Blue marlin recapture record

IN late October 2019 a number of Victorian-based boats and crews headed up the east coast on a billfish fishing mission off Fraser Island. The plan was to adapt their trip based around weather conditions, targeting either blue marlin offshore or juvenile blacks on the inshore grounds. Luckily for them, the weather throughout the trip cooperated and the boats spent a number of days trolling the expansive Fraser Island canyons in search of blues.

On 4 November 2019 Pat Joyce, Tim Matejka and Clay Buckland on board Compulsive headed out towards the renowned Waddy Point canyons. Their goal was to get Clay his first marlin. After a few missed opportunities, the crew finally came up tight to a solid blue marlin just after lunch. The fish had no hesitation engulfing one of the lures in the spread. With Clay hooked up to his first blue, the spread was cleared. A solid 35 minute fight ensued before the marlin was boat side. Skipper Pat Joyce estimated the fish at 260cm in length (lower jaw fork length) and 160kg.

Clay Buckland’s first blue marlin which was recaptured only three days later.

Only three days later, on 7 November 2019, the fish was recaptured by fellow Victorian boat Sea Baby IV which was fishing the same area where the fish was originally caught. Angler Joe Stella made quick work of the fish on 60kg. Crewman Darren Buttigieg noticed the tag on the fish and reported the recapture to the DPI Fame Fish Tagging Program. The fish was again estimated at 160kg and was caught within one nautical mile of its original release location.

This recapture is the shortest time at liberty ever reported for a recaptured blue marlin (three days) under the DPI Game Fish Tagging Program. Quick recaptures like these highlight a fish’s ability to swiftly recover from being tagged and released and returning to feeding in the same area.

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