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Billfish Season 2012


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Been doing it tough but finally came good on Friday with Rob and Cael aboard. Cael actually snapped the last two shots with an iPhone which is a good effort. Different fish I think. One is a small guy and one is a bit bigger. Saw about 12 for the day, one didn't want to eat but the rest did and we fought about ten, releasing 4 black marlin and a sailfish. One we lost was a sail but the rest were blacks. Blacks were sort of 18-45kg with a few 60kg ones getting in on the action for some of the other boys. Sails were 18-35kg. We also missed a bite from a wahoo. Trip before I was on someone elses boat and we watch another boat get 6 beside us. Trip before that I was 1 from 2 on sails, kept a mahi mahi and got a couple of tuna as well. Most trips have had an element of roughness about them with a good current running pushing into southerly winds. Looking to get out most calm days whilst they are around if you haven't caught one.

Here is Rob's report of the day.

"Had to book this Friday in a couple a weeks in advance, simply for the fact that I had a mate itching for a fish with Smithy who had to fly up from Sydney to go.

Had planned to go with four of us but another mate was stuck up in Charter Towers for work and my hellraiser of a brother who was coming had broken his arm the week before the trip.

We met Smithy at the boat at 5:30 and when we helped him load the gear into the boat we knew he had his sights set on connecting us to some seriously fun game. On the way out to say we were excited was an understatement but when the boat eventually pulled up and Smithy started setting the spread of lures the thought of what might be lurking in the vicinity would make any fisherman weak at the knees (not sure if that had anything to do with the sea we were in.)

I was stoked to finally see the big silver overhead teaser reel in action, Cael was simply in a daze watching the skirts bob up and down behind the boat. For the first hour or so we spent time 'searching' I hadnt really done this form of fishing before so I wasn’t sure how long this 'searching' would take but I still thought it was pretty fun. It all started getting a little bit more fun after we started marking some bait around the traps and Smithy turned to me and said "now Rob that looks a little more promising" whilst pointing to the sounder….

It wouldn’t have been 5 minutes after he said that when we both pointed to the sounder at the same time at what potentially looked like 5 or 6 fish up in the water column, promising I thought.

But nothing happened….

We continued on and drove around a little bit of surface action with birds diving and a little bit of bait around, after passing this action we were all caught staring at the reels when one of them momentarily screeched to life then stopped all while the rodtip was bouncing then it stopped….? When we all turned to each other and said whatthe it screamed to life once again and smithy shouted "we're on, it’s a Sail we're on, clear the lines" this is probably the point of the day when the old adage 0-100 came true to life, it was mayhem. Although a little bit stunned at the time Cael who was momentarily frozen just looking at the reel jumped up and grabbed the rod while Smithy and I began clearing the lines, but unfortunately before we had a gimble on Cael, the sail had jumped him off mid flight (yes the fish was very airborne) about 100m behind the boat. Hahahaha we were buzzing!

From then untill we retreived the lines at 14:00 is all a blur to fully recall what took place, but I'll do my best.

After the first hit, Smithy checked all the lines and reset each of them and we were once again driving around 'searching' but as he was setting the last line the rod that happened to be closest to me at the time went off big time! Hahaha yeeeeew! The fight had it all; blistering runs, gyrating leaps, down deep dogging, and towards the end we even had the fish charging us at the boat and running me under the hull with me lurched over the gunwhales with the rod in the water all before finally leadering the little black of around 40kgs next to the boat! Hahaha I was buggered! That was epic!

That fight basically set the scene for the next few hours when almost immediately after commencing another troll Cael was connected once again to an aerobatic little 18-20kg black, the fish put on an awesome display for us all changing directions and jumping in the blink of an eye, it was an epic fight for Caels first billy!

Cael and I were thrilled, we were content after those two fish and that first run because it is well known that sometimes in gamefishing you don’t get to turn a reel.

