Black marlin fishing Gold coast
How to catch black marlin on the Gold coast
Every year around the beginning of December a good run of black marlin turn up in the Pacific ocean off the Gold coast. These fish usually congregate around the shallow reefs between 18-50 fathoms until the end of February. Although they are mainly juveniles between 50-150kgs they provide sensational sport fishing for those that pursue them in open waters. Black marlin are opportunistic feeders, they are known to devour loads of bait fish. Locating bait schools is the key to success when targeting black marlin off the Gold coast.
Bait can be located in a few ways. Use your depth sounder around local reef systems and watch for schools of bait balled up mid way in the water column. This is usually a good sign that big predators are rounding up the bait fish and actively feeding. Current lines where two opposing currents meet also tend hold bait schools. Look for differences in water colour and lines of coral spawn. Working the edges of current lines will usually produce Black marlin and other pelagic species including Mahi mahi, Tuna, Mackerel and Sailfish.
On our Gold coast Marlin fishing charters we use a variety of techniques to target these awesome sport fish. With trolling and live baiting producing the best results. Although we have also caught several on floating pilchards. And surprisingly we have even caught a couple on dead baits using paternoster rigs to target reef fish like snapper and Teraglin.
Trolling For Black marlin off the Gold coast
First and most important when trolling is lure colour selection. Lures that are effective on black marlin are usually also effective on Mahi mahi and Tuna. Proper selection and occasional lure changes can mean the difference between catching and releasing fish. Or going home without a single strike. Remain open minded, if the colours you are towing aren’t producing any strikes, change them one at a time allowing a little time pass between one change and another. We usually start with a variety of colours until we figure out what works best on the day. Over the past few seasons we have found that pink and purple have been most productive, but on some days we have had good results using green patterns.
Your lures need be set out in the correct positions using the wake pressure waves as a guide. Run your stinger in the centre of the spread back to the sixth swell in the middle of the wake. Your long rigger should be placed back on the fifth swell, the short on the fourth. Use your corners as well. Set the long corner to the third swell and the short corner to the second. Adjust each lure so that it is riding on the forward face of the wave that it is riding on, a correctly set spread will produce far more hook ups.
Pay close attention to the bubble trail created by each lure. Lures ideally should leave a long trail of bubbles and should break the surface without jumping out of the water completely. A good speed is usually 6-7 knots, but wind and current direction and strength will play a role in determining the best speed to get your lures to ride correctly.
Keep a close eye on your spread as lures will occasionally pick up weed and other debris. Drag pressure on each reel is critical and plays an important role in good solid hook ups. If the drag is set too loosely hook up wont be achieved and the fish will drop the lure. Too tight and you will get busted off, your ideal drag pressure will be determined by the line class you are using. Off the Gold coast when fishing for smaller black marlin we use 8-24kg main line.
Teasers also play an important role when trolling. Good teasers will raise inquisitive fish from down deep to investigate what they perceive as a school of bait following a boat. There are a wide variety of teasers available and if you are on a budget you can even make your own. We usually tow at least one teaser and sometimes two.
Keep your eyes peeled on the wash while trolling as fish will often be sighted shadowing your lures. Sometimes you can induce a strike with a couple of quick turns of the reel.
Live baiting for Black marlin
We have experienced great success on our Gold coast Game fishing charters by making use of live baits. Best livies for targeting Black marlin off the south east coast of Queensland include Yellowtail scad, small bonito or Tuna and my personal favourite the Slimy mackerel.
Depending on the depth and the amount of current running on any given day, you can either anchor or drift. When working shallow reef systems between 12-27 fathoms we prefer to anchor. Then create a burley trail of mashed fish flesh and pilchard cubes. When fishing the Gold coasts wider reefs between 36-50 fathoms there is usually too much current to make anchoring practical. Drifting will be required. Try to locate bait schools on your sounder and then position the boat so you drift over them.
Live baits should be set at varying depths, often the fish will be down deep in the water column. Some days they will be up higher near the surface. When anchored we like to fish with the live baits set under balloons. Its best to set one so it is only about 10 metres off the bottom and then set a second one up higher in the water column. Deep set baits are usually swallowed before the fish takes up all the slack line and solid hook ups are usually the result.
Another great technique to get livies to go deep is to attach a sacrificial sinker to the trace with a rubber band. Slowly feed the bait down until it gets close to the bottom. Once you hook up the sinker simply breaks away and you are free to fight the fish.
Hook sizes for Black marlin fishing off the Gold coast will vary depending on the size of the bait. For instance when using smaller baits i usually use 6/0 mustad big gun or circle patterns. Then simply hook the bait in the shoulders behind the head. When using big size slimies. I like to use two hooks and usually put the first one through the baits nose and then the second stinger hook two thirds of the way down the baits back. Bridle rigs works a treat too.
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