September Blue for a run to the Northern Grounds yesterday (Mon) for a 6-4-2 on Pakulas as well!

(Don’t forget to read the Townsville Destination Guide if you are interested in heading up to fish CBG yourself! And the Toyota Billfish Challenge is in the calendar for Sept. 5-8.)

Sunshine Coast

covershotsail

On the Sunshine Coast with good weather forecast David Granville made the decision to fish wide Saturday to try for a first blue for the new boat. Stopping on the light tackle grounds on the way to collect bait, they caught this sail for Trevor but it was a different story out wide – the water was green and surprisingly colder than the light tackle grounds.  Covershot was one of several boats finding the sails on Saturday (Catapult and Misty also among them).

On Sunday, Jamie Behrens was also out on the 18 mile off Mooloolaba on board his 520cc Haines Hunter Reel Hunter with 7 year old son Mitchell, in glassy conditions. Jamie said the water temp had dropped a little since the day before but the bait was good with gannets diving on the pilchard schools. They tagged 3 sails in the 40-50kg range, all on live bait.  After spending two hours recently hooked up and fighting a good sail before losing the fish, Mitchell made the wise decision to be an observer on these one, hoping instead for a micro black with a few around recently as well.

Gold Coast

More blue marlin are moving through the waters off the Gold Coast. What a great year they’ve had!  Glanville (Ocean Instinct) tells me he went 1 from 5 on Friday, with the successful fish a good one close on 400lb. Some more blue marlin bad luck on two more pulling the hooks right next to the boat and including a stripe didn’t hook up just playing with the lure. He was out solo again on Saturday for a 1 from 1 with the fish seemingly moving on. Yesterday he and Sam Baillie were with Capt. Billson on Viking in some very good weather conditions and recorded another 1 from 2.

Glanville says that with winter coming it seems the patches of good water are much smaller and are moving through a lot quicker. But what a great season he’s had notching up 26 so far!

Fishing on Saturday on board the ever consistent Jugs, Matt Caelli reports another blue as well!

Sydney

And speaking of good water, and slightly warmer than usual at this time of year (Rod Findlay tells me there’s a lot of 19.5 when it would normally be 18.5 by now), I saw reports of two solid stripes weighed for Sydney GFC (visit the new look SGFC website here).

Rod also tells me that Halukalani and Hold Up both let go blue marlin while Tomcat raised another that did not stick, with a few reports of big dolphin fish around as well…all while they were out there fishing for yellowfin! Pretty weird for June….

Update: from SGFC VP Daniel Kirby who was on Halukalani with Tim Angus. Daniel reports that their unseasonal blue was a very healthy fish. It went crazy on the bite and had them doing 15knots in forward to keep up!

With the club season wrapping, the Findlay brothers Murrifin’s 2013/14 season recap video is up. Check it out here.

Western Australia

Makaira Game Fishing’s Capt. Jeda Ellens reports that its been another awesome start to the season for Broome with his guests notching up plenty of 10+ fish days since early May! In the last week the bite has been up and down but they’ve still recorded 24 sails and a black in the last 5 days alone. Their best day this season was 12 sails and the black and Jeda predicts that if things keep going this way it could be much better then average season!! (Jinx!! ;-))

Photo at top is Sam with is pending WA Junior record of a 21kg sail on 8kg on Sunday. Sam is a member of a fishing dynasty the Czabayski family of the Game Fishing Association of South Australia and was fishing with two more generations Ralph and Rolf – congratulations Sam!

sattaggedsword

Just weeks after Leo Miller and his Team Choonachasa tagged the first sword ever tagged and released in Tasmanian waters, Darren Buttigieg followed up to satellite tag and release a daytime sword on Saturday! (Read on below for Leo’s story on his 4 Tassie swords caught since the end of April.)

Satellite Tagged Sword

Darren reports that Saturday’s swordfish was caught in 500m off Eaglehawk Neck after just shy of 2hrs fight on 37kg tackle and estimated at close to 200kg (photo at top).

The crew (Darren, Damien, Mat and Lochy) had taken Damien Chetcuti’s boat down there from the mainland and on this trip we spent 2 days out there fishing for swords. The fish was caught on Day 2. Darren said it first took a tuna belly flap that he had stitched but let it go to take the other bait (squid) at about 500m down in 550m of water. The fight time was just under 2 hours.

Darren admits that it was a very very hard decision for all on board to release their first, but with IMAS’s Sean Tracey (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies) just 3km’s away with a satellite tag ready to go, it was a great opportunity. The tag is programmed to pop off after 6 months and we can’t wait to find out what they learn!

And this as news comes in of yet another weighed off St. Helens Saturday at 238kg.

Leo’s Team Choonachasa’s history making couple of months – the timeline:
  • First Sword! After a 3.5 hour they landed Tassie's first ever broadbill swordfish specifically targeted on rod and reel (141.7kg).

  • 2nd sword 136.2kg on 24kg.

  • 3rd Sword - after 50 mins on 37kg mono pending Tassie and national record as well as the 1st ever pending sword record for the local club!

  • First tag and release in Tasmania of an estimated 160kg plus sword after 2 hr battle on 37kg.

How it started:

Although it had been on his radar for a while (effectively since Mure’s Fishing had caught their estimated 400kg sword years ago, and since Kenny Smith’s 224kg beauty last March), it got serious. And after much research Leo stopped talking and started specifically targeting the swords. By this stage they’d already recorded 2 night trips for no bites as well 3 day trips, busting one off on the 2nd, with the 3rd delivering a 90kg mako instead. All the while suspected swords were being hooked on electric reels by ‘accident’ and another member of the team Simon Turner had successfully landed an 83kg one on his boat Mr Sickles.

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hatchettAnother Aussies Abroad report from yet another Cairns season regular Dean “Pup” Ford, who has been on the deck of Hot Shot and Kekoa and most recently Calypso and is currently in the US, Bahamas and DR working with another Kekoa alumn Jarad “Dingo” Boshammer and Capt. Danny Ford on the Swann family’s Tenacious for the summer season.

Dean reports that they recently fished the custom shoot out in the Bahamas catching 2 blues for Stephanie Swan to 400lbs which saw her taking out Champion Lady angler and placing 5th overall. They also lost an estimated a 800+ lb blue marlin with 30 seconds to go on the last day, again for Steph, that would of won them the whole title, but unfortunately it jumped a big circle and went back though the main line breaking them off. (In four days of fishing including a prefish day they went 4 for 5 on blue marlin and 1 for 3 on whites.)

The boat is now down in Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. They have fished 4 days so far catching 4 white marlin.

Above is a pic of the hatchet marlin they caught on a fun day for Kasey’s sister Kori in the Bahamas whilst still setting the spread at the start of the day before the riggers were even down!

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