But, of course, the Smithman had other ideas, all day he was working the boat, lines, lures, everything at lightning pace! The man is a machine!

I was at the wheel for the next hit and what a hit it was, whilst I was watching the GPS and sounder with an eagle eye Smithy was re-rigging one of the lures. I marked a fish on the sounder at about mid water and as I turned to tell Smithy the outer left rigger went off again! We could do no wrong! Cael actually saw this one come up and eat the lure! So he was already at the reel and fighting before I got up and out of the skippers chair. Hahahaha I couldn’t stop laughing this was sensational fishing. I took a few pics during the fight and we ended up bringing this black aboard, Cael and Smithy happily posed with the later estimated 45kg black for a few pics (we did a short length to weight conversion after some nifty measuring) and back in the water it went, a few pics of Caelo swimming it and the fish swam away tag and all!

This is only what happened for the first 4 runs, of the remaining hits we had we basically saw fish hitting the lures it was that good!

I think at the end of the day we ended up hooked up to 11 billfish landed 4 blacks and one sailfish. Oh and sometime through the day Caelo also saw a wahoo jump out of the water and tore our teaser to shreds…hahaha I wish I saw that!

I could probably go on writing about the experience all day, but I think everyone reading should probably just ring Smithy up and try and organise a day chasing these if you havent before.

Special mention has to go to Caelo for some of the iphone snaps on my iphone they are incredible, and how you didn’t lose the phone overboard in the process still remains a mystery!

Cheers once again Smithy. Unbelievable and unforgettable!"








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  • 2 weeks later...

Went the weekend after with Paul and Nathan aboard. We had a pretty action packed day. Straight up we marked bait and a billfish down at 50m.


We worked this area for a bit and kept heading to some more marks. At one of my old icons we had a bite on the lumo at long rigger. We only ran a lure out of each rigger for the day to make it less complicated and with two aboard they were on equal footing on the strikes. Short rigger I run my spreader bar teaser and it has been going well for the lure positioned behind it, equal to the lumo. Nathan was on this fish and it dumped a serious amount of line. Out a couple of hundred metres the weight came off. We had busted off on the wind-on, must have been a tail wrap popping it or wahoo bite-off or similar.


We worked this area for a bit for a wahoo and a wahoo bite-off.


By now we were close to where we started so we went looking for that bait again. I don't think we got there. It was a blur for a while as they bit on the tide change. During it we hooked something that was big and strong and didn't jump. When a skipjack tuna materialised we were shocked. It fought way above what it should have. On closer inspection it had a hole in one side from a bill and it had obviously been down the mouth of a good marlin and that is what we had fought mid fight till it slipped out of its mouth.



At one stage Paul hooked something very big and heavy that didn't jump. We played it as a marlin and sure enough after 15mins or so it did big vertical jump and spat the lure straight back at us.


Nathan was on next and this one was a smaller black which we got on the leader for our first fish of the day.



We worked this area some more marking fish and bait and getting bites. One we busted off on the strike out of the outrigger clip. That was a first for me unfortunately.


Off the tide change it got quieter so we headed off to other marks marking bait here and there. Just as we were coming up on a bait area Paul was on.


This was his first billfish, a 30kg odd sailfish.


I don't recommend bringing them aboard but seeing as it was his first and he is proving to be a keen customer we did this time. They are best photographed in the water for their best chance of swimming away without any undue effects.

After that we raised a series of sailfish that frustrated us with not hooking up, pulling it out of the ourigger then sitting their windscreen wipering etc. We tried to freespool them and hook them and all that but had no joy. They would swim behind us for a minute at a time before losing them and then on the next pass we would pick them up again. About then we ran out of time as Paul had to be back in Brisbane for a engagement party. In total we had about 13-14 strikes/knock downs/mystery bites, we saw at least 7 billfish and more than likely 10 or so and got two. Plenty of action and certainly far from boring and with a bit of luck we could have ended up with 5 or so.

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