Earlier in the year I ticked off my #1 fishing goal- to properly land and release a Marlin from the hobie. To do it straight off the coast from my front doorstep made it all the more sweeter.
It's been years in the making, I hooked my first Marlin from the yak back in 2013- a rampaging stripe in the 140-150kg bracket that towed me all over the place until I had to bust it off yak side due to weather conditions deteriorating. It was all a learning curve though and after a few more hookups to blacks between 20 and 120kg that didn't quite go my way I was hellbent on seeing the Marlin dream come through.
Below is the story of how Marlin hookup number 5 finally came to be:
Marlin season on the South Coast is often quite a fickle small window especially when you're targeting them from a kayak and this year was no exception. I waited for months watching the SST charts hanging for that cobalt blue warm water to push downhill with the EAC and hit the South Coast and it hit right on time in mid to late January.
On Australia Day I went for a drive past my local ramp at Bellambi and was amazed to see a Marlin free jump maybe 15-20 times only 400m from the ramp. I raced home, even as I drove from the boat ramp it was still going nuts! I loaded the yak quickly grabbing the bare essentials and was back at the ramp within half hour. It was right on the tide change and I paddled out and found a huge bait ball of big slimies but couldn't tempt the Marlin. Usually in my experience if you see them free jumping they are hard to hook but it had me frothing at the mouth for the upcoming season.
The following week on Wed the 1st of Feb I was at work looking at the glass out on the ocean off Wollongong, it was perfect all day and I could even see bait balls churning. I gave myself an early mark in the arvo and raced home with last weeks Marlin sighting fresh in my mind. It was 3pm by the time I got to the ramp but with a 530pm tide and daylight saving in full swing it was game on.
A quick easy launch and I was back out there, within 10 minutes I had a large slimy ready to be deployed. I couldn't catch another so I decided I'd head out with one livey for now. I paddled out to about 20m depth before I dropped my one livie- the inshore hammers were so thick I didn't bother until I was out further. After slow trolling for a while and getting out to my desired location in 35m of water my 50lb spin setup came alive. It was a slow take, not like the blistering speed of a shark hit and it swam towards the yak. I slowly did up the drag letting the circle find its mark and as I came tight my line rose to the surface and up popped a Marlin beak! It started thrashing on the spot then did a bit of a jump. Game on!
For the next 2.5 hours the tug of war went on, I saw several sunfish swim past and lost my paddle. It was 755pm when I finally had this beast beaten yakside! I grabbed him by the bill, cut the trace and gave him a swim yakside before watching him swim away tired but healthy. By this stage I was 7.5km ESE of the boat ramp beyond the local shipping channel, I had no food or water left and no paddle so if my mirage drive failed I was screwed. And it was going to be dark in 15 minutes! The subsequent paddle home in the dark was surreal, completely glassy and phosphorus glowing from the bow wave of my yak. I arrived back at Bellambi ramp exhausted with a couple of my close mates waiting for me worried to death ready to call coast guard!
I've recently put together a 13 minute highlight video of the battle. I held on to the footage for months this time around, I wanted to enjoy the moment to myself and let it sink in before I threw it out there. The music was a last minute addition, I found the footage a bit spare without it. I hope you all enjoy the journey as much as I did and I encourage all of you to try and hook a Marlin from the yak, it will blow your mind I've never experienced an adrenaline rush like it.
The YouTube vid : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=55URdJh_w64
Cheers guys, keep on yakkin'