Breaksea Black Marlin Madness & 17kg Red – Nov 2012

With plans in mind of making a future DVD for the Breaksea/top end of Fraser region I decided when the weather allows I would head up and get the ball rolling asap. Well recently that finally happened and we departed from Hervey Bay and had a beautiful run up the inside of Fraser Island with very little wind and dead flat seas. The Breaksea Spit had minimal swell and I chose to head out through a small channel close to the beach on Fraser Island. Outside the small breaking waves was an abundance of birds feeding on small white bait and with the reports of black marlin in great numbers only weeks prior I decided to troll some skirted pushers to see if we could entice one. This type of bait wasn’t ideal for marlin but the many tuna in area was good reason to assume there could be marlin close by as well. After a quick troll of the area and no hits we continued out further to target some reef fish. This area can be prone to strong currents making it very difficult to fish considering it has an abundance of large steep pinnacles that are a magnet for getting caught up on and fish rubbing you off on. These strong currents can often make or break your trip in this area so we were pleased to find minimal current on our first drop in 45mtrs of water. I have marked a lot of reefs/pinnacles throughout the Breaksea region over the years so the plan was to fish each spot making our way north up along the Breaksea Spit before heading into some deeper water for pearlies before the NE wind got up.

We soon found the fishing tough with lot of spots not producing quality fish although the hussar seemed to be in good numbers everywhere we fished and sharks were being a pest of most spots also. We persisted on most marks and carried out at least 5 to 10 drifts on each while slightly changing the drift line to cover a different part of the reef on each pass over it. This accounted for some nice parrot, hussar, moses perch, maori cod and a good red emperor. It’s always a relief to put the first red in the box and I haven’t failed to catch a red on a trip for over 10 years although I’m expecting it will happen one day and I’m not looking forward to it.

I continued north with similar results and picked up another nice red a couple hours later but we were working very hard for our results. By now we had fished over 20 spots and I headed for a mark that had produced some good reds for us in the past which included a 17kg beast. We pulled some nice reefies before Trent buckled over with a solid fish and the fight was on to try beat the sharks which seemed to be on every spot. A red around 10kg hit surface and the morale in the boat lifted as we had high hopes of this spot producing the goods. Well that morale soon dropped when the sharks started nailing almost every fish we pulled up and frustration built in.

There was no point continuing to fish this spot while the sharks were so bad so I decided to put the underwater camera down and see what footage we could capture. Our drift was pushing us from the east to the west so to avoid the camera getting caught up I dropped it right on the trailing edge of the reef which is where most of life seem to be anyway. After a minute or so I pulled it back up and plugged it into my laptop to view the footage. At this point I was like a kid in a candy store as let’s face it seeing what’s below you on a screen is simply awesome and adds a whole new dimension to fishing. The camera landed right beside a large jagged reef with a massive overhang that was loaded with fish life.  A huge bull shark cruises past and up over the structure before amberjack, green job fish, hussar, moses perch, lots of morwong, red emperor and more sharks were in plain view of camera. It was brilliant to see and I decided to leave the spot and come back just on dark in hope that the sharks might move on and some decent fish could be pulled.

The Sounder shot of the above underwater pics


I headed out to the 100 metre line where we have pulled some big pearlies over 5kg from in the past. I found a very big show of fish on the sounder and dropped our lines. Straight away we hooked some quality fish but it wasn’t long before all our fish got sharked and line began to peel off our reels as they headed for the horizon. While Trent and I had busted our sharks off the old man managed to reclaim a massive pearlie head that would have been a 5-6kg fish which was pretty depressing. Drift after drift we hooked big fish but there was no way we could beat the sharks and we soon gave up on wasting quality fish to mongrel sharks.

That afternoon I searched around looking for new ground and pulling an assortment of fish but the action was still slow and the sharks were driving us crazy. Just on dusk I headed back to the spot we had put the underwater camera down on and had a drift over it. Trent hooked up instantly and the rod buckled over with some serious weight.  Knowing the shark problem we had earlier and the large over hanging reef that was positioned below us Trent had to give this fish plenty of stick but not too much that it would cause tackle failure which is where most people make a mistake on large fish. We all waited in anticipation and before long a monster red hit the surface and safely into the in net. You could tell this fish was in the next level of size and one that many would rarely come across. We threw it on the scales and it was around the 17kg mark and looked every bit of it. It was a pb red for Trent and a fish he had been waiting to catch for a very long time like so many others.

By now a fresh NE breeze was in full swing so I anchored up on this spot and apart from a good red which got sharked and lots of hussar driving us mad it was pretty quiet so we hit the sack for some sleep. It blew a good 15-20 through the night so not a lot of sleep took place and we were up early and fishing more pinnacles I had in the area. The maori cod were thick on most spots but we did manage some other nice reefies before we decided to head in close to the breaksea spit and troll for some black marlin. A group of several boats from the website Ausfish had planned a trip to the area as well and not long after crossing the spit were reporting plenty of action on the surface in close. We weren’t far away and I soon deployed some Pakula skirted pushers out the back and went searching for some bait. Soon as we sounded over some bait in 20 mtrs of water we had a billie crawling all over the lure and it gave a good nudge but failed to connect. 30 seconds later we had another couple of hits with no hook up but soon enough one of the reels screamed and we had a solid connection. Trent grabbed the rod but accidently bumped the drag lever when disconnecting the safety lanyard and the reel exploded into a massive birds nest. We both looked at each in disbelief and started laughing.  While Trent franticly tried to untangle the mess of line on the reel I grabbed the line and begin to hand line the marlin as it was going nuts on the surface. I managed to pull enough line in that I could play the fish and let him run when required. While I did this Trent quickly cut the line and tied it onto another rod before winding the slack line on and begin the fight with a rod and reel. It worked a treat and we soon had a lively black marlin on board for a few quick pics and moments later swimming away.


The next two hours was simply amazing with double hook ups on marlin a common occurrence although getting the hooks to stick in their hard beaks was as always the challenging part. I could spot the big schools of bait under the surface with my polaroid sunglasses and soon as you trolled over it there was 3 to 4 marlin fighting over a lure trying to inhale it. It was simply an amazing experience and we ended up getting 31 hits, hooked 18 and 8 to the boat which made for some great footage for a future DVD.

Our conversion rates would have been better but during the mad action over the 2 hours we ended up with one of the Gamagatsu SL12’s hooks broken during a hook up and also some bent hook tips on the dojo light gauge hooks which we didn’t know about until we checked after failing to connect on way too many fish.  In the afternoon we headed back to roonies on the inside top end of Fraser Island to get out of the weather for the night before heading back to the ramp on first light. All the other boats from Ausfish had the same idea and everyone was happy to report they had caught marlin and for some it was their first so they were all on a high.

If you would like to learn how to catch trophy reef fish and inparticular big Red Emperor than grab a copy of our latest DVD for only $25.00 Click here to see a DVD preview or to purchase your very own copy.


Greg Lamprecht