Scotto’s Top Tips For Black Marlin On The Flats

  • The best time of year is October to December each year, with Christmas effectively marking the end of the opportunity. Scotto likes the days leading up to a full moon, but says that juvenile black marlin can be caught on any moon or tide. Calm, sunny days make seeing fish on the flats much easier.
  • Scott suggests launching from Urangan and motoring across to Moon Point, then working your way up the Western side of Fraser Island. This is sheltered in everything from a South Easterly to a North Easterly. Platypus bay, the area between Wathumba Creek and Roonies Point is the most productive area. The area between Urangan and Moon Point is where the water can get a little rough, especially when the wind and tide oppose each other.
  • Once at Wathumba, zig zag your way along, crossing over the dropoff from the shallow flats into deeper water. Marlin will often be sighted between your boat and the beach in just a couple of metres of water. These small fish tend to be aggressive and rarely refuse a well presented lure in their path.
  • Trolling pusher style lures can be effective, and some locals have been successful in catching marlin on stickbaits (switch the trebles for an assist hook), but Scotto prefers to troll garfish, finding a well rigged garfish behind a soft plastic pusher has a much higher conversion rate than a lure.

Scotto’s Marlin Fishing Outfit

  • Scotto uses 8ft Shimano Grappler spin rods for long casting and to act as “outriggers” when he’s trolling. He uses a good quality 6000 size spin reel loaded with 30-40lb Power Pro Super Slick 8 braid and a wind-on leader. He uses Shimano 80-100lb wind on leaders or Top Shot 100lb fluorocarbon leaders.
  • Scotto fishes with an open bail and uses Dubro clips to hold the line until a fish strikes, when he waits 5 minutes, flips the bail and starts playing the fish.
  • Scott use a 7/0 Eagle Claw light wire circle hook on his marlin lures, ensuring the fish is hooked in the corner of the mouth most times and that few fish are lost to thrown hooks. Snelling the hooks and resisting the urge to strike at fish maximises the hook sets.

Scotto’s Best Black Marlin Lures

  • Small pusher style lures are perfect for trolling the flats at Hervey Bay. Scott love the Mold Craft Mini chuggers and Needlefish. There are lots of other suitable lures around, look at those available from Pakula and other game lure companies. Scott uses a single 6/0 Gamakatsu SL12 hook with these lures. 
  • Scott finds he gets best results using garfish rigged on soft plastic pusher heads, using the Eagle Claw Circle Hooks. He has found the Ringer Swivels make it easy to rig a garfish, using copper wire to wrap around the gills and jaw. He then uses a mini pushed called a Slammer Chugger to wrap around the head of the gar, putting the circle hook through the rubber o-ring (see the pics for more info).
  • For those wanting to give stickbaiting marlin a go, Scotto suggests using locally made Nashies Stickbaits or Shimano Ocea Pencil Stickbaits.

Scott Mitchell

Fishing Journo And Tackle Addict

Over the years Scotto has written for pretty much every major Australian Fishing Magazine, owned and operated a tackle store and been a long-term sponsored angler for a swag of major brands. Residing in Hervey Bay, Scotto prefers to figure out a range of different species, rather than focus on just one or two.

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