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Boofhead & Mcgoose Loose At Port Stephens


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The following report is submitted late due to this particular Raider being so overwhelmed by the experience of such an awesome experience that I could not get myself off the couch to type.(Actually it’s because McGoose & Brett snored so bloody loud I have had bugger all sleep & am still suffering from industrial deafness which affects my balance, coordination & sex life!!!)

What can you say about a trip that was in my mind going to be something that can only be described as a trip of a lifetime. I spent several months after booking this trip in nervous expectation, hoping it would be as good as all the hype, as scary as my dreams & as special as you can possibly hope for. McGoose & I (My brother in-law) had been sending each other the worst possible u-tube videos, trying to put the wind up each other. You know the ones, where some old fella who’s been marlin fishing all his life gets yanked over the transom on a locked up drag by a big blue, or the woman who gets speared in the breast implant by an angry marlin & almost dies from the ensuing infection etc etc. To say it was something we had been counting down the days on would be an understatement.

Well Raiders, Glenn & Ross Hunter did NOT disappoint!

As someone who has only ever dreamt of fishing in the big blue yonder, fished only small bodies of water & never caught anything over 5Kg I am proud to say I’ve done it. I have seen what it is that attracts thousands of people all over the world & creates such a fantastic & very special memory. I can tell all of those that have yet to experience this amazing sport exactly what it is that you will remember. The fish, the water, the atmosphere on the seas, the weather, the boats and the very cool heavy tackle are all things I will hold in my boof head for a very long time. But none of it would have stuck to me like the southern cross sticks to our Aussie hearts without the companions you can’t buy & certainly can’t find without a very large amount of luck. So …. (Brace yourselves any macho fellas out there, here comes the warm fuzzy stuff) I want to thank the following people for making this an event I will never forget.

McGoose (aka Gordon, my brother-in-law) for being a great mate & tearing himself away from his pregnant wife for a week of manly pursuits.

Brett (aka “Bundy anyone?”) for being the pinnacle of fishing companions to two complete novices & sharing advice, stories, photos, booze, doughnuts & a lot of very funny moments. But most importantly being a gracious experienced angler who gave nominated strike rotation to get virgins into these amazing animals with a smile & seemed to truly delight in being on the other side of the action. Mate you are a legend.

Dixie (aka Chris / Brownie points to the missus so I missed the best day) for providing us with a lot of funny stories about you before you arrived via your good mate Brett & turning up a day late & forcing me to take the forth fish on the first day which would have been yours had you not arrived late.

Gazza (aka Chicken legs) for all the hard work, funny moments and teaching all of us the transom leader waltz with a reverse overhead leg snap twist!) I still dunno what my best memory of you is Gazz, the waltz or the fact you got us soaked for a photo with the flags on the first day with a look of glee in your eye.

John (aka Johnny Bloodshot) for filling in for Gazza on the third day & being very efficient, professional & open with your advice. You can’t dance like Gazza mate but that new reel will last forever if it gets looked after like everything else you touch.

The other Raiders on Broady who gave us many an opportunity to take photos of you looking very consumed in your activities & a few shots that I think I’ll keep to myself until the time comes I need a favour. (Just kidding, thanks Grant, Stewie & Donna & Mr & Mrs Boban for the camaraderie)

# Special note# Thanks Boban for the safe storage of my boat during our charter, its very nice to know that people are still willing to help out someone they don’t know purely because they share an interest.

Captain Ross Hunter – Broadbill. You run an operation that on the outside is very relaxed, full of advice, assistance & great fun. On the inside, looking out from the transom holding a fist full of fish that wants nothing more than to snap your spine, spear your heart & take photos for his mates to laugh at, you guys are simply awesome. Hats off to you Rosco, it was a pleasure to meet such a gentlemen of the seas. “Legend in your own lifetime” suits you to a tee! One thing though Ross, my name is Boofhead or Mik, not Boofy, its just too close to Poofy & I worked very hard on beefing up my image for the cameras, used no hair gel at all during the entire three days & certainly never once looked for a mirror to check my makeup! If you heard anyone squealing like a girl I’m almost positive it was McGoose when he discovered there was no dunny paper left & he had to pump twice for each “SNAP” at the head.

Finally, Captain Glenn – Our illustrious leader and finder of fish. You my friend made all that work look very easy & I cannot thank you enough for making little girls look like big men when it came to pulling in a fish. Yeah Yeah; you hear how blokes pull fish in fast & “Break their backs in record time”, show the fish who’s boss, put big fish heads in their lounge rooms & brag about how it was tough but “I got him to the boat eventually” But without a skipper who knows what he’s doing, can run a fish down better than a politician runs up a lunch tab & provide corker, dry, one liners quicker than a seagull to a chip those guys are nothing but rod holders. I had an absolute ball aboard Billfisher & look forward to my next adventure with a sixpack of abs from all the laughing we did. Thanks Glenn.

Ok, so that’s the fluffy stuff outta the way, heres the fishing report.

Day one


After Brett kindly nominated strike roster as per fish instead of by time I found myself strapped into a gimble belt & harness looking out over the transom with more than a little fear & anticipation building with each glimpse toward the spread. The weather had turned in our favour and when we arrived there were boats everywhere & I put a mental note in my head to never do anything stupid in my own boat whilst in the company of experience fishermen who relish the opportunity to take the mickey out of any poor fool silly enough to enter the frey unprepared. After I realised that was actually me I was thinking about it was too late to make amends, the bait was hit & the swirl of fins at the back mixed with the unmistakable sound of line peeling off was enough to wake me from my stupor & get me & my trembling legs to Gazza as he handed me the rod.

I heard him will the fish on “C’mon baby load up, load up” as he feed the bait & then pulled on the weight. With the reel still making that beautiful & somehow frightening sound he handed it to me with a weird look in his eye & said “Your On!”


It wasn’t a drawn out battle, its certainly wasn’t pretty but it was a feeling you can only ever experience first hand. A fish, as big as you, fighting for its life on the end of a seemingly flimsy piece of tackle & gear. It was all there, right at the end of the rod in my hands, that amazing struggle. A leap & show, a few gasps from the crew as the fish took line & headed for a place only marlin know. Somewhere between the sky & the sea it fought to gain its freedom & I held on, only the shudder of the rod in my hand brought any sense of reality to me, otherwise it was all too surreal & seemed to be another of the countless marlin videos I’ve watched & wished it was me. This time it was me & eventually I became aware of my own body. The spectacle of the very high jumps (My little black showed us some great aerials) started to fade in comparison to the ache in my arms, back & legs. Ohhhhh yeah I was on alright.


After some expert driving by Skipper Glenn the fish came in close enough for me to actually see how beautiful it really was & for a moment I am sure I was completely oblivious to all of my surrounds. I’m sure I wound like a man possessed, I’m positive I worked the fish good, but suddenly here he was & I was lost to everything but a magnificent animal brought to me by skill, luck & a whole lot of shouting. A quick wrap on the leader, the sound of it parting & the sight of my first marlin, all 100 – 110 kgs of black slowly swimming off into the cobalt blue water is embedded into my thick country skull until the day I die.

I had time to gather my thoughts & sink a beer that was probably very nice. My whole body was cursing me for subjecting it to such a battle without at least a small amount of elite military training & several kilos of pain killing drugs but my brain was so full of amazement that it was just laughing at any suggestion by my aching extremities & back that I should consider 2 – 3 years of yoga & some serious dietary changes before I consider doing that again. (Little did I know I would do it all over again for three times longer later that day!)

McGoose was up next & after watching me very inadequately dance around the deck trying to look like I had half a clue what to do I think he realised what might be in store for him. He became very quiet (Something most unusual as those who met him last week will confirm) and his eyebrows merged into one solid line of pure concentration, his mouth was held in a fixed white grimace & his neck displayed veins that looked like they could pump pure adrenaline at 10,000 gallons per minute. All this just getting the next round of drinks, but I guess after all he is Scottish. And so he strapped on the harness & gimble and sat looking intently at the inside of his eyelids for what must have seemed like eternity but was actually not too long really.


We watched as other boats around us hooked up & were constantly asking each other “Are they backing up?” when we saw a boat that wasn’t going forward.

Finally McGoose was on & Gazza passed the rod to him & the fight was on. I have to say at this point that Gordy fought that fish in probably just as ackward a fashion as I fought mine, with uncertainty, trepidation and more than a little fear. But he won the prize and got the fish in & the leader was nicely severed before it swam away majestically. But for every member of the crew on Billfisher the killer was watching a true showman display the kind of angling skill that one very rarely gets to witness as well as some mighty fine directional tips from the skipper to the angler. If you’ve ever seen a man ride a horse side saddle, whilst holding a grimace that would scare the tint right out of Barbies hair then you have some idea of the pure gold that we saw in that half hour struggle between man and beast.


Being vertically challenged (Not so much that you’d call him a wee Scotsman, but enough to see him unable to pee over the transom) Gordy couldn’t use the transom as I had to steady himself & so was forced to defend himself against a fish that had all the advantage & none of the rolling torrent of taunts that Billfishers crew were throwing at him as he tried to ride her home standing sideways & leaning very ackwardly each time his assailant decided to dish out some punishment. The swell didn’t help and by the time the fish was to the boat Billfishers decks were awash with writhing bodies in fits of hysterics.


But fair play to ya mate, you got him in & no bugger can take that one away from ya. Well done.






All went quiet for some time after that & Glenn decided to throw a few livies down to see what he could excite. It was interesting to experience the difference in watching a bait skip out behine a boat & then to watch a line go into the depths while you visualise what might be going on down there. Livies take short runs that you hope are the result of a sudden realisation that they are about to become engulfed by some killing machine predator. Then things go quiet & you think he may have died of a heart attack from that very thought. But eventually our livies did exactly what they were supposed to do, died in honour and martyred themselves to our cause.


Brett was on strike now & both Gordy & I were hoping it would be a good show for him as his line began to peel. There was a point where all of us on deck were at a crossroads for a few seconds as to what to do with the other livie as Brett began to get stuck into a great fight. Glenn gave the order to leave it for a minute & sure enough “Bang” it goes off too & we’re faced with a double hook-up.


Given that the only two experienced guys on deck were already engaged with the first fish you can imagine the utter bewilderment McGoose & I felt as we both glanced at the second line & preyed someone would tell us what to do. Thankfully our illustrious leader again gave a gentle order from the tuna tower. As we both tried to decipher this gentle order & decided it was in fact related to fishing & not the Karma Sutra Gazza came to the rescue & picked up the rod. Someone shouted “Who’s on strike here?” and my arms & back begged me not to admit it was me after my first encounter a mere few hours before. In the confusion & panic I tried to rig the second gimble belt onto our deckie Gazza. He yelled at me “F….off they don’t pay me enough for this & thrust the tiny piece of plastic cod plate back at me. “Oh shit!”

I put the thing on & thought it actually felt a little more comfortable than the other “Preferred” belt. I realised my folly about an hour and fifteen minutes later when my groin was beginning to feel like I had attempted to mount an echidna whilst telling it I had a better ride a luna park. Not pretty at all (My wife has second thoughts now about expanding the heritage line & is considering a surrogate father for the next one)

Thankfully old mate Brett & skipper Glenn knew what they were doing & somehow we managed to keep both fish (Now heading in completely opposite directions) on. Brett fought on whilst McGoose had his own private battle with two cameras around his neck, arms & legs flailing across the deck trying to decide which camera to use & which fish to photograph. Gazza did a brilliant job assisting Brett & in short order the first fish was brought to the boat & released all within about 20 minutes.



Meanwhile I had let my fish run a little (Ok, about 500 metres of heart sinking line) and when the focus came back to him he was well and truly of the opinion that I had no clue what I was doing & he could do a lot worse than show me just how much line & TLD 50 can hold.

In all seriousness & complete acknowledgement of my total inexperience I feel confident in saying that under a lesser skilled skipper the second fish would have been nothing short of a lost cause, especially given that Glenn had to manoeuvre the boat on two fish swimming for the most part in opposite directions. The only time I saw Brett’s fish & mine going roughly in the same direction is when I looked over my shoulder to see Brett’s fish jump at the back of the boat. Check the pic of that & you can see me getting line peeled at a rapid rate, great fun!

After my first fish I had begun to think hard about my technique & in particular how I should be using the harness & gimble to my advantage. So I was full of confidence that my second fish would be a little easier on my body, right up until I got the short straw on gimble choice & Brett was using the harness. When Brett had his fish released the harness was given to me & I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I would do better now. Then the fecker broke at the clip & I was forced to fight a very stubborn striped marlin with a groin tenderiser for a gimble, a harness missing one strap & an earful of advice that would have been better served to a well worn escort down at the Melbourne docks a ½ hour after knockoff. Needless to say I do not believe the estimates of an hour to an hour and 15 minutes as I strongly feel my second marlin ever was an epic battle fought over at least 12 hours. But in all honesty I loved ever single muscle tearing, back breaking heart thumping second of it & would probably sell my collection of Lionel Ritchie albums to do it all again.

That fish was our forth for the first day & we headed for port when it was released. I remember thinking how lucky we were to have experienced all of the above and after one or two ales I slept like a baby.


Day two was much quieter and the weather was a little less encouraging. Our new crew mate Chris (Dixie) had finally arrived a day late & he was first on strike. The fish must have smelt the bait from 10 miles away & we were all excited that we had pulled another within minutes of arriving. The day started great & things looked good for another cracker of a day. After about ½ hour Dixie got his second ever Marlin & McGoose came back on strike. Unfortunately that was the last fish we hooked with a few smashing baits but no hook-ups. McGoose spent the entire day strapped into the harness & gimble to our amusement he even slept in it. We all took great pleasure in watching him sit bolt upright each time the drag started to sing and fall immediately unconscious on realising the fish had jumped off.

All in all an amazing adventure with the third day seeing us catch my first (Albeit very small) Dollie & also see Brett haul in a stripped tuna (Again small but fun to watch)

I think this first marlin & the experiences above pretty much sums up how it was for me. One hell of an experience & something I will never ever forget. I shall take that memory to my grave & replay it one million times. It was the best fishing experience of my life. The sea, the fish, the boats & the company.

To anyone who has wondered about Marlin fishing & thought “Maybe one day” I implore you to book a charter and get into it. You won’t regret one minute.

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A few more pics that didn't fit in the first post.

Dixie on a striped.


Bad choice of Gimble....


Ah, that's better. The harness lasted about 1/2 hour before it broke at the clip.


Double Trouble - Me hooked onto a stubborn Stripe out the side whilst watching Bretts Stripe jump out the back. Great fun!


The final call. This was the last of about 4 times this fish got to the boat. We saw the double too many times to remember before it disapeared again into the depths!


The weather was moody at times.


The south head of Port Stephens. They call this Mrs Murphy's Crack.....I have no idea why :074:


Edited by Boofhead
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Congratulations Mik,Gordon,Brett and Chris :yahoo: you are Marlin virgins no more :biggrin2:

It was great to finally meet you all and have a few drinks and reflect on what was an awesome few days together with Billfisher and Broadbill side by side doing battle with these legendary fish.

I hope we can all do it again and get some unreal memories for our grand kids to hear.

Cheers Stewy

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Wow Boof, That report had me on the boat with you !

Actually, I feel better off not being with you as I felt as though I was there for all the action, without suffering industrial deafness!

Top report mate!



Edited by stumpy
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Thanks Boofhead for a great read. Your report had it all and fantastic photos too. As Stumpy says, it was like we were there with you, experiencing it all.

I doubt whether I'll ever get to chance to actually try it, however your report was the next best thing.

Congratulations and thanks



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I'm certainly no expert but I can tell you what the boat gear was.

Shimano TLD50 reels on Shimano Backbone elite 25Kg rods. 1000 yards of 50Lb mono tied with a double to a 150Lb trace leader.

I just bought a Shimano Tyrnos 30 reel on the same rod with 80Lb braid. I think I'm gonna re-spool it though with 50lb as I could only get about 600 yards of 80Lb on. Hope to get maybe 750-800 yards on for the 50Lb then I may have half a chance to bring a small marlin in without getting spooled. I don't think big marlin are very common at Port Stephens (Someone correct me if I'm wrong, its just what I gathered from listening to the charter operators talking) So I hope the little Tyrnos 30 might be up to the task of pulling in a small marlin one day. I didn't take my own gear on the charter but I'm sure you can if you want.

There was also a few mixed rods & reels setup for bait fishing & various smaller fish like dollies & small tuna etc. But the main rods were the two mentioned above.

If you're looking for setup info do a search here & see what you get. There are many very experienced gamefishers on this site (Those that fish from trailer boats I take my hat off to ya's that looks like truly hard yakka)

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Well done on the fish - magnificent aren't they. Did Dixie do the fishy dance?? It is a must see. Just a word of warning when the rum comes out, especially with Brett, I suggest you run for the hills. Just ask Glen. I hear the pub was very ugly on the wednesday night!! (I fish Vanuatu with this pair in January.)

No doubt you'll be back soon.



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Im not too sure about the snooring!! It never bothered me. :biggrin2:

And as for rabs(brother) calling me a rum pig...............

But seriously, it was an awesome trip. And your dead right. Its the crew your with that makes it. So Thanks.

Next time though you'll have to toughen up and fish. An hour and fifteen on a baby garfish was outrageous.

It was unreal to see you and Mcgoose(aka Billy Connelly) getting your first beakie. And watching one of the locals trying to switch bait in the pub after topped it off. :074:

Congrats and will catch you on the weekend for some kingies.


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I like it "Boofy" :biggrin2:

So do I need to ask if it was worth the money?

Mrs Boban is already busting my balls to re-book for next year. I'm not resisting.

Great report and some fantastic photos.

Thanks mate. Seeing as my Darling wife & mother paid for the trip for my 40th b'day I'd say it was worth every cent! :1prop:

As far as resisting Mrs Boban's re-booking efforts I'd say resist with a rubber arm.

An hour and fifteen on a baby garfish was outrageous.

And watching one of the locals trying to switch bait in the pub after topped it off. :074:


I'll have you know mate garfish fight very well on a rum berley! :biggrin2:

Port Stephens switch baiting certainly wasn't anything like I'd been reading about. But it was very funny. :074:

See ya Sunday!

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:1prop: well Boof you haven't disappointed my expectations

as usual your report has had us on board with you

Sorry to hear that the McGoose came up short :1prop:

There could be only one ........... with a cowboy hat on game

fishing boat :074:

Jeez Stumpy you let him off pretty light, must be the feminine

side coming through from being surrounded by Stumpettes :biggrin2:


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Someone mentioned we might get stuck into some "Bull" dollies. No Idea what dollies are but when it comes to bulls I always wear my hat. I guess it was just as well I decided not to go with the spurs & chaps then eh? :1prop:

I must admit, I was alittle taken aback by the Stumpsters reply too mate. I have to say he seems to have mellowed since his daughter outfished him on the kingies. :074:

Can't wait to meet everyone this Sunday. :yahoo: I'll be the one in the Akubra :biggrin2:

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Boofhead and the Raiders,

Thanks mate a great report and lots of well recieved compliments.

You see a part of the joy of this business we are in is meeting salt of the earth people like you and McGoose and the rest of the Raiders.

It was a joy for Glenn and myself to enjoy your company for a few days.

Thanks for that great "Fishing Report of the year" and we will look forward to '09 when we may do it again.

Ross and Glenn Hunter

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You guys have now experienced what real fishing with the Hunters is like.I had an experience with Ross last year when we GRAND SLAMMED and caught 16 marlin over 2 days.We fished a few days before you this year,but the weather was against us and the fish were scarce.It is truly a great experience fishing with Ross and Glenn and I have been doing that for some years now.I would suggest to any one who wants to go game fishing the Hunters are the team to do it with. If there are fish there they will find them if they are not well it is called fishing not catching ,so you can,t get them everytime you go after them.

Me and the Maroubra boys have a day up our sleeve due to the bad weather and when we get back out there we will send in the photos, hopefully lots of them.


Edited by gogazfishing
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