Tug of war with a grander. Ryan Williamson using all he has learned tracing marlin to bring this magnificent beast alongside to be released.
sport and a factor hallowed amongst the deckies of The Great Barrier Reef who are rated according to the number of granders they have leadered. Despite this excitement, my main aim during my stint on Top Shot was to learn everything I could possibly learn from Ross during the black marlin season that runs from mid-September to the end of November each year. I share these snippets of information here in the hope that they will give the marlin anglers in South Africa an opportunity to appreciate the magnitude, the complexity, total dedication and absolute perfection of the top skippers and crews of the boats that fish the Reef for grander black marlin. You’ll be able to adapt many of these practices to your own “tackle box” of knowl-
edge and marlin fishing adventures. Having just returned from a full season decking very successfully in Cape Verde for blue marlin, I was bowled over by the difference in thinking and tactics on The Reef where the vast majority of marlin caught are blacks. Our black marlin tally for the season was two over 800 lb, two over 900 lb, five over 950 lb and one monster weighing in at 1 128 lb. This is a big black marlin destination, as you can tell by the size of the fish that were caught over that period of time. We also caught a large number of smaller black marlin — male fish that are around these big female marlin that are breeding. I would say that 90% of the marlin that we caught were blacks, and the remainder consisted of a few
blues that we caught while trolling in deeper water. Let’s take a closer look at the various facets of this fishery. BIOLOGICAL FACTS First and foremost it is accepted fact that the big female black marlin which grow to this formidable size arrive during this period to breed. Accompanying them are the much smaller male blacks which hover around a solitar y big mama in a specific area, seeking an opportunity to mate. With black marlin being a lot more shy than their blue counterparts, it takes a lot of persistence and patience to get these fish to come up in the water column from their preferred depth of 60-100 metres. SKI-BOAT March/April 2018 • 59
SKI-BOAT magazine — now in its 34th year — is Africa’s leading deep sea angling publication with an extensive readership in South Africa as...