BEAKED BEASTS FROM THE BIG BLUE

We’ve gone months without a marlin bite, but it seems this year we can’t get a lure in the water without being mauled by a beaked beast from the big blue. Off Sydney, delicious warm water has been pouring down the East Australian Current, bringing bait-fish and marlin with it. Over the past three weeks, we’ve been fishing in cruisers, runabouts ‑ even a tinnie. Firstly, we did battle with a black marlin on an Arvor 675 Sportsfish, then stole the keys to a Whittley SL22 and landed a striped marlin. We were on a roll, so thought to ourselves, “What the heck, let’s give it a crack in a 4.6m Morningstar tinnie”.

 

 

Black marlin lap dance: Travis Godfredson with a Pakula gobbling black marlin from Norah Canyons.

 

Gals and gills: Katie with her first billfish – a striped marlin!

 

MURPHY’S LAW

During a midnight rigging session with my good mate Kirk Branch, I told him about Trav’s two-hour battle with the black marlin, fighting it on a crusty little Daiwa Saltist reel with a seized spool-tensioning knob and three different layers of backing. Kirk laughed and said, “Ah, you put out a Murphy”. I quizzed him further, “What’s a Murphy?” He said, “You know, Murphy’s Law? You always run one under-gunned rod if you’re struggling to get a bite. It’ll always go off.”

 

“Murphy” in all her glory.

 

Not one for superstitions, I laughed off Kirk’s theories and drifted off to sleep, dreaming about a big fish stripping line from a chanting Tiagra. I woke early and stumbled down to the beach where Trav was waiting with a hot chocolate, and a week-old servo pie. We also invited gun videographer Nick Wood, who lives life at 240 frames per second. He also likes well-aged pies.

 

Nick Wood doin' his thang.

 

The trip started out like every other marlin fishing day. Set the spread, change the lures, tell a dirty joke, then long pauses followed by a good tune that perks everyone up. Then boredom. As we glided over the oily sea, my mind went back to Kirk’s theory. His voice came into my head like an Obi-Wan Kenobi recording ... “Show them your Murphy’s Law”. I couldn’t resist the force, so I clipped a Remora Lure onto the little Daiwa Saltist and slid it into the short ’rigger position.

 

Organised chaos, but the conditions made up for it.

 

At about snooze o’clock with Trav and Nick fast asleep (possibly poisoned from the pie), we trolled over some pinnacles off Terrigal. As we passed over the undulating seabed, the water colour changed dramatically. Red algae covered the surface and the temperature dropped half a degree. Trav woke up and while still rubbing sleep from his eyes and pastry crumbs from his lips, screamed out, “Marlin in the spread!”

 

Watch the full video here.

 

Before I could turn around, the Murphy rod and reel was doubled over, peeling line fast. As I grabbed the rod I spotted a large mass heading alongside me. It was a big blue! The fish jumped back towards the boat, it’s back arching like a sprinting greyhound. It moved fast, so fast that I was picking up line in front of me, while watching the fish jump behind me.

 

Eek, down to the backing…

 

The battle continued for two hours before the blue beast finally showed itself again. Trav grabbed the leader and gently lead the fish towards the boat. We had done it; a big blue, about 150kg. The fish topped off an amazing three weeks ‑ three marlin from three different boats. Two of those fish were caught on a tiny Saltist that obeyed Murphy’s Law. Yes, the force was strong in that little Murphy rod-and-reel combo.

 

Beauty of a blue, boat-side.

 

Awesome colours.

 

Anything for a good shot: Nick gets dropped onto a WaveRunner jet ski!

 

Up close and personal.

 

On the topic of marlin, we also recently chased black marlin on the flats of Fraser Island. To read that story make sure you grab issue #2 of The Captain - on-sale now!

 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

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THE FISH I CAN'T FORGET

If you’re looking for a story about ‘the fish of a lifetime’, then look away now. This is not one of those stories. This is a story of heartache and pain. Something many fishos can relate to, but most have been trying to forget.

 

Not so long ago, a run of giant southern bluefin tuna popped up on the west coast of Victoria. It was unheard of. The average fish were between 80kg and 150kg. Fish as big as wine barrels. It was time to pack the Landy, the biggest reels I could carry, and several tubs of soy sauce and wasabi.

