Hook busting marlin!

LAST season NSW South Coast angler and photographer Ian Osterloh endured the sight of a lit-up black marlin circling under and around his livebait in the clear waters of Jervis Bay. That fish inexplicably failed to eat the bait, leaving Ian frustrated but more determined than ever to catch a beakie in the bay.

The past week has seen numerous marlin entering JB to feed on schools of slimy mackerel. The LBG brigade fishing the famed Tubes, under the lighthouse at the northern headland, have reportedly hooked about 40 marlin with anglers aboard small boats also catching plenty of fish.

After hearing the reports, Ian headed out in his 4.2m tinny for another try at hooking an inshore marlin. After his experience last season – when a fish eyed his bait but wouldn’t commit – Ian downsized his trace to 100lb fluorocarbon and tied on a 9/0 Eagle Claw circle hook.

After catching baits and setting a drift in a productive zone away from the LBG crew on the rocks, Ian settled down to wait for a run. It didn’t take long. An energetic black around 50 kilos snaffled the bridle-rigged slimy and came up tight.

Ian reports the mouth-hooked fish put up a spectacular aerial display for about 10 minutes before the line inexplicably went slack.

Close inspection revealed the hook point had snapped clean off. Bummer! Ian reckons the point of the circle hook had embedded in bone instead of sliding around the corner of the fish’s mouth and locking tight. As circles aren’t designed to penetrate and hold the same as a J hook, it eventually broke.

Ian was understandably devastated by the loss but was stoked to hook and fight a marlin inside the bay. And as it looks like the fish will be on in JB for a while longer, he may well get another chance to do battle with these amazing gamefish …

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A video still showing Ian hooked up to a marlin inside Jervis Bay.

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