SAIL YAK TAKES ROB ON FISHING AUSTRALIA’S BIGGEST ADVENTURE YET
Incredible adventure, new found mateship, adrenaline, drama, pain, heartbreak, euphoria and more all rolled into one mind blowing week...and the mission is a long way from being over yet.
As part of the most incredible hard core ‘product test’ I’ve been involved in yet a team of 10 mad keen anglers including myself are currently out capturing a Fishing Australia story on targeting marlin in a sail yaks...
Sailing and big fish isn’t new...how do you think people used to move to game fishing grounds before engines were invented?
But Steve Fields, the CEO of Hobie Cat Australasia and the man behind Australia’s kayak boom, has something new: a modern day high tech sailing kayak purpose built for two anglers.
Being the country’s foremost expert on both small sail boats and fishing kayaks...and an accomplished/mad keen angler to boot , he’s worked in with the vast resources of Hobie headquarters in the USA to bring down under a ripper craft that already can’t keep up with demand.
The product ...the “Hobie Mirage Tandem Island”... is essentially a kayak that can sail along at well over 10 knots , is as stable as they come, and in the process opens up a whole new world of fishing to keen kayak fishos.
Fast forward and two hours into the biggest fight of my life and I am wondering if I am ready for this new world ...it’s almost too good to be true!
On 37kg tackle I have been labouring heavily with a rampaging black marlin on the other end of my line...the camera boat has called it for 80 kilos... I would argue it is much much more, or maybe this fish has been drinking red bull because I have knocked over dozens of 100 kg plus south coast marlin on line class half the size in well under an hour.
It’s size will no doubt be debated for some time yet, but strength wise this fish is in a class of its own...it and it’s not because I can’t put pressure on her from the small craft...most of the two hours I’ve been locking up the reel on some 20 kilos of sunset drag with extra thumb pressure when required. We have been able to lead the marlin and plane it to the surface 10 times already, but she just won’t give up.
Fans of Fishing Australia will know that some 6 years ago I solo hooked a big marlin that broke my reel, and nearly my sprits in the process. I went on to tag one around 70 kg, but it was the one that got away, the one we didn’t get a look at that has teased and haunted me Iike an unknown beast from the deep. A partner in adventure might help me tame such a beast.
Enter the man in the front seat- Paul O’Leary...a legend in Yak Circles... the giant fish changes direction...jumps past us and smokes off 200 yards of line like it’s only just been hooked, so with the sail furled up for safety Paul cranks the mirage drive and gives chase. The mirage drive is much faster than a paddle but still no match for the speed of a rampaging marlin. Paul too is working hard... very hard...
The rugged shoreline of Jervis Bay momentarily disappears behind a swell as I take a glance up from the job at hand. I was once a land based game angler haunting this famous shore line for fishing thrills...but now the yaks do it for me. Add in a purpose built sail and it’s a whole new ball game yet again, and when the wind dies off you have the mirage drive to get out or get back home-that’s handy, very handy!
Back to the fight and around the three hour mark the marlin is finally tagged and the support team lets out a cheer well above the sound of camera boats, wind and rain.
This is just one of three sail yak marlin encounters so far this week... we are out at it again today, this time inside the shelter of Jervis Bay... Marlin have been caught from the rocks already this season, but we want to avoid the spots that may be crowded or closed and continue enjoying something very new.
Despite a few bruises and some stiff muscles we can’t wipe the smirks off our faces every time we hit the water.
Rob at the back locked up on 37 kg pretest while Paulo peddles hard trying to lead the marlin for the umpteenth time!