CATCH AND RELEASE: Skipper Marcus Blackwell swimming Hemingway's 120kg black marlin before release last Wednesday
CATCH AND RELEASE: Skipper Marcus Blackwell swimming Hemingway's 120kg black marlin before release last Wednesday Rick O'Ferrall

Fishing gets switched on off Coffs Coast

THINGS are finally looking up for Coffs Coast game fishermen.

After a very slow summer, more marlin are suddenly starting to show up along the edge of the continental shelf, and the odds of seeing a big fish are increasing every day.

Last weekend it seemed to be all about location with most of the action to the south of Coffs on Saturday.

The crew on Foreign Exchange found a blue marlin of around 140kg out over the Sawtell Canyons that came in to crash tackle the big black lure on the long corner rod.

Unlike most other forms of angling, game fishing is very much a team sport and the handling of the rod is a duty that most crews share around, with everyone in a crew getting their turn "on strike".

Foreign Exchange is having one of those purple periods where every time our newest team member Sam French has the strike, another blue marlin rushes in and tries to put a few moves on him.

No complaints from the rest of the lads on deck of course, because everyone shares in the fun and the kudos, but at Sam 3-marlin 0, this bloke is starting to look like a real lucky charm.

There were several other marlin raised by boats from both of the local clubs over the weekend.

Wednesday's forecast enticed a handful of local game boats out, and again, the results were encouraging.

First up, Black N Blue tagged a nice 130kg blue marlin.

Then after a couple of mystery enquiries from a big fish that didn't show itself despite leaving a marlin-sized hole in the water behind a lure, Hemingway finally hooked up a nice black marlin.

This hookup had a bit of a story to it, because your correspondent was actually on the phone to skipper Marcus Blackwell at the time this fish slammed the lure and ran with it.

I was asking if there were any marlin out there, and no sooner had Marcus mentioned that things were a bit slow then there was a yell from the crew and that distinctive scream of a game reel giving line to a marlin strike drowned out the conversation, which needless to say, ceased abruptly when Marcus dropped the phone.

The Hemingway boys got the 120kg fish in, but it was tail-wrapped and pretty tired. They did an excellent job of swimming it for 30 minutes to spark it up before releasing it in good health, rounding off a better week for the game fishing fraternity - one which hopefully points to more action in the days ahead.



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