Wow, another year done and dusted.
Fishing has been fairly steady up here on the Fraser Coast – not fantastic, but good enough – and better than last year’s spring and summer.
Plenty of tuna were around to target, though we did have a distinct lack of spotted mackerel again.
The surface feeding fish were excellent sport, particularly the tuna.
And they helped start and pad out the day.
Say for instance, this year marlin were quite good… these smaller species provide entertainment for the beginning of the tour or for mixing it up between slower periods when you’re chasing the bigger trophies.
We’ve had a couple of seasons now where the massive schools of bait were smashed by predators – usually spotted mackerel or mack tuna.
But mixed in with these were an abundant variety of species – La Niña maybe?
I haven’t lived long enough to give a rounded comment, however this season has been much better than last summer!
Tuna have been seen and caught, that’s the main thing.
OK, so no rampaging bait balls and acres upon acres of cruising spotties – oh well, less distraction when chasing the main event.
Yes, marlin were the main event.
And, while I’d like to say I never blanked on tour, the strike rate was fairly good when we gave them a go. It can be a monotonous affair, trolling and searching.
I prefer to do it in a time frame when I think it will work best. Some clients insist on doing the entire tour, and if the fish are hot, it’s not a big deal – but most days they’re not.
I never use bait. Yes, I know bait highly increases your chances. And I have tried skipping garfish in the past, and the scent drives the marlin nuts.
It also increases the chances of a return strike if you drop the bite – I can only imagine what a switched livie would be result in – bait on a circle hook is deadly once you time the hook set.
Lures test the ability of the angler to stay attached as the fish tries its best to throw the hook.
Sight casting will test the angler even further – not only keeping the fish on, but actually gaining hook lodgement and then hook set.
I have often spoken at length on my ideas of strike on the fish bite.
If you have issues with dropping fish, marlin will find those holes and expose you quite quickly.
Fortunately, marlin are stupid aggressive, so strikes can be fairly easy to come by.
If you find them first!
Don’t celebrate too soon though.
I mean, don’t assume you’ll have a good connection ten seconds after a bite. That first minute is crucial.
Marlin heads are extremely hard, with very few soft membranes to allow hook set.
You’re driving into bone.
The rod bend needs to be constant.
That above all else helps the hook point find home and then penetrate.
After penetration, the rod bend maintains the hook in the right orientation for a secure and prolonged connection.
You would think that keeping a rod bend is accomplished by moving the rod – well, yes and no – moving and sweeping the rod tip will only initiate.
The fastest way to maintain and control the bend in the rod is with the reel.
You cannot sweep the rod indefinitely, however the reel you can turn almost infinitely.
In the blink of an eye, you can most definitely turn in enough line to keep any rod-angling situation ‘bent’.
In most cases, I find anglers doing too much with the rod.
The moments of slack line are always an opportunity to free that fish!