Catching big fish from small boats or even Hobie’s seems to be all the rage at the moment. It must be the thrill seeking lifestyle we all lead and I think the media has a large part to play. With the invention of Go Pro other people’s experiences are readily accessible and that Australian competitive streak comes out in us all. Many of us trying to be the next “Go Pro Hero”
For ourselves, it is something we have wanted to do for years now. The desire all started for us when we snuck out on a perfect flat day off Botany Bay catching Striped Tuna. The Striped Tuna I had hooked came screaming back towards us whimpering under the boat. To our astonishment there was a Marlin at the back of our boat looking for the Striped Tuna. Luckily for the Stripey his life was spared for the moment. It was then we begrudged not taking the Marlin gear out with us. All we had were a few bream rods and reels.
This year was going to perfect with a run of small Marlin starting at Cairns and then running south. It was plastered all over Face book when they hit Hervey Bay and then the Gold Coast. With the news that they were not too far away we decided to head to the North Coast for a holiday and were luckily enough to be hosted at South West Rocks with great long term friends Dean and Lee Griffiths.
The day of our arrival the news on the grapevine was that there were Marlin everywhere only 1-2klms of the Gaol. Perfect this was our opportunity; we had a week to do it.
There were two places we could launch from. One was the main river and out through the main bar that runs at the Macleay River or the other is Back Creek.
We spent the first couple of days studying both bars and its conditions on varying tides and winds etc; A few locals also gave us some insight and knowledge. Some of the pressure waves on an outgoing tide at the main bar would have swallowed our little boat up. We checked out the weather forecast and tides and decided our first trip ocean bound would be out through Back Creek.
Nervous as hell, Scott took the wheel, life jackets on and most things strapped down, here we go! He got to the entrance and there was a slight wave, timing it, he put the throttle down and we were set free onto the ocean waters. That wasn’t so bad.
Where to go now! As we were heading east bound the surface broke and I pointed out to Scott the fish were working. Straight away we spun up 3 bonito and put one straight back out as live bait. Well this is easy. We needed Slimies though as the Bonito were not going to stay alive for long. Dean had given us some marks for the bait ground so after plotting that into the GPS we found we weren’t far away from it and on it were a cluster of boats, including Josh Batterson. He was helpful in telling us how hard the live bait was to catch and that we needed bait on the hook to catch them. So we sliced up one of our Bonito and that got us started.
Heading out to the Gaol, we put out our baits, one Yakka and one Slimey Mackeral. Scott had just clipped the rubber band on and then it stretched, popped off and the reel was running. He picked it up and struck it. It took off with great speed not showing itself. We first thought it was a small Shark as there had been some reported but to our astonishment it was a small Yellowfin. It was bled and thrown straight on the ice for a feed with our friends.
We passed Josh as we headed out wider, slowly walking our live baits. We watched Marlin all day being hooked up, Josh had had a couple of hits also and we just seemed to be in the middle of the action with no joy. We started marking bait on the sounder so just started to plot where the bait was and kept doing runs in between the bait schools.
The afternoon was looming and we had 100klm clocked up trolling these slimies. It was almost time to call it a day when next minute the rod goes off. We both stood their stunned for a second then Scott turned picking the rod up. As he has picked it up, the spool of line somehow backlashes and the Marlin took a jump and snapped the locked line. Finally we had a hit and failed. Within half an hour of this missed episode the rod behind Scott screamed off again. This time so visually this Marlin was jumping straight at us. Normally fishing with a live bait you give the fish a little time to eat it before striking but with this fish already grey hounding towards us you have no option but to strike and hope for the best. Unfortunately the hook pulled and this wasn’t meant to be.