Sydney Black Marlin

by Tim Simpson | Australian Lure Fishing

Sydney Offshore

Tim Simpson's Profile

Tim Simpson's Profile

Fishing Journalist and Big Fish Expert

Tim Simpson is the owner and Editor of Bluewater Magazine, Co-author of “The Book Of Lures”, IGFA representative and holds multiple National and World gamefishing records. He’s tagged over 580 marlin, tuna and sharks – so far!

Tim’s Top Tips For Sydney Black Marlin

  • The techniques used to catch black marlin around sydney also apply to striped and blue marlin. The main difference between marlin fishing in Sydney compared with further north is the size of the fish. Smaller fish (50-100kg) are common around Sydney, much larger fish are available the further north you travel.
  • Catching marlin no longer requires large, expensive gamefishing boats. In the Sydney area, marlin are accessible to small trailerboat fishermen and have even been caught from kayaks, jetskis and from the shore.
  • The size of lure you choose affects the manner in which marlin will take the lure. Best success around Sydney comes from using smaller lures that the fish tend to inhale, rather than larger lures that they try to crush first.
  • Matching the size and style of your hook to the line class you’re fishing and the size of lure is critical. The type of hook you choose and the way in which you sharpen it can seriously influence your success.
  • All of Tim’s recommended marlin lures are skirted trolling lures. Marlin are masters at throwing hooks, but a lure that is free to slide along the line is much harder for fish to shake.
  • Long and short head cup-faced trolling lures are great for creating commotion and a smoke trail. Which one you choose depends on conditions and how far behind the boat you’ll be trolling it. Bullet head trolling lures are good if fish are a little shy and you need a more subtle option.

Tim’s Suggested Tackle For Sydney Black Marlin

  • Tackle must be light and comfortable for a long fight, with a stiff , powerful butt and a little flexibility in the tip. A short rod of around 1.5m takes a lot of pressure off the anglers back.
  • Rods should be fitted with roller guides, or at least high quality ceramic guides. The speed of marlin can melt and weaken lines if poor quality guides are used.
  • High quality reels are required to prevent heat from expanding metal parts and costing fish. Lever drag game fishing reels are best as they allow a visual check of drag settings.
  • Skilled anglers with quality gear can catch Sydney marlin on 10kg. For those less experienced, a 15kg outfit is a better choice.

Tim’s Top Lures For Sydney black marlin

Note: Tim mentioned that there is a big difference between a good quality trolling lure and a cheap and nasty knock off.

  • A short-head cup faced “chugger” style skirted trolling lure of 150-200mm length work very effectively in both rough and calm water. The head section is approximately 50mm long, giving the lure more action. These work best fished closer to the boat.
  • A long-headed cup faced chugger style skirted trolling lure of 150-200mm total is best fished further behind the boat. The extra length of the head creates more planing surface and keeps the lure on the surface and working properly with the extra length of line out.
  • A bullet head skirted trolling lure doesn’t create as much commotion or a “smoke trail” but is a good choice if fish are shy and you need a more subtle presentation.

Time Of Year For Sydney Marlin Fishing

  • December to April are the prime fishing months for Sydney marlin, but it depends on ocean currents and water temperatures. Temperatures of 24.5 to 27 C are the most productive for marlin.

Other Resources Tim Mentioned

Sea surface and sub-surface water temperature

Sea surface temperature 2