Black Marlin on the West Coast

 

ON THE WEST COAST THE FORCAST WAS FOR FRESH SOUTH TO SOUTH EASTERLY WINDS, SOUTHERLY WINDS HAD BEEN MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO GET GOOD SPEARFISHING CONDITIONS. GREG PICKERING PHONED ON FRIDAY EVENING, HE WAS VERY KEEN TO DIVE THE NEXT DAY. IT WAS DECIDED, GREG, SCOTT (MY ELDEST SON) & I WOULD MEET AT 3:30 AM & TRAVEL BY ROAD TOWING MY BOAT. WE WOULD GO TO CERVANTES, 250 KILOMETRES NORTH OF PERTH.

 

ARRIVING AT CEVANTES AT 6:30 AM,THE WIND WAS CALM & THE SWELL WAS VERY LOW, REALY GOOD FOR DIVING.  WE OGANIZED OUR DIVE GEAR & PULLED OUR WETSUITS ON. THE BOAT WAS LAUNCHED FROM THE HARD BEACH SAND & WE HEADED OUT TO SHALLOW WATER TO SHOOT SOME BUFF BREAM FOR BURLY. AFTER SHOOTING 6 FISH, SCOTT YELLED OUT FOR ASSISTANCE. A LARGE SHARK (BRONZE WHALER) HAD RIPPED A BUFF BREAM FROM HIS SPEAR.

 

THE SHARK CAME BACK LOOKING FOR MORE, IT WAS VERY AGITATED. IT DISAPPEARED INTO THE DISTANCE WHEN JABBED A COUPLE OF TIMES WITH A SHARP SPEAR POINT. HAVING ENOUGH BURLY WE HEADED TO 17 METRES OF WATER OUTSIDE OF THE REEF, WHERE THE REEF STOPS AND THE SAND BEGINS. HERE THE WATER WAS VERY CLEAR, ABOUT 30 METRE VISIBLITY. BUFF BREAM WERE CHUMMED UP TO CREATE A SLICK DOWN CURRENT.

 

MACKEREL (NARROW BARRED SPANISH) SOON ARRIVED IN THE BURLY TRAIL. THESE FISH LOOK GREAT WHEN THEY APPEAR, STRONG BLUE GREEN ABOVE, SILVER WHITE BELOW. SCOTT SLID DOWN TO 14 METRES AND A NICE 14 KILO FISH GLIDED INTO RANGE. THE SHOT WAS GOOD. THE FISH QUIVERED ON SCOTTS SPEAR, A KILL SHOT. THE MACKEREL WAS GUTTED WHERE IT WAS SHOT, TO ADD TO THE BURLY TRAIL. I HEARD GREG  YELL  "MACKEREL"  AND I DIVED. I LINED UP ON A 13 KILO FISH, FIRED & THE SHOT WAS SOLID. AFTER A FEW MINUTES I HAD THE FISH IN MY HANDS. GREG HAD ALSO SHOT A SAMSON FISH.

 

MOVING THE BOAT 5 KILOMETRES NORTH, INTO ABOUT 25 METRES OF WATER, WE ANCHORED. THE VISIBILITY HERE WAS ABOUT 19 METRES. I SAW SCOTT DIVE TO THE BOTTOM, SHOOT & START SWIMMING BACK TO THE SURFACE WITH A SAMSON FISH ON HIS SPEAR.

 

GREG DIVED TO THE BOTTOM OUT OF SIGHT. IT WAS A LONG DIVE. I HEARD HIS GUN DICHARGE, THEN APPEAR OUT OF THE GLOOM WITH A NICE JEWFISH. I DIVED TO THE BOTTOM TO FIND TWO MORE JEWFISH CLOSE BY. THESE JEWFISH WERE DIFFICULT TO APPROACH, I COULD NOT GET CLOSE ENOUGH FOR A SHOT.

 

BACK ON THE SURFACE I CALLED TO SCOTT THAT THERE WERE FISH ON THE BOTTOM. SCOTT DIVED AGAIN, ON THE BOTTOM HE FOUND A JEWFISH IN A CAVE. HAVING SHOT THE FISH SCOTT SURFACED AND BEGAN TO PULL THE FISH TO THE UP. GREG HAD DIVED TO ABOUT 12 METRES TO SCAN THE BOTTOM FOR FISH.

 

I WAS READY TO DIVE, WAITING FOR GREG TO SURFACE BEFORE DESCENDING. I SAW A FLASH OF COLOUR OUT OF THE CORNER OF MY EYE,A HUGE SHAPE, A MAKO (SHARK). NO IT WASN'T. IT WAS A MARLIN AND THIS FISH WITH VERY AGGRESSIVE MOTION SPED IN UNDER SCOTT.  IT BUZZED GREG FROM BEHIND. THIS MARLIN THEN SWOOPED IN MY DIRECTION.

 

I DIVED BY INSTINCT AND FIRED,THE FISH STOPPED FOR MOMENT, AND THEN CAME BACK TO LIFE. I COULD SEE  THE SPEAR (MY 9.5mm  ONE FLOPPER SPEAR)  HAD GONE 600mm OUT THE FAR SIDE OF THE  FISH.THE FISH NOW TOOK OFF IN A TIGHT ARC STRAIGHT FOR ME, I DID NOT LIKE THE FEELING OF BEING IN FRONT OF THE MARLINS BILL. SCOTT SAW THE WHOLE EVENT TAKE PLACE WHILE GREG WAS STILL SEARCHING THE BOTTOM. GREG FAINTLY HEARD THE SHOT AND LOOKED UP TO SEE THE MARLIN CIRCLE WITH SPEAR IN IT.

 

THE FISH VEERED AWAY, & STARTED TO TOW ME SEAWARD. BOTH GREG & SCOTT SWAM FLAT OUT TRYING TO KEEP UP. THE FISH TOWED ME ABOUT 500 METRES OUT TO SEA IN BIG CIRCLES.I WAS WORRIED ABOUT THE STENGTH OF THE SINGLE FLOPPER.THE FISH WAS BADLY HURT BUT STILL PULLED EXTREMLY HARD. ABOUT 20 MINUTES AFTER SHOOTING IT I MANAGED TO PULL THE MARLIN UP TO ME & GRABBED IT IN IT'S GILLS. A VERY FUNNY FEELING GRABING A FISH THIS SIZE, 3.2 METRES LONG. IT GAVE A COUPLE OF STRONG SHAKES AND WAS DEAD. NOT BAD FOR A SINGLE RUBBER SINGLE FLOPPER GUN WITH A REEL ONLY, NO FLOAT LINE ATTACHED.

 

THIS MARLIN WEIGHED IN AT 110kg . A  NEW RECORD FOR BLACK MARLIN IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AS NONE HAVE BEEN SHOT HERE BEFORE.  YOU CAN BET I STILL HAVE A SMILE ON MY FACE!! AFTER WEIGHING THE FISH SOMEONE FROM THE MUSEUM CAME FO IDENTIFY THE SPECIES.

 

I THEN FILLETED THE WHOLE FISH (WHAT A JOB)  AND I MANAGED TO GIVE IT TO A LOT OF FRIENDS, I ONLY ENDED UP WITH ABOUT 1.5 kg FOR MYSELF.

 

IT HAS BEEN 42 YEARS OF DIVING TO GET A MARLIN. I STILL FIND IT DIFFICLT TO BELIEVE.

 

WHAT DO I DO TO TOP THIS ????