Recently, a number of Victorian-based boats and crews headed up the east coast on a billfish fishing mission off Fraser Island. Their 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 co-operated and the boats spent a number of days trolling the expansive Fraser Island canyons. The crew on Compulsive of Pat Joyce, Tim Matejka and Clay Buckland headed out towards the renowned Waddy Point canyons and their goal was to get Clay his first marlin.
After a few missed opportunities, they finally came up tight to a solid blue marlin when the billy had no hesitation engulfing a lure in the spread and Clay endured a solid 35-minute fight before the marlin was boat side where Skipper Pat estimated the fish at 260cm in length and 160kg.
Only three days later, the same blue marlin was recaptured by fellow Victorian boat Sea Baby IV which was fishing the same area where the fish was originally caught where Joe Stella made quick work of the fish on 60kg tackle. Crewman Darren Buttigieg noticed the tag on the fish and reported the recapture to DPI tagging base. It was again estimated at 160kg and was caught within one nautical mile of its original release location just three days earlier.
This recapture is the shortest time at liberty ever reported for a recaptured blue marlin under the DPI 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 as released.