Striped marlin usually appear in Eastern Bay of Plenty waters
mid January and in Gisborne late January to early February. Depending
on weather patterns, they will stay till mid March or early April
on both sides of the cape.
Bay Of Plenty waters have long been recognised as a top striped
marlin area, in Zane Gray's time Mayor Island to the west was
the base from which these waters were fished. With the advent
of faster boats this island base has been closed in favour of
mainland ports such as Tauranga, Whakatane, Te Kaha and Waihau
It is not necessary to travel far off shore, as the warm blue
currents at times come right in to the rocks. We recently caught
a 132kg striped marlin less than 4nm off Cape Runaway and hooked
another, which we subsequently lost, within 3nm of the Waihau
Bay launching ramp. Indeed marlin have been hooked by shore based
anglers fishing from the rocks at Lotton Point and Cape Runaway.
This year some boats were reporting up to five hookup's a day,
one charter boat had eight strikes in one hour.
Blue and black marlin are also present at the peak of the season,
these are mostly big fish over 200kg which local anglers are
not equipped to handle, most fish from trailer boats of under
twenty feet without game chairs or tackle heavier than 50lb.
Still each year some big fish are landed like the NZ 80lb record
black marlin of 380.6kg caught by Warwick Tilley from a 14ft
aluminium boat within two miles of shore. The NZ all tackle record
black marlin of 444kg and the heaviest black marlin of 1991 a
fish of 373.6kg were also taken in the Bay Of Plenty.
Big blue marlin's are responsible for many spooling's and bust
offs. A recent report told of a fish which within 20sec of taking
a lure was jumping 400yds in front of the boat with the line
going straight off the stern and the other gear still to be cleared.
What can you do with a fish like that?
The NZ 50lb line record blue marlin of 364kg was landed from
Te Kaha, as was the heaviest marlin of the 1994 season, a 317.8kg
blue marlin. This year a 240kg blue marlin was landed on 50lb
line by Alain Jorion fishing solo from his 26ft boat.
In contrast it is only in the last five years that anglers on
the south side of East Cape have started to put any serious effort
in to fishing for marlin. The last two years in particular have
been a revelation with fishermen finding that they can actually
go out and catch a marlin.
I look forward to skippering for you should you wish to try your