Solitary Islands GFC news

EARLY in the week, Glen Booth and Matt McEwan went out looking for a few snapper for the table.

While that's not normally the sort of thing that would rate a mention in a game fishing column, the newsworthy part of this story is that instead of snapper, they kept pulling up sharks!

Every time they had a good bite and the drag started running away, they ended up with a battle on their hands that resulted in them staring at the impressive laughing gear attached to the front end of a small whaler shark.

This kept happening all day, everywhere they went, so the boys were obviously using red hot shark bait, and the snapper weren't getting a look in.

By the time they gave up and came home, they'd tagged and released seven bronze whalers, which on light snapper gear, is pretty good game fishing.

It's now the middle of what's generally thought of as the slow season for game fish off Coffs, but nobody told the tuna that, because the word from out on the deep side of the continental shelf is that the tuna are running hot.

The big tuna like the cooler water, and up and down the east coast, game fishermen and women are catching huge bluefin down south of Sydney, and supersize bigeye and yellowfin tuna around the central and north coast.

During the week, bigeye tuna up to 98kg were seen at the marina, and there were plenty of yellowfin tuna caught around the 60-65kg mark.

At present, these larger fish are all out a fair way in 4000 fathoms or so, about 35 to 50 nautical miles off the coast.

That's not that hard to get to on a smooth day with a fast boat, and the effort would be worth it if there's going to be 100kg or so of sashimi on board when you get home.

Anyone finding these fish feeding out there would only need one lucky pass over a busy school to raise a couple of big tuna, and given their habit of going hard and deep when they're hooked, just bringing a couple of them home, or simply tagging them and sending them on their way is a pretty full day's work on the 24kg line most widely used for game fishing over the cooler months.

One of the main reasons the tuna are out fairly wide is that they're feeding on the far side of the East Australian Current.

The current itself is well offshore for now, and it's on the edges that you'll find the biggest concentrations of the baitfish that attract the tuna.

Earlier this week, the eastern edge of the current was about 90 kilometres or 50 nautical miles off the coast, and that's where the action still seems to be.

The smaller tuna in the 20kg range are probably closer in near the edge of the shelf, even though there's not a lot of current there at present.

However, at this time of year, you can be pretty much guaranteed to run across striped marlin wherever there are smaller tuna chasing baitfish along the western edge of the current, so the first boats that get a clear day to go out and find them should do pretty well.

If the forecast holds, today just might be the day.

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