Locals chase gi­ants of the deep off Cairns

Whitsunday Times - - REELIN’ IN -

LO­CAL skip­per Ash­ley Matthews and crew­man Paul Mo­ran, of Sea Fever Sport­fish­ing, have been quite lit­er­ally chas­ing gi­ants.

The pair re­cently re­turned for their an­nual fish­ing trip up north, pur­su­ing the elu­sive gi­ant black mar­lin dur­ing a five-week stint away.

De­part­ing in late Septem­ber and re­turn­ing late last week, Mr Matthews said they had been “chas­ing some of the big­gest fish in the ocean”.

“The waters be­tween Cairns and Lizard Is­land, in­clud­ing the Rib­bon Reefs, are the only known spawn­ing grounds for black mar­lin in the world,” he said.

“The big­gest fish are the fe­males, which can grow in ex­cess of 1000lbs (450kg).”

Each spring, the fe­males head north to mate with the smaller males, who reach up to around 220kg.

With the boys land­ing their fair share of th­ese go­liath fish, Mr Matthews said the record for their 2015 trip had been “around 380kg”.

Al­though the gi­ant black mar­lin make im­pres­sive tro­phies, Mr Matthews said it was purely for the thrill of the chase.

“All the fish caught are re­leased in a healthy state to con­tinue grow­ing,” Mr Matthews said.

The lo­cal skip­per said the trip was all about go­ing as big as pos­si­ble, be­fore they have to go home.

“Every­thing about this fish­ing is big,” he said.

“Big boats, big seas, big baits and big fish.”

De­spite spend­ing the ma­jor­ity of his life with rod and reel in hand, Mr Mathews said their an­nual gi­ant mar­lin trip was some­thing on a whole other level.

“It's some­thing we re­ally look for­ward to each year and were al­ready look­ing for­ward to next sea­son,” he said.

HEAVE HO: Lo­cal skip­per Ash­ley Matthews snapped this gi­ant black mar­lin mid-leap.

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