Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

East Australian Current the Culprit

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

East Australian Current the Culprit

Article excerpt

Byline: Rick O'Ferrall

WITH the most perfect Easter weather I've ever seen in Coffs Harbour treating us to fabulous conditions out on the continental shelf every day, the count of marlin and other gamefish raised and tagged out there should be climbing exponentially. But it's not.

A couple of boats have been lucky enough to drive over the occasional marlin, but with many more boats returning empty-handed without having seen a single game fish day after day, it's been a pretty disappointing week.

Yet just up on the Gold Coast, the marlin fishing is going nuts. Boats are tagging up to six marlin a day there every day they go out for a fish - trailer boats, 50-footers, it doesn't matter... all you've got to do is get out there and drop a lure or two in the water. There are huge schools of pilchards, squid, and slimy mackerel for the marlin to eat in the waters off the Gold Coast, and so the game fish are feeding up big time, and it seems they're everywhere you go.

In fact, it's one of those memorable game fishing bonanzas where you could probably throw a banana skin with a hook attached off the back of a boat anywhere north of the border and come up with a marlin every time.

So why is it so different between the Gold Coast and the Coffs Coast right now? It pretty much boils down to the vagaries of the East Australian Current, which is the engine that drives most of our game fishing on this stretch of coast.

The EAC is the reason we have such a normally reliable big game fishery here in the first place, as it brings most of the marlin down from the sub-tropical waters of the southern Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea, and even the central Pacific Ocean.

The marlin in particular ride this warm current down the coast of NSW following the schools of bait that they feed on during the warmer months, so if the current deviates from its normal path or even stops due to some quirk of the myriad ocean dynamics that sustain it, the marlin deviate or simply disappear with it. …

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