 

The plan was simple. Pick up a bright red Stabicraft 2050 Supercab, head to Apollo Bay (where the bite was hot), troll some lures, hook and land a fish of a lifetime, then head home to Sydney the next day. Mmm, if only it was that easy…

 

 

 

This was no doubt the hardest fishing trip of my life. We worked so hard and came so close, only to have glory snatched away from us at the last second. A lot of people see fishing as a physical sport; you do battle with giants and brawn wins the battle. Not this time. This was a mental and emotional challenge like I’d never experienced. Disappointment and regret filled my mind for weeks after this trip. Upon reflection, all that remains is a greater respect for a creature that beat me, fair and square.

 

The experience reminded me a of a great quote by Robert Traver

“Giant tuna do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience ... and not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.”

 

I’ve changed the species Robert was referring to, from trout to tuna, but the essence of his words remains the same. The next time I head south, with tuna on my mind, I’ll go quietly and humbly, studying everything and savoring all. Especially the sushi, should I be so lucky….

 

The stunning Great Ocean Road.

 

Word spreads fast when the barrels are on.

 

 

Apollo Bay at first light.

 

The local commercial fleet were more interested in chasing squid and scallops than tuna.

 

Finding the fish was the easy part.

 

Watching lures became our only form of entertainment.
 
The fish taunted us for days.
 

Searching for a pot of gold.

 

Still fishing after sunset - these blokes must've thought we were mad.

 

I'll be back next year...

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

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BIG SYDNEY KINGFISH ON TOPWATER

When fishing buddy, Justin Duggan suggested we hunt big kingfish on topwater, it took all of 10 minutes to scoop up my flies, poppers and stickbaits while simultaneously tying leaders and setting the alarm for 4am – not that I was going to get a wink of sleep anyway. There had been some seriously good fish caught of recent, and after the non-stop downpour in Sydney we were hopefully going to be the first boat to get back into the action.

 

 

With the sun still enjoying its sleep-in, we launched under the cover of darkness and made our way to a few ol’ favourite spots. Justin obviously got the wrong end of the stick, as along with the fly rod, he was casting a tiny 3500-sized Daiwa spinning reel with 20lb main line and leader. I opted for a heavy 80-100lb popping outfit. I hoped for Justin’s sake, I was the only one hooking hoodlums today – but the fish had other ideas…

 

 

Bombs away.
 

There must be some big fish around, our poppers seemed scared to be in the water!

 

 

After landing a few small rat kings on stickbaits we moved further afield to the offshore washes. We worked hard; firing cast after cast into the churning white water. Then, out of nowhere, an explosion behind my lure, then another and another – how the metre-plus pack of kingfish missed the hooks on my lure, I don’t know. As I quickly lined up my next cast back towards the bommie, Justin had already landed his stickbait right into the honey hole. It was instantly engulfed and the little 3500-sized reel let out a high pitch noise that would’ve had any nearby dogs running for the hills.

 

 

Justin holds on for dear life.

 

 

The fact that Justin managed to stay connected after the first run was a miracle in it’s own right. The fish ran him straight through the bommie and out the other side, taking with it over 150 metres of line. Nevertheless, Justin fought on, often performing ballerina-esque manoeuvres to coax the fish from heavy cover. The slog continued for over 30 minutes as we slowly motored the boat towards deeper and less treacherous waters. Eventually, the brute came up boat-side and after a few circles the 110cm, 12kg beast was guided smoothly into the net. Mission accomplished. 

 

 

9kg leader vs a 12kg kingfish - now that's a serious achievement.

 

Mission accomplished. 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

It’s an exciting day. I’m officially launching a new magazine called The Captain – Legends of the Sea. It’s going to be one of the coolest magazines on the shelves. It’s got epic stories about crazy adventures, breathtaking locations, interesting people and the coolest products in the marine market. It’s not just going to be a brochure full of advertising and shameless editorial either; instead we’re going to tell stories that haven’t been told before - we’re probably going to bruise some egos…

 

 

It’s going to talk to the new breed boaties out there who want something with a younger voice. I’d be lying if I said it was all my own doing. The other bloke on the tiller at The Captain is Travis Godfredson. He recently exited the board-room of Australia’s biggest publisher, threw away the pin-stripe suit and replaced it with some boardies and Dunlop Volleys. He knows a few tricks about publishing, but just as importantly, he can catch fresh squid when the kingies are fussy.

 

Also on board The Captain is legendary lure maker, Peter Pakula, gun freediver Paul Miller, flyfishing guru Justin Duggan, the crazy Captain Blackbeard and ladies man, Joel Ryan. Quite a motley crew!

 

The other crewman on The Captain is you! Yes, you. The Captain wants your support, to be the best magazine in the land. You can have you name enshrined in the pages (quite literally) forever!

 

Here’s how you can support The Captain:

 

·      Jump on Indiegogo and help crowd fund. There are Pakula lures and discount subscriptions on offer: http://igg.me/at/thecaptainmag/x/12495218

 

·      If you don't want to contribute money, you can still support us with your social network. Check out our Thunderclap: http://thndr.me/V5N9HI

 

·      ‘Like’ us on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/thecaptainmag

 

·      ‘Follow’ us on Instagram here: instagram.com/thecaptainmag

 

·      Check out the website here: www.thecaptain.tv

 

 

The Captain – Legends of the Sea is brought to you by Moby Dick Content and will be on sale December 3rd. It will be distributed across newsagents, airports and hotels throughout the peak boating season.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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IF BOATS WERE CARS...

By Jack Murphy and Travis Godfredson

 

If boats were cars…

Like cars, some boats are built for speed, others functionality. Some are rebuilt classics, while others are untouched vintage beauties. Every boat also has its own personality and individuality. So in this blog, we pondered, if boats were cars, what would they be? Here’s what we came up with.

 

A Formula 233 would be a Phase 3 Falcon GTHO. Driven in the right hands these muscle machines make grown men weak at the knees. Well preserved by fastidious owners, who are prone to bouts of fuel injected fanaticism . Built for a purpose, it’s hard to find an ugly one; the Formula and Phase 3 will forever be kings of their domain. Often found on trailers with more engineering than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

 

Image: Dave Manwell

 

 

The Stabicraft 2050 would be a Lamborghini Countach. Both fully imported, they share an angular appearance, "cabin-forward" design and are often found in bold colours, especially red. Recognisable by a tough stance, this pair stick to the surface like a squid Sikaflexed to a beach ball. They go just as fast in reverse too. Bonus feature: extra wide windscreen for spotting birds.

 

Image: 98octane

 

 

A Haines Hunter 445F would be a Porsche Boxster - diminutive in stature, but with a big reputation, the Boxster and 445 share a timeless shape. They both have open tops, are loved by old dudes and respected by young punks. Any lack of straight-line speed is saved by superior handling. Always active on weekends, these favourites offer big kicks in little packages.

 

Image: Alessandro

 

 

A CruiseCraft 595 would be a BMW M5. This pair ooze class, and are built for travelling in style. Strong appeal in the older demos, but not sneezed at by the young bucks, who charge hard on the weekend when Dad throws them the keys. Bonus feature: armrests come standard.

 

Image: Thomas Hawk

 

 

The Camcraft would be a Subaru WRX. Both known for evading the fuzz at high speeds, these babies grip like an abalone on a rock. Don't let their sleeper appearance fool you, they love a drag race, and if you're lucky enough to spot one of these horsepower heroes at warp speed, you'll need the tissues.

 

 

 

A Quintrex Fishabout would be an old Series Landrover. Their owners will do anything to keep these things operational, swearing that they're the best thing since Brooke Shields bared all in the Blue Lagoon. The more beat up they get, the better they seem to look. Reliability issues only matched by their owners ability to talk about them. Bonus feature: removable seats come standard.

 

Image: Allen Watkins and Huett Marine Centre

 


A Haines Hunter V19 would be a Holden Kingswood. They've had more owners than Caitlin Jenner's had face-lifts, and just as many modifications. Still a favourite no matter how ugly they look (because we all probably rode in one at some stage). Original ones hard to find - particularly in original colours. Warning: approach owners with caution.

 

Image: John Lloyd

 


A White Pointer Sports Cruiser would be a Toyota Landcruiser Sahara. Not built for speed, but when they get a head of steam up you better get out the way. Beards, jeans and brown leather boots come standard with each, along with copious refrigeration and state of the art electronics that seldom gets used. Found in serious environs, the LandCruiser and White Pointer always get the job done and are home in time for supper. Can be tribal, moving in wolf packs. Easily spotted at distances with more aerials than an Abrams Tank. 

 

Image: ARB

 


An Evolution 552 would be an Chrysler E49 Charger. You don't need big horses the get these things gliding. The design team got these babies right, with sweeping lines and practical detail that makes you feel at home the minute you get in the seat. Not everyone's cup of tea, but much loved by their adoring owners. Rising in value.

 

Image: Jeremy

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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