Multiple IGFA Royal Slam Winner and Billfish Enthusiast.
In 2011 Matt started his quest to take out the IGFA Royal Slam for billfish and has since taken out the other five Royal Slams (shark, tuna, trout, salmon and bass), making him the first in the world to take out all six Royal Slams. With the IGFA introducing a new Inshore Royal Slam, Matt is now working on completing that challenge as well as repeating his previous feat using fishing techniques. In his spare time Matt has created a not for profit business that involves a fishing tournament for wounded Aussie veterans and people with disabilities. And he’s also offering amazing hosted fishing opportunities For those who’d like to travel the world on fishing adventures.
Matt’s Top Blue Marlin Fishing Tips
- Blue marlin fishing is accessible year-round to trailer boat fishers out of Brisbane, provided you have a reasonably large boat with the fuel capacity for 120km+ round trip and you are sensible about picking the right weather.
- The winter months are most popular for blues in south east Queensland as the summer months offer black marlin, which tend to be more plentiful, giving anglers a higher chance of success. Winter usually also offers better weather for offshore fishing in SEQ.
- It’s important to troll at the optimum speed. Matt finds that speeds of 6-9 knots are about right and typically get the Lures breaking the surface every 10-30 seconds.
- There are no undersea mounts off Brisbane to cause bait aggregation and make it easier to find marlin. Matt suggests that the best strategy is to work the 500m ledge as the bottom drops off fairly steeply at this point, causing upwelling. Look for birds that signal the presence of bait and fish and concentrate your efforts in those areas.
- Matt likes to run five lures simultaneously. He runs the smallest lure on the shotgun and tends to feed this out a lot further behind the boat than most billfish anglers, finding it’s the most effective lure in the spread. Using different coloured lines on each rod makes it easier to figure out how to move rods and anglers around the boat during a multiple hookup.
- To help secure solid hookups Matt sharpens his hooks and then colours the point with an indelible maker pen to protect it from corrosion. He files down the barb slightly to improve penetration into the bony mouth of a marlin.
- When a marlin takes your lure, be sure no to knock the boat into neutral as this can reduce the chances of getting a solid hook set. Keep the boat moving forwards until the fish is securely hooked.
Matt’s Blue Marlin Fishing Tackle
- Matt used Gary Howard gods in the 50lb line class for blue marlin. He couples these with Shimano Tiagra 80 reels. He prefers 80lb mono mainline as it helps with hook sets and when playing a jump in marlin. Using a relatively light leader of 200-300lb will help get a lot more hookups, some anglers prefer to go to 600lb and focus on the bigger fish.
- A teaser such as a bird, daisy chain or similar is important for attracting fish up to your lures. Matt likes the USA made Flippy Floppy teasers. There are plenty of others on the market but not all are equal, make sure the one you choose will work at the optimum speed for the lures you use.
Blue Marlin Fishing Lures
- Skirted trolling lures are definitely the preferred and most effective lures for blue marlin. Matt likes to have lures available in multiple different colour combinations and uses skirts ranging from 12 to 16 inches in length when targeting blues.
- There are different head styles available and each has its uses. Cup faced heads work similar to a popper and create plenty of splash and noise – they can be run in all sea conditions. Slant faced heads are designed to dart around and create action but are better in flatter conditions. Bullet head styles are designed to track straight and aren’t usually a favourite of billfish specialists.
- Matt likes the Larva Lures range for those just getting started. These lures have an unusual interchangeable head design, allowing anglers to switch between styles without cutting the leader. The ability to switch means anglers don’t have to buy as many lures to be able to cover all conditions.
Matt has created a not for profit that takes returned veterans and people with disabilities on amazing fishing adventures to compete against those from other countries who are experiencing similar hardship. He’s not actively looking for sponsors, but obviously he has plenty of runs on the board and could do a lot more if he had a little backing and support from the right company. If you’re in a position to help or know someone who is, please get in touch with Matt.