Marlin looking mighty impressive
Get ready for great season
THE strongest juvenile marlin haul in Far North waters for several years has scientists and southern charter fishermen reaching for their fishing rigs.
The 2017 Cairns Bluewater Billfish Tournament has resulted in more than 160 fish reeled in from waters around Fitzroy Island since Thursday morning.
Sunshine Coast-based marlin expert Dr Julian Pepperell said the results indicated good black marlin numbers for the Far North in future years and a busy upcoming season for southern charter operators.
“In analysing data from tournaments over the years, we know this doesn’t happen every year,” he said.
“There really is no pattern to it. You might get two or three years in a row, then you might not get it again for five or six years.”
The fish caught at this weekend’s competition could turn up in waters around Fraser Island in November and December.
“That news will spread around social media like wild- fire,” Dr Pepperell said.
“It will almost certainly be a good season for these juvenile fish in coming months ... Everybody down here will gear up and expect these fish to show up.”
The Cairns Bluewater Billfish tournament is a qualifying round for the World Championships to be held in Costa Rica next year.
More than $15,000 in prizes are to be hooked during the tag and release competition.
The fish are tagged with NSW DPI Tags, which helps fishers and scientists gather information about distribution, movement and growth.
Black Marlin blogger Kelly Dalling Fallon, who lives in the Goldsborough Valley, said it was the best year she has seen since 178 fish were caught over three days in 2014.
Anglers competing in Billfish tournaments at Dunk Island, Weipa, Port Douglas and Lizard Island will be hoping the marlin stay on the bite.
“They will stay here as long as the food situation is right for them,” Ms Dalling Fallon said.
Most fish are caught and tagged at about 15-20kg.
Dr Pepperell said years ago a fish that weighed 150-200kg was reeled in from waters off Costa Rica four years after it was tagged as a 15kg juvenile in Far North waters
He said the marlin was “one of the fastest growing fish in the ocean”. “We know those fish will continue to grow and will migrate around the southwest Pacific and in 10 years time or so. There will be a good season for the big black marlin,” Dr Pepperell said.
The tournament will finish on Saturday and a presentation dinner will be held at the Shangri-La hotel on Sunday.
HEFTY HAUL: Juvenile black marlin are now in big numbers in Far Northern waters.