AT A TIME of year when the game fishing should be pretty consistent, not to mention fast-paced, someone keeps flicking the on/off switch.
That switch seems to be connected to the weather, the bait, and the water colour.
Last weekend was a classic example - great fishing conditions on Friday, atrocious conditions on Saturday, then spectacular again on Sunday. Friday was one of those great days where the sun was shining, the winds light, and fish were happy to oblige.
Foreign Exchange had a good half day, boating a nice wahoo that filled the icebox with steaks and gave the crew a bit of a warm-up, followed by a couple of great marlin tussles - one with a juvenile black marlin, and the other a smallish striped marlin.
The little blacks are still all over the place at the moment, and not hard to get up into the lure pattern if they're in the mood - however, that's proving to be a big "if" from one day to the next.
But it was unusual to see the smallish 40kg striped marlin turn up among the blacks around the 20-fathom depth contour south of the lighthouse.
The striped marlin was pretty feisty, taking over an hour to get to the boat on 10kg light tackle, and came as a bit of a surprise to the crew, who were convinced that in 25 degree water it pretty much had to be a larger juvenile black marlin.
Saturday was foul, with a hot, screeching northerly breeze that turned the fish off the bite and kept most boats tied up in harbour.
The pick of days for the week was Sunday, but judging by the lack of reports, almost no boats bothered to go out.
Then early this week, some dirty green water moved down the coast and the fish went right off the bite.
The bad water went all the way out to 500 fathoms, and it only started to clear up beyond about 18 miles off the coast, where scads of flying fish were moving down with the current that was flowing at up to four knots out wide.
Meanwhile, closer to the coast, the black marlin had just turned off and gone quiet by Wednesday, and that awful green water was everywhere.
The water colour didn't bother the slimy mackerel though, as there were acres and acres of baitfish along the 20 fathom line between South Solitary and Sawtell.
Black N Blue was out there mid-week driving right over black marlin that took a cursory look at the lures being dragged past, but couldn't even be bothered taking one swipe at them.
Maybe that's the problem at the moment - there's so much to eat that the marlin are full of food by mid-morning, and just want to cruise around on the surface sunning themselves.
Feast or famine I guess, but that's game fishing.
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