Out wide

With eldest son Jonathon on board we spent a couple of days on Linden Bank hoping in vain for some action before heading out wide to the tuna aggregation. Day one out there saw Jonathon on this one at 500lb.

On day two the action picked up even further, with Jonathon tagging and releasing this one at 650lb. It was a tough fight as the fish was hooked on the dorsal fin and wrapped in the leader. We used the satellite tag we had been saving all season for just the right fish but with one day to go we couldn't be fussy. The fish was released tired but otherwise in excellent shape so we look forward to getting some feedback on where she goes.
And just to close it up, John got a small blue.

The Bank continues to deliver

My son Matthew joined me for this trip and was quickly into the thick of it. He fought two on his first day but lost them both at the boat. This 350lb-er was tagged and released on day two.

Black and blue

Angler David Merson fished with us in Vanuatu in 2006 (here) and now has a Cairns black to go with his Vanuatu blue marlin. This small one put on quite a display at Linden Bank.

And as usual, right at the death on the last day of the trip they turned up in force with four bites in an hour. We released two - a 250lb-er and this one at around 400lb.

Canadian Luck

Joining us on this trip are Canadian anglers Craig Moffat and Eben Stovel and their lucky fishing gnome Grimble Crumble. He's justified his trip to the Great Barrier Reef so far, with a black marlin on each of the first two days of the trip.

This small one was ambitious in taking the big bait but managed it and became Craig's 1st black marlin.

Day two produced another one for Craig. This 400lb-er came in lit up and trucking at 100 miles an hour, swam right past the scad and the rainbow runner on the shotgun and crashed the big bait (one of two traded with Reel Chase for ice – both of which have resulted in marlin, need any more ice Capt Jim?). Craig had a serious fight on his hands this time but handled it well. The fish was tagged and released in great shape.

Day three and Grimble Crumble was plumb tuckered out from all the action, helping Capt Jared raise six fish including Eben's 1st black marlin and this one which Craig got all the way to the boat where the bill wrapped leader finally wore through.

The fourth and final day saw a slump and as every captain knows, you're only as good as your last fish. By late afternoon the blame game was in full swing and having taken all the credit for days one to three, Grimble Crumble was the main suspect. And what better punishment for poor performance than to rig a hook to him and throw him out to swim with the baits...

Alas, no result and Grimble Crumble lives to fish another day...

Something to celebrate

After four slow days for two bites in the middle Ribbon Reefs, we headed down to Linden Bank and finally hit paydirt. Practice on a few sharks during the slow days had angler Phil Morrison ready for the real thing.

It wasn't long before CP had this lively small one on the wire...(Note the shirt - an original from the original "Hooker" dating back to 1974!)

...and Ant had the tag in. And to top it off, another fiesty black appeared not long after and was given the same treatment.

And then it was time to celebrate...

Late bite

We finally got one around 300lb at 6:20pm on the last day of the trip. It was Craig’s 1st marlin and our 1st bite in three days…

The season starts to look better

With the weather still rugged, we fished Lena Reef and managed to pick up one around 400lb on our first day. However, days two to four were trying with bites hard to come by and seas uncomfortable.

Day five dawned bright and clear with winds in the 20-25kts range and very fishable sea conditions. After a productive morning's bait fish, we headed out to fish off Ribbons Reef No 3 and were joined by around a half dozen other boats. On a glorious day for a boat ride (relatively speaking, that is, after the 25-30kts we’ve become used to) the marlin decided to co-operate. It seemed at times most boats were hooked up and Shaka got her share. Around 2:15pm a nice 450lb-er jumped on and was successfully tagged and released.

Then just as those anchoring up at No 5 had departed around 5:45pm, a really nice one showed up. We called it at 850lb, tagged and released after an acrobatic show.
Photos courtesy of CP.

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