AUS­TRALIA UP­DATE

Marlin - - FEEDBACK - Capt. Barry Alty, Mistress Via email

The Au­gust/Septem­ber is­sue con­tained an ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle on Aus­tralia’s Fraser Is­land [“Fan­tas­tic Fraser”], writ­ten by John Ash­ley. Just to fol­low up, we fin­ished up fish­ing a to­tal of 92 days and caught 199 mar­lin there: 150 Pa­cific blues, 19 heavy-tackle striped and black mar­lin, and 30 ju­ve­nile black mar­lin. That rep­re­sents an av­er­age of 2.16 mar­lin per day. Dur­ing the peak pe­riod of July through De­cem­ber, we were on an av­er­age of 2.7 mar­lin a day.

It does bring into fo­cus the fact that the Fraser Is­land fish­ery is only lightly ex­plored at this stage. Boats straight-lin­ing past the is­land on the way to or from Cairns usu­ally caught some­thing, but no one had fished the con­ti­nen­tal shelf out­side Fraser for any lengthy pe­riod of time un­til Mistress did so last year.

There are also some other in­ter­est­ing as­pects about the area. The heavy-tackle blues, blacks and striped mar­lin are all in very good con­di­tion, and very fat com­pared to those found only 200 miles south on the Gold Coast. This un­doubt­edly is a re­sult of the mas­sive amount of bait preva­lent in the area. Strikes from all species were ex­tremely ag­gres­sive by com­par­i­son, and this, in com­bi­na­tion with the Tor­nado lures we use, led to a strike-to-tag ra­tio in the low 80 per­cent range, which is quite re­mark­able. Dur­ing our pe­riod at Fraser, we caught two daily grand slams — blue, black and striped mar­lin — with­out de­lib­er­ately at­tempt­ing to do so. Had we specif­i­cally fished for slams, we prob­a­bly would have had a dozen or more. It’s an area we look for­ward to ex­plor­ing more in the fu­ture.

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