Cairns & Fraser Island

2015 Giant Black Marlin Season

Well another great season is over and its time to reflect on the fishing…. but before I do our season recap, I wanted to post up the story I shared over on the Blog after our return from fishing out wide at Holmes Reef in early November – with Jada, Dan and Chip. For those of you who follow all things marlin, you’ll know that Jada has just weighed a pending All Tackle World Record Atlantic blue marlin at Ascension Island on the Harmattan with Capt. Bryan Toney and Olaf Grimkowski on deck. The fish weighed a massive 1305lbs and was caught in just 15 minutes.  Jim Rizzuto wrote a really nice peice about it for FishTrack if you want to read more.

In the meantime, we had a few big fish for Jada on this trip but not that special one – we did have that one just over a week after Jada left, so maybe next year!

Heading In – 6 November 2015

We’re back! Heading back into the edge on KEKOA right now and just in time as I hear the fishing is firing once again. As you will know, a ‘few’ days out wide for us became a week. We said we’d come back in when we either stopped catching fish, or had to go in. As it is, its both as we head back in as I write with 11 marlin (9 blacks and 2 blues) including a few nice ones to 850lbs and also having missed/lost another 3 in the 800+ category, with our last day of the trip tomorrow.

I will be posting catch up reports from the rest of the fleet over the next several days as I get them in and get contact with the captains – I hear there have been big fish around so stay tuned.  In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a recap of our trip below.

With the fishing very slow on the edge at the time, and the fish either small or (big fish that were) very few and far between we consulted all together to make a plan to head out wide to where we thought there would be better water and more fish.

Fishing out wide is a totally different experience to fishing the edge.  The urgency of the edge is non-existent. The fish takes half your spool, no worries, you’ll just get it back. Roaring backwards become gentle following as the generally better weather (well we only go out wide when its fine) allows. In fact, almost all of our time at the Holmes Reefs group (the red dot on the Fishtrack chart) was glamour weather and often fishing in to the lee of the reef, we had several absolutely flat calm days and had an insight into what fishing in Kona can be like – our guests Jada and Daniel Holt, and Jada’s father Chip Van Mols hail from Kona where Chip is a legendary skipper of boats such as Monkey Biz, now running Dan’s boat Luna. Team Luna Kekoa.

As we headed wide on the first day we tagged a chunky 400lb black with our satellite tag giving Jada her entry to the 2015 Great Marlin Race. The fish was released in tip-top condition – swim far fella!  A little bit later we hooked up to a ‘rasta’ 650lb-er which gave us an awesome aerial display (a composite photo of mine above) and also had us questioning whether to keep going wide or not, now that we had hooked two within access from the ‘edge’. Keep going we did, without another bite for the rest of the day and we pulled into our anchorage at Flora Reef just after dark to rock our night away.  While Flora is not a great anchorage compared to the reefs on the edge, the water quality is amazing. Waking up in six metres of water with a perfect view of the sandy bottom is a great way to start the day and we all jumped in for a quick explore by flipper.

After, we found a patch of birds working and hauled in a nice yellowfin before heading off to our target area at Holmes Reef, where the current was of most interest.  While we raised a fish on the long rigger, it was a long day of nothing until a crash tackle bite had us hooked up to another nice black marlin that Luke put at 850lbs again for Jada that was jumping off towards the horizon. Jada likes to fish IGFA and being from Kona, lure fishing is second nature for her as well so she found it enjoyable and easy fishing. And likewise as she’s used to fishing for big blues, so she’s not afraid to put the hurt on fish and within a relatively short period of time (less than 10 minutes) we had a very knackered marlin beside the boat for release after a quick refresh swim.

A new anchorage in front of the sand cay that night at Holmes was much more comfortable for the nights sleep and the best way to wake up is with a swim on a sand cay in the middle of the Coral Sea isn’t it?

And it was another amazing day on the water, without the matching amazing result. After hooking up to another big fish almost straight after reaching the target area, we pulled the hooks just off the back of the boat.  Three more bites followed, including another two from fish estimated at 800lbs plus and still on zeros as fish after fish failed to hookup.  Going 0 from 4 on lures is certainly not a unusual occurrence but going 0 from 4 on baits can be just as likely. Nether-the-less the next day we got the baits ready to run instead…but never did. First catching a blue marlin on the lures that delayed the decision, and then not too long after, another mid-range black which put the confidence back in the spread.  And then we missed another bigger fish in the 700lb range on the troll back to the anchorage.

Day 4 was almost our kryptonite with the birds and tuna noticeably absent, and being out of phone/internet ran with no way to know what the current was doing, we started to suspect it was all over.

But a bit of captain’s intuition saw us returning south to the spot of the 850 a couple of days before and literally minutes after arrival into the zone, we were on again. And then again, notching up another two mid-rangers just in time to head into a new anchorage on another sand cay. Day 5 and what had looked less appealing the day before, began to look like it was building again with birds showing up and tuna marking. We released another two fish in very short succession on the afternoon bite and had another bite and raised a fourth at the deal.

On the last day we explored another part of the reef we added another couple of good sized yellowfin before heading back to our usual spot for our second blue marlin of the trip.

On reflection, we probably got here a day or two late for the real action although it certainly has been good enough fishing to keep us here and beyond the marlin fishing, the reef environment has been so good that our guests just didn’t want to leave.

But now we are back and its time to catch up on what has been happening. We have been staying a little in touch via sat phone so I know there is plenty to report.  So as soon as I’ve gathered some information and pics I’ll post a few catch up reports.  Stay tuned~!

Photos – click on the photo to open the gallery.