NSW Central Coast Sportfishing Guide
Scotty grew up on the NSW Central Coast and has fished the area for around 200 days per year since 1988 when he established his sportfishing guiding service. Whilst he’s best known for his marlin exploits, Scotty’s business has two arms and the second one caters to top notch estuary and fly fishing. Four decades of guiding in the area means he knows the waters and the fish like the back of his hand.
Scotty’s NSW Central Coast Marlin Tips
- Striped marlin can be caught at any time of the year from the NSDW Central Coast, but the warmer months tend to fish more consistently surface water temperatures of 22.5-24.5C are perfect for this species. The annual run of black marlin will start as the summer wears on and water temperatures begin to rise to 24 plus, but they can be found in much cooler temps at times too.
- Using a service lip RipCharts or TZ iBoat something to find what the currents are doing and to identify areas of high chlorophyll and clean/dirty water is a good move. A current that comes from east to west tends to push marlin from outside the shelf to the inshore areas where they feed on schools of slimy mackerel.
- Be generous with your information on social media. You’ll find plenty of people willing to help with fishing reports and advice – be willing to reciprocate by contributing your intel to the online community.
- Fishing the edges where clear blue water meets green chlorophyll water is always worth doing. Mostly fish will be in the clean blue water and bait will be in amongst the dirtier water, but it’s worth fishing the green water sometimes too, especially if there are fish marking on the sounder.
- Birds such as shearwaters (mutton birds), Caspian terns and Australian gannets often work the hard edges of a chlorophyll line. Terns are especially encouraging as they don’t dive deep, so they’re a good sign that bait has been pushed near the surface by gamefish.
- A good strategy is to drive around until you find a couple of patches of bait within a square mile or two, put a couple of marks into the GPS and do some figure eights around the bait watching the sounder for signs of fish. If no fish appear on the line or sounder, move on to the next patches of bait.
- The lead-up to a full moon is usually a peak time and a new moon is next best. Again, fish can be caught on any phase of the moon, but the full and new moons are often periods of higher activity. A 5-15 knot breeze to ripple the surface is a usually helpful, stronger winds are fine for fishing, just less comfortable for the angler.
- Good hooksets are all about using the sharpest, finest wire hooks you can get away with. Check the point of the hook every single time before putting it out. Set the drag for 1/3 of the breaking strain of the line and when a lure gets taken avoid the temptation to power away, just keep the boat moving at constant speed and let the fish hook itself.
- When playing a marlin if it goes down deep don’t sit on top and grind it out, circle around the fish in the boat to spur it into moving so you can wear it down and get it boatside.
Scotty’s Inshore Marlin Fishing Tackle
- A decent quality 30lb trolling rod is ideal for most striped and black marlin fishing on the NSW Central Coast, coupled with a Tiagra 30 reel loaded with 50-65lb tournament backing and top shotted with 50-100 30lb mono. Scotty ties a double to a swivel and a 20-25 ft leader, but in smaller boats you may prefer to use a wind-on leader to make it easier to manage fish near the boat.
Scotty’s Top Inshore Marlin Fishing Lures
- A cup faced Pakula in the 6”-8” size range in colours that match the predominant bait are good when the water is a bit rougher as they grip the water (blue/silver when flying fish are abundant, ginger beer colour for yellowtail and green back/silver belly when slimy mackerel are the most prevalent). Sometimes bright unnatural colours such as pink or lumo are also worth a try. A 4” Oozie can work insure if the fish are on pencil pilchards (and gets a nice bycatch), a 10” lure might be appropriate if the fish are feeding on skipjack tuna. A good thing about cupfaced lures is that the lure will always orient itself with the point up and the lure will run properly in any part of the spread with minimum fuss. The shorter the lure head, the closer t the boat you want to run it.
- A slant faced Zak Attack in similar sizes to the Pakula and again in colours that match the bait will work well when the water is a little calmer. Similar sizes and colours apply as for the cupfaced lures.
- Hawaiian style Kona head lures can be deadly on striped and black marlin, but they work best in very flat conditions, which are relatively uncommon off central NSW. These lures can be a little tricky to use and might need to be run with the hook point down to stabilise the lure. These lures work best not just on calmer days, but also on the clean water on the face of the wave.
Haven Sportfishing Charters Terrigal
Scotty has been operating Haven Sportfishing charters for marlin out of the central coast for decades and is an undisputed icon in the NSW Sportfishing scene. Aside from his marlin charter business, Scotty also operates Central Coast Estuary And Flyfishing, a sport fishing service that takes clients into the many waterways of the NSW Central Coast to experience the best that the region has to offer sport fishers.
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