Marlin fishing: a Riviera 3850 and a top Simrad setup

By: Jack Murphy, Photography by: Jack Murphy

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Black marlin fishing This black marlin isn’t getting away with a circle hook pinned in the corner of his mouth. Black marlin fishing
Simrad NSO16 on Riviera 3850 Tim checks our course on the Simrad NSO16. Simrad NSO16 on Riviera 3850
Marlin strike hookup Finally, a solid hookup! Marlin strike hookup
Marlin gameboats Word travels fast when there are marlin at the Port Stephens Carpark. Marlin gameboats
Marlin school on Simrad fishfinder This is what a school of marlin looks like on a sounder. Marlin school on Simrad fishfinder

Join us on a 170nm marlin fishing adventure aboard Tim Angus’ Riviera 3850, kitted out with an amazing marine electronics fitout based around a Simrad NSS12 and Simrad NSO16.

The plan was simple: go fishing out of Broken Bay, north of Sydney, with gamefishing guru Tim Angus. But here was the problem: the marlin were biting off Port Stephens.

So here was the solution: fuel up the Riviera 3850, set the alarm for 3am and saddle up for an epic 170nm one-day marlin fishing adventure.



I met up with the weary crew at Royal Motor Yacht Club, on Sydney’s Pittwater. As it ticked past 4am, we threw the ropes and quietly cruised out of the marina. Still a couple of hours until sunrise, I grabbed a necessary snooze on one of the Riv’s saloon lounges. Some marlin fishing-filled dreams later, I woke up to one of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen. It was time to throw out some lures.



Marlin fishing strike

The pushers had only been in the water for 20 minutes before a striped marlin zipped into the spread and started causing chaos. After some tense moments, the fish finally bit a lure and ripped some line off the reel before winning his freedom with a well-timed jump.

Although disappointed, we were certainly off to good start – and we weren’t even at the proper spot yet! As we continued trolling northeast to the Carpark fishing spot off Port Stephens, the marlin kept popping up. For the next fish, the crew decided to switch bait. This basically means they tease the fish with hookless lures and when a marlin appears at the back of the boat in a state of feeding fury, they replace the lures with a tasty rigged bait. This sort of fishing is quite spectacular to watch and also accounts for better hook-up ratios.

We arrived at the Carpark and as expected, it was chocker-block with bait. Tim also marked a few marlin down deep on the Simrad sounder, which sent the crew bustling to get a bait down. After a little bit of work, a black marlin finally came up to the back of the boat and gobbled a livey. This one wasn’t getting away either – it was pinned in the corner of the mouth with a circle hook.

After 17 hours and 170nm we arrived back at the marina and shut the engines down – it felt like we’d been halfway around the world and back. All up we had gone 5-5-1 on black and striped marlin – not bad.



Simrad marine electronics setup

Tim certainly knows how to set a boat up. His noble steed, the Riviera 3850 called Halekulani works well as a family weekender and hardcore gamefishing boat. He has gone all out with outriggers and livebait tank but without a doubt, one of the most important features is the electronics, primarily the sounder and marine GPS.

Tim has recently upgraded all the gear on Halekulani and now runs a Simrad NSO16 (controlled by an OP40) as well as a Simrad NSS12. Hooked up to this is a whopping B275 1kW low/high CHIRP transducer that will show a marlin sneezing in 80 fathoms. Also just as important, is the Simrad VHF that keeps him in contact with other boats and the coast guard.

Lastly, no fishing boat is complete without tunes. Tim runs Simrad SonicHub marine stereo with Bluetooth synching. Although Tim has only just installed the units in the last month, he has been really impressed by their imagery. "They’re helping me fish more confidently," he adds.



Simrad boat setup

Damn right it can – it would be like fishing blind without one. As mentioned before, Tim’s strategy involves using his Simrad sounder and marine GPS to not only find fish but the bait they’re feeding on too. Once a fish or a tightly packed ball of bait has been located, Tim will mark the spot and either tow skip baits around the location or simply drop a livebait right onto the fish’s nose.


How to rig a slimy mackerel bait

Want to know how the experts do it? During this trip we shot this handy guide on how to rig a slimy mackerel bait.


See the full version of this story in Trade-A-Boat #464, April / May 2015. Why not subscribe today?


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