GOOD CATCH:Ben Knott, from Charlestown, wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 120-kilogram black marlin hooked off Port Stephens recently. Call into Tackle Power Sandgate, at 53 Maitland Road, Sandgate, to collect your prize, mate. Don’t forget to bring a copy of the fishing page for verification. Meanwhile, thanks to veteran game fisho and Herald reader Peter Bliss, who phoned in midweek to query the claimed 120kg status of last week’s Fish of the Week winning marlin from John ‘‘Robbo’’ Robinson. It was a case of crossed lines, and apologies to Robbo if anyone gave it to you for exaggeration. It was still a good fish though.NEWCASTLE-Port Stephens Game Fishing Club Team 1 leads Interclub heading into the second weekend of competition but it’s still anybody’s race.
Competitors in the southern hemisphere’s biggest game fishing tournament enjoyed remarkably good conditions last weekend.
Fears of a catastrophic blow-out courtesy of Cyclone Marcia up north proved unfounded as a fleet of more than 105 boats hit the water.
“About 55 marlin were tagged,” NSW Game Fish Association president Garry Chenoweth said.
“Most fish were caught on the troll, with the wider grounds producing.
“The majority of fish tagged were black marlin – it feels unusual not to have as many stripes.
“At the moment, NPSGFC Team 1 are leading tag and release and NPSGFC Team 4 are leading capture, but it’s really close.
“This weekend is still anyone’s game.”
Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackleworld Port Stephens, fished on Born Free which was one of three boats in NPSGFC Team 1.
“Brent had a slow day on Saturday, got one I think and maybe five on Sunday,” workmate Paul “Ringo” Lennon reported.
“Born Free followed up with four marlin on Monday to take out the Ladies Day comp, the Lyndy Grieves Memorial.”
The Ladies Day tournament was named in honour of the much-loved fishing fraternity member who passed away last August.
For the past 30 years, Lyndy has helped husband Neil man the radio base during Interclub.
NPSGFC Team 1 leads tag and release on 117,031 points from Broken Bay Team 1 (104,358) and Sydney Team 2 (102,744).
Broken Bay Team 1 boat Vengeance is leading boat tag and release with 71,300 points ahead of Born Free (69,000) and Hoodlum (Sydney Team 2 – 62,531).
John Wise, on Hoodlum, is leading male angler tag and release (62,531) and tag and release marlin (62,500).
Amy McAndrew, from NPSGFC Team 5, fishing on Shelby, fronts the females on 57,500 points while Lake Macquarie Team 1 angler Luke Ashman, fishing on Gloriana, heads the juniors on 35,500.
Southern Zone Comp Team 2 member Chris Barsha, fishing on X-Factor, weighed the heaviest marlin, a 175.3kg blue.
Nathan Bright, from NPSGFC Team 2, fishing on Public Enemy, has the heaviest shark so far, a 373.5kg tiger.
The forecast is looking good for the weekend but Garry doesn’t want to jinx the event by mentioning it.
“Let’s just say we’re looking at a close result, which is always what you want to see with these types of tournaments. It’s never as interesting when there’s a runaway winner.”
Garry paid special tribute on behalf of the NSWGFA to local Port Stephens skipper Tim Dean, who ran “Soldier On” charity day on Thursday.
“Basically, Tim’s pretty humble about it, but they take out returned vets, wounded warriors if you like, for a day on the water,” Garry said.
“It’s the second year he’s done it and it’s gratifying the number of boats that volunteered their time and fuel – more than double the number from last year.”
MOVING away from the game scene, Ringo reports there have been good trag coming off the Gibber and 21 reefs, a few kings up to 15kg hanging around Broughton and the snapper are starting to come back now that the water has cooled down again.
“It was up to 26 degrees a couple of weeks ago but now it’s back down around 22 to 23,” Ringo said.
The high water temps may explain a plethora of unusual catches lately.
“There was a red bass speared in the bay about a month ago; a coral trout speared off Sydney; they caught two oceanic queen fish in nets off Stockton the other day and there was a ‘proper’ queen fish caught on the bait grounds by a marlin boat chasing slimy mackerel the other day,” Ringo said.
“You normally associate these species with the Coral Sea and the most obvious explanation, I suppose, [is] they are pushing down in the warmer water. That could explains the amount of sharks around lately too.”
There have been a few spearfish and sailfish hooked in recent weeks.
“Chris Drake got a 35kg sailfish in the lead-up to the Billfish Shootout,” Ringo said.
Estuaries fish well
LOCAL estuaries have been fishing well for jew.
“There’s been a few caught around the wreck at Corlette and in the deep water near Shoal Bay,” Ringo said.
“Not too many big, but good school jew up to 8kg.
“Kingfish are still lurking around the rockwall, mostly rat size, some just over legal but good numbers.
“Stacks of flatheads throughout the lower half of the bay and miles of squid throughout.
“Whiting have been firing up on the beaches, as well as some very handy jew.”
A monster jew
RIAGAN Dowling got a 36kg jew on Stockton Beach last weekend, which by any standards is a big one. It follows on from a slightly larger mulloway he got in January. No doubt about it, he has the touch.
“You never get bored of it,” Riagin said.
“I put it down to time and effort. We arrived just on sunset and fished for a couple of hours. It took about 25 minutes to get in.”
Check out the fish online at the Herald Fish File, along with all the other latest Fish File members.
Meanwhile, hats off to 12-year-old Allie Dearing who caught an 83cm, 3.5kg flathead in Nelson Bay this week.
One for the juniors
MAITLAND City Offshore Fishing Club will hold a free junior clinic at Swansea Gardens Caravan Park on Saturday, March 14, starting at 12.30pm.
The clinic, which will cover fish identification, knot tying and actual fishing, is open to all juniors from 8 to 14 years old.
To register phone Laurie Coughran on 0428 328 153.
Club president Tom Lantry advises the club’s next outing is this Sunday off Newcastle with launch between 6am and 6.30am.
For more details phone Tom on 0403 076 093.