Exmouth Billfish Tactics

Hi All
Just returned from annual Exmouth trip where we spend a lot of time trolling 8 inch skirts for billfish primarily. Most years we generally raise on average 8 billfish over 7 days of trolling hooking maybe 5 and landing 1 or 2 for the trip. We have tinkered with thin guage hooks etc without much change. Do any boats use a different method like switch baiting or trolling baits with a better success rate? If so whats the preferred method and how do the pros get better hook-up rates?
Thanks in advance


Posts: 4464

Date Joined: 01/02/10

 Hard to switch unless you

Tue, 2021-06-15 19:32

 Hard to switch unless you have a attentive and dead keen crew. Swim baits work well but sometimes you need to cover water to find where the fish are hanging. 
I take it this time of year you are chasing little blacks? I usually run 6-8 inch lures. Sl12's single rigged with hook as far back as legal. 15kg outfit. Riggers with tag lines. 

Sometimes they just aren't feeding properly too. If I found they are swatting the lures and not committing I'll switch to trolled swim baits. 

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Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Posts: 11

Date Joined: 03/01/14

Yes chasing little blacks and

Wed, 2021-06-16 07:53

Yes chasing little blacks and the odd sail. How many fish are you raising? We are maybe seeing 1 or 2 a day trolling for maybe 5 hours

Posts: 4464

Date Joined: 01/02/10

 That's probably about

Wed, 2021-06-16 08:35

 That's probably about average. Had some great days seeing up up to around 10 or so but depends on lots of factors. 

 

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Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Posts: 11

Date Joined: 03/01/14

Are there certain areas you

Fri, 2021-06-18 10:32

Are there certain areas you concentrate your trolling in? In my experience we seem to get the billfish where there seems to be no bird or tuna activity. seem to do best around the 100m mark. Rarely do we raise fish near the birds and tuna, do you find this also?

Posts: 4464

Date Joined: 01/02/10

 60-150m is the ground I'll

Sat, 2021-06-19 07:21

 60-150m is the ground I'll usually cover. First drop straight in front of Tantas has performed reliable for years but back of helby has done well on occasion too. 
looking more for bait and life in the area. Not fixated on lapping tuna schools or chasing birds but there aren't a bad sign that an area has something going on. 

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Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Posts: 544

Date Joined: 23/04/14

80-200m is a good area to concentrate on

Sun, 2021-06-20 08:28

I'd start in that range.

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Chinbald's picture

Posts: 308

Date Joined: 21/02/09

Only had two cracks at Exmouth Marlin

Fri, 2021-06-18 21:27

Last two Gamex tournaments in 20/21 as with your comments we did not hook any fish on birds or surface fish, also running a Furuno 587/Tm260 on a Reefrunner couldnt get good sounding to pick up bait at trolling speed of 8 to 10 knots, we had most action in 150- 300m, best day we hooked 8 marlin for 3 tagged on a day that most boats were quiet. That day we trolled all day over one patch in 250m We barely spotted a single fish in the spread for the 19 we hooked so pitching a bait was not an option. We lost 8 big fish this year all in the early stages of the initial strike and blistering first run and jumps so will be better equipped for the next crack. Tagged 3 in 2020 and 6 in 2021, 

Posts: 544

Date Joined: 23/04/14

A few things to consider

Sun, 2021-06-20 08:27

Unless there was something unusual going on with weather and sea conditions I'd say that if you only raised 8 fish in 7 days you aren't fishing the right areas.   Have a close look at the structures around and where the fish are likely to be.   Be prepared to move around.

Are you running a dredge?  All the professional boats and successful private boats do; it will almost certainly increase the number of fish raised.

Generally lures will give a lower hookup and capture rate than baits.  Baits with circles will generally perform better than J hooks.  What's worse is that these juvenile fish can be messy and finicky on the bite.  The top crews will either switch bait or pull baits.

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Lastchance's picture

Posts: 1263

Date Joined: 02/02/09

Resurgence is spot on!

Thu, 2021-06-24 18:16

Resurgence is spot on! Hookless lures and baits ready to go

PilbaraTremor's picture

Posts: 32

Date Joined: 05/01/21

Exmouth May

Sun, 2021-06-20 15:10

 Was down there in May, struggled to raise any Marlin in close. Did raise 3 and hooked one out wide while trolling between Ruby ground 300m+. Found the Marlin to be a bit quieter this year compared to last year.

Heading back to Warra in a week hopefully troll a few up!

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