Marlin off the rocks an irresistible lure
The odd marlin has been caught from the shore elsewhere in Australia and the world but when the "beakies" are on at Point Perpendicular - the northern entrance to Jervis Bay - there is nowhere else like it.
Last weekend, nine marlin were landed off the rocks and 11 others were hooked and released.
At least three marlin bigger than 