Offshore fishers revel in billfish bonanza
The weather has certainly heated up over the past week and summer is well and truly on its way.
This means warm waters and plenty of hot fishing action for both the gulf and the west side.
As I mentioned last week, the blue marlin had slowed down a touch, but they have certainly picked right back up this week with some great reports.
Eddie Lawler, on Pelagic Hooker, raised seven blues in one day, along with a couple of striped marlin. I have also heard some reports of sailfish hanging around out south of south passage and even a couple being caught off the bottom on squid baits and soft plastics.
Recreational anglers Leigh Freestone and his crew managed to tag two blue marlin, one sailfish, hook a black and a striped and had another striped marlin in the spread all before lunch on one day.
Wow, that’s a busy morning for billfishing. Great to see the healthy stocks are here.
Of course, this is just one boat in one morning in a small area. Great to get these statistics.
Alyssa Faulkner is here on holidays with her husband Pete to tag and release billfish through the next week.
The two-person crew hooked a big blue and sadly it got tailwrapped and died.
So the couple decided to bring the fish in to weigh and share with everyone.
It was weighed in at the Exmouth Game Fishing Club and was just over 211kg. People came in to check out the fish.
It helps give an idea of size for estimations, plus shows anglers the differences you can note for identification in relation to the differences with black marlin.
It also is a great tool for education for showing people different features on the fish. Children especially like to get up close and see and touch a fish like this.
There were plenty of fillets to go around and lots of photos taken of the fish to see just how big it is out of the water.
The gulf is starting to fill up with plenty of great sports fish for those who like light jigging and working soft plastics around the shoals.
Golden trevally, cobia and queenfish have been everywhere along with some surprise catches of Spanish mackerel.
Drifting the shoals with soft plastics at this time of the year is usually very productive. It’s not only sports fish you will come across, but also coral trout, blue line emperor, spangled emperor and endless amounts of cod will all be encountered and all make excellent eating.
We also even heard reports of a whale shark spotted just out from the water towers last week.
So you never know what you will encounter on the water.
With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner and seafood fiestas being a popular choice of dinners or lunches, keep in mind the bottom of the gulf is producing excellent numbers of prawns just lately.
And the really good news is a lot of them have been above average size from what we’ve encountered in the past.
On a good day, more than a feed can be gathered cast netting in as little as an hour when you find them balled up in a tight area.
We also need to keep in mind that there is a set bag limit for anglers to abide by to ensure there are plenty for the future.
There’s no doubt we are spoilt to have this fishery so easily accessible so let’s keep it the way it is — fun, easy and very tasty treat for all to enjoy for many years to come.
Alyssa Faulkner with her 211kg blue marlin.