With my freezer running low on fish, I decided to head out off Brisbane in search of some Spanish Mackerel, that were being caught in good numbers.
I loaded the boat the night before, fueled the tank, re-tied all my leaders, made the wire traces, and with all the admin done, I called it a night, ready for the 3:30am start.
The alarm sounded, I snuck out of bed not to wake the wife, made a quick cup of coffee and was out the door heading to the boat ramp in no time. The plan for the day was to head to South Passage Bar and cross it on first light, and then pull high speed lures around the local reefs. It was a stunning day offshore. There is always something special about being on the water at sunrise – truly spectacular. A very light easterly wind and small swell running making for fantastic conditions.
After about an hour I decided to change up tactics, only having landing the “dreaded mack tuna.” The new plan was to use the biggest lures I had, and pull them even faster through the water column at a depth of about 2 meters, to hopefully entice the Spanish.
Twenty minutes after throwing the lures in my rod took off, peeling line at a ridiculous rate! Was this my Spanish?! Grabbing the rod and set the hooks, but I could not turn the fish. MMMMMMM WTF is this? And then I saw it about 70m out the back of the boat – a beautiful marlin leaping out of the water trying to shake the lure free.
At first I thought there is no chance in hell landing this fish, so it was shits and giggles for me. Ten minutes into the fight I had a real chance of getting it to the boat. It was a real hard fight as I was all by myself and trying to chase after the fish while keeping tension on the line was proving to be quite challenging. At one point the marlin dived deep below the boat and I could not turn it. That was the turning point. Do I break it off and wish it well or do I try get it up? I chose the latter. Having watched marlin fishing videos in the past I noticed that they use “angles” to lift the fish. This meant driving away from the fish letting line out and then “pulling” from an angle.
This worked an absolute treat and 15 minutes later I had a stunning animal on the surface next to the boat. My plan was to try get it into the boat for a photo, but this was impossible by myself. On a side note – never grab the bill with bare hands, it is extremely abrasive and I lost a lot of skin. After deciding what to do, I pulled the hook from it’s mouth and watched it swim off to fight another day.
It was an awesome experience! Unfortunately I was by myself and had no one to share it with. That said, I did sit down with a coke and sandwich afterwards thinking quietly, “what a lifetime moment,” and how blessed I was to experience something like that. The rest of the morning was spent releasing more mack tuna but I didn’t mind as I was still buzzing from that marlin!