Tournament Billfish Angler
Jay started fishing for billfish in his teenage years and quickly became successful – even catching a 110kg striped marlin on 10kg tackle during a Hawkesbury flathead fishing trip (true! Listen to the podcast for more!). Jay has gone on to catch plenty of billfish and has won a number of tournaments over the years.
Jay’s Striped Marlin Fishing Tips
Make your lure as easy for the fish to eat as possible. Marlin aren’t able to see the lure once they get close to it, so it helps to have your lures travelling in a straight line at constant speed.
Don’t go too big with the lures or too heavy with the tackle. Smaller lures tend to be easier for fish to take but require lighter gear for the lure to work.
Jay spends time studying the bottom contours on those grounds from 50-90 fathoms – between the inshore reefs and the continental shelf, as well as the speed and direction of the current. Places where the currents hit structure cause upwelling tend to hold bait and hence marlin.
Rip Charts is a good source of water temperatures, currents and even upwellings.
Any kind of temperature change, colour change, floating debris, FAD, current line or other feature is a good place to start looking. Birds are obviously a good indicator of bait also.
Temperatures from 18-24 degrees seem to be best, fish seem to get lethargic above 24.
Some parts of the coast (eg Port Stevens and Jervis Bay) tend to hold bait for most of the year, but December to April tend to fish best. The coast off Sydney tends to not hold bait so much, so fish tend to be passing through.
It’s not unusual for the hook and leader to wrap around the bill of the marlin and for the fish to be landed without the hook ever being driven home…….. provided the tension isn’t let off the line!
Don’t troll into the sea and don’t troll with it either. Jay likes to spend time between tides motoring around looking for bait. When he finds bait he trolls back and forth over the bait in the period before and after the tide change.
If you’ve had a quiet day, try leaving the lures in the water for a longer part of the trip home, often you’ll pick up a consolation fish on the way in.
Jay’s Striped Marlin Fishing Tackle
- Jay likes 15kg tackle and finds that with the drag set at 5kg he can easily set the hooks with the relatively light, fine hooks he uses for striped marlin without being over-gunned. A reel with 1000m of 15kg string leaves plenty on the arbour if you lose a few hundred metres.
- Penn International reels in 30 wide coupled with a fast action short stroker rod with a roller tip is a good option. A supple 150-200lb leader is sufficient for striped marlin without affecting the action of the lure.
Jay’s Striped Marlin Lures
- For striped marlin fishing from a boat with outriggers Jay would have a spread of five lures behind the boat, with all five being chugger style trolling lures of 6-9” total length. Chuggers tend to troll straighter than slant faced lures, making them easier for marlin to eat.
- Lumo green lures seem to work exceptionally well, but otherwise the colour of the lure is not critical, except to say that Jay runs the dark lures close to the boat and brighter colours out on the outriggers.
- Position lures to sit on the front, bottom face of the pressure wave when trolled at 6.5 to 7 knots in a way that allows the boat to turn hard without tangling the lines.
- Pakula Medium Sprocket is Jay’s first choice, with a black and purple Pakula cockroach on the short rigger or shotgun or Brad J on the shotgun.
- Jay prefers to rig striped marlin lures with a single Pakula Dojo hook.