There’s been some great billfish action wide of Dundee of late. The Dundee billfish grounds were first discovered in the early 1980s by members of the then fledgling Darwin Game Fishing Club. Of course, in those days, there was no Dundee Beach; that name came from the extensive subdivision and development of the old Finniss River Station. We used to refer to the billfish grounds as simply “wide of Point Blaze”. However, it wasn’t until the last decade that the area has really blossomed as a sailfish, and marlin, game fishery. Mainly the billfish have been small, with sailfish around the 10-12kg mark and the odd marlin about that size too; although there have been some very big black marlin caught there over the years. It seems that the fishery fires up after a good wet season, so it’s no surprise that this year is a beauty for billies down at Dundee. The fishing has been so good that even anglers who have never fished for sailfish before are getting into them. Simon and Shaun Bochow snuck out during good weather last Monday on what was their first attempt at fishing for billfish. “We started at Witch’s Nose trolling skipping gars and raised a pod of six sails straight away, but they went down quickly,” Simon told me. “We went wide then to where a lot of fish have been caught but it was quiet so we returned to Witch’s Nose. “Suddenly two sailfish came up on our gars and we hooked both of them. “It was mayhem and one of the teaser lines went round the prop. “I got mine in first and had to grab the leader to get it boat side to photograph and release. “Then we went after Shaun’s fish which we landed too. “It was great fun and so exciting to see them jumping all over the place,” Simon said. Stewie Martin and Dave Krantz went out on the Dundee grounds last weekend, and their goal was to catch a sail or a marlin or both fly fishing. They fished just two up which makes it very hard to fly fish for billies as you really need one person driving, one person to pull in the teaser and one person to chuck out the fly. Basically, it’s called “tease and switch” because you drag a teaser such as a small skipping queenfish or a sewn belly flap of tuna or, as the lads did it, simply a rigged garfish with a plastic squid head but no hook. When a sailfish comes up behind the teaser, you pull it in away from the fish and try to get it to follow it in, hopefully right to the back of the boat. Once you’ve achieved that, the engine is placed out of gear and the nominated angler casts out his big fly to past the sail. This is done just as the teaser is pulled out of the water and, all going well, the sail will turn away from the boat, all fired up, see the fly and rip into it. In a perfect scenario, it will take the fly while it is going away from the boat, and that makes it easy to hook it in the corner of the mouth. Stewie said: “This was only the second time in a decade that the sails stuck around so long.” “There was bait everywhere when we went out. “Early on, we raised a baby black marlin, but it didn’t hang around. “Then a sail came up and Dave hooked it. “It seemed like a solid hook-up as it tore away and jumped, carving up the water; but unfortunately the hook came out. “My shot was next and it was a perfect switch as Dave pulled in the teaser and I hooked the fish. “It screamed off taking about 120 metres of line, then tail walked like crazy,” Stewie told me. The pair landed the sail which was estimated at close to 15kg. “We raised another one which came back and ate Dave’s fly four times but dropped away,” Stewie said. It will be likely too windy this weekend for a shot at the Dundee sails, but come the next calm spell they may well be on again. PHOTOS: Stewie Martin is about to release his great catch of a sailfish on fly from wide of Dundee Beach.
Shaun Bochow with his first sailfish caught on his first attempt.
Simon Bochow caught this beautiful sailfish in a double hook-up with his brother Shaun.