Early January 2018 I had booked a trip to Narooma on south coast of NSW. Specifically heading up to do some fishing both inshore & offshore.
While the offshore reefs were very tough going the estuaries were exceptional. That being said I also offered to come out & help good customer Martin Bartlett out with his SIMRAD fish finder. Talking with Martin from the day I arrived we both picked a date & figured we would make a day of it and go tow some lures around the shelf to have a crack at a Marlin. Whilst being told from the boys at work Martin agreed that we also needed Peter Harr on board Martin’s Cruise Craft 685HT. All organised and ready to go 8th of January was the day given the small window we had in the weather. Reports of Marlin were coming in left right and centre from Eden, so I made the short trip Narooma to Merimbula to Martin’s house where he was very kind to put me up for the night. Some good sort stories & laughs were shared that night but did not last that long as our 4am Start was fast approaching. With marlin on my mind there was not much sleep to be had the night before. We left around 4:30am and headed for Eden, 25 minutes later we arrived at the ramp & not to far behind Peter also arrived. Launched the 685HT & off we went! I did everything I could to try get the sounder working but unfortunately was unsuccessful, which meant that we could only rely on the GPS side of using Navionics mapping to read the contour lines of etc. We did mange to have water temp, which we used to our advantage as best we could. We started in around the 30-40 fathom mark as the weather was not great, but was improving. So we packed up and made the trip out to the shelf. With 1 boat in the distance we decided to fish the same water as them. Once we arrived we set the spread and started trolling lures, 5 lures different colours & sizes all staggered out. We noticed a couple of birds but not fish, we soon got a radio call from another boat near buy asking us to change our direction as they had hooked up, some 20 minutes later we get our first bite and the Tiagra 50 screams off, peter hands me the rod I managed very few winds but the hooks pulled (My Fault) my instant thought from that minute was “ there goes my shot” but the attitude on board was excitement not disappointment. Peter starts driving and gets the boat to troll speed and begins the troll. He spots in the distance birds working, we head to the birds and there is a feeding frenzy!! Seals, dolphins and birds all on one big bait ball. We go right past it meters away as Martin and I look over the side it really was a site! Then we look at each other and Martin says ‘ That was Marlin” I replied with “ F**K it was too “ then seconds later bang double hook up, only to loose the 1st fish (probably a Mako) we lost the lure and everything. We managed to stay tight to what I could only hope was the holy grail..
Sure enough a couple hundred meters behind the boat there she jumps, a Stripe Marlin! I couldn’t believe my eyes! We got all rods in and started the fight, out came the gimbal & harness “we are on” after a few jumps the fish stayed mid water & 45 minutes later I was holding the bill of my 1st Marlin, in went the tag a few happy snaps some measurements & a estimated weight 110kg we swam it along the boat and let go of the beak off she swam! The feeling was so indescribable.
Once the hand shakes & hugs were done it was lure back out lets try for another. The weather became worse the swell got bigger and the slop got nastier but didn’t stop us nor did it affect the Cruise Craft 685HT I mean what a boat everything you wanted from it, the boat did it & more.
So lures back in, then the troll began, an hour or so later I got some reception so decided to make some calls to brag. My final call was to mum only 30 seconds into the call we get our 2nd bite, this fish took off like I'd hooked a submarine, Martin & Peter both quickly cleared the deck for fight number 2, the fish was still taking line, the fish took around 500 meters within seconds to the point where I could see the bottom of the spool. I was excited yet concerned about how the heck am I going to get this much line back! The chase began with this fish decide to go down deep and stay down deep. The fish was believed to be a big blue Marlin given the knowledge from Pete, and hour and a bit later we got colour & it was yet another Stripe Marlin only bigger and heavier. In went the tag, some more happy snaps & she swam off to depths.
We trolled again for a few hours with nothing but spotting 3 marlin on the surface free swimming. With the weather closing in it was time to head back. The wind picked up strong gusts rain & lightening all around the boat certainly made for a slow but accelerating trip home. We got back all good and safe.
The boat was fantastic in all aspects from performance in big seas at speed to a smooth comfy ride & very stable at rest. Given my position and role at Streaker Marine, I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to be at the helm of a lot of vessels over the years and the Cruise Craft has always been a favourite of mine. Out in the bay it's an awesome boat but in a big nasty sea out at the shelf wow this boat is unreal. I would struggle to find a boat that would be as good in all areas of expected performance. I know with all boats there is compromise somewhere, the beam, dead rise, V etc, they all play a massive part in the handling of a boat & that is where I think Cruise Craft has done exceptional at getting the almost perfect compromise throughout their range of boats. Mix that with a Yamaha four stroke and an Easytow Trailer plus your choice of options & accessories. Well that in my opinion is the perfect package.