What a Marlin season

2015 will certainly go down as the best Striped Marlin season on the South coast that I’ve ever seen, and guys with a lot more seasons under their belt than me are saying the same. From Feb through to May saw exceptional numbers of fish from Lakes Entrance up to Batemans bay. The currents and bait moved up and down the coast, enabling anglers to follow the bite and launch from the right port to get into the action with anglers experiencing a few bites on a normal day and double digit figures on an exceptional day!

Slick teamwork is the key to getting that tag in during a tournament

Slick teamwork is the key to getting that tag in during a tournament. Andrew Donegan on the leader

We had some fantastic bait ball action out of Eden, Tathra and Bermagui on Shake N Bake catching Marlin on lures, skip baits, live baits, switching them and pitching them and more often than not we had double and even triple hook ups as we got ‘pack attacks’ of lit up stripes.

This season we spent most of our time switch baiting and our hook up rate, and fish tagged was our best season yet.

Shake N Bake hooked up during the Bermi Bluewater

Shake N Bake hooked up during the Bermi Bluewater

We had a ball fishing some competitions too, the Bermagui bluewater tournament, and the Eden Open was a blast and a great fun competitive atmosphere.

Joel with one of the Yellowfin tagged

Joel Ryan with one of the Yellowfin tagged during the Eden Open

Check out some of our footage over the two day Eden Open Tournament. We tagged two chunky Yellowfin on 15kg line class and won the Tuna tag and release section, and finished 3rd overall in tag and release trailer boat with two striped marlin on 15kg and one on 10kg

Make sure you watch it in HD!


A Stripe swimming along side Shake N Bake ready for release. Bermi Bluewater

A Stripe swimming along side Shake N Bake ready for release. Bermi Bluewater

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Going deep

Something we’ve really been enjoying recently is Deep dropping. While fishing with electric reels is not something I ever would have believed I’d be interested in, it’s actually really fun and a great way to break up the day of trolling.

We realised recently that it had been months since we’d brought home a feed of fish, while Marlin fishing we only tag & release, so all our better halves had started questioning if we were coming home empty handed because we’re just no good or even if we where going fishing at all!

Perfect solution, pull in the game gear for an hour and drop some baits down some 500+m and bring up a beautiful feed of Blue Eye Trevella.

'Shake N Bake' with a double hook up on the electrics

‘Shake N Bake’ with a double hook up on the electrics

So first off we needed some electric reels because no one was super keen on winding that much. The guys at Fishing Fever suggested the Diawa Tanacom 1000 reel matched up to the Diawa Tanacom 37kg Rod. It seems like a really good bang for your buck combination and it’s been a pleasure to use.

Here’s a quick video of us off Portland, Victoria the first time we tried it out using a mates Tanacom Bull 1000. We found the rod too short and the new 6’6 ones we have now make life a a lot easier easily clearing motors and trim tabs.

The basics.


We’ve been using lead weight of 2.4kg and once deployed to the bottom constantly knocking a motor in and out of gear in reverse, to keep us over our sinker. Usually there is lots of current/wind at Portland so you might not need to do this on a nice calm day.


Find some nice reefy rubble over the ‘shelf’ in about 400-550m deep. We’re actually not able to pick up the bottom over 350m so we’ve done a lot of ‘blind’ drops and had plenty of success. Use your charts to find nice canyon areas off the shelf to start. If you want some marks for Portland feel free to send us a message and we’re more than  happy to pass on the areas we’ve been finding the Blueeye.


We’re using just an up-sized version of our Tassie Trumpeter rig (check it out here) basically we’ve added a third dropper (check that 3 hooks is legal in your state first!) and upped the main line and dropper leaders to 300 pound line. We’re using those same size tuna circle hooks, lumo tube and lumo squid.

For bait we’ve used offcuts of Bluefin tuna which is usually in pretty thick supply this time of year at Portland, but frozen squid is also working a treat.

Now we’ve also included a water activated LED strobe light on the top of the whole rig. We were a little sceptical to the saying ‘No light No bite’ – but last trip we did the comparison and the rig with no light got well and truly out fished!


‘no light no bite’ – apparently so!

So we’re certainly no experts in this field of big eye ooglies from the deep but it’s certainly been a lot of fun trying out a new style of fishing for us, and of course we’re happy to report back that the Blue Eye Trevalla is delicious! Hopefully this article helps you get out and have a shot and you can share your stories with us.

Ben Donegan with a pink ling from a 'blind' drop off Port Macdonell

Ben Donegan with a pink ling from a ‘blind’ drop off Port Macdonell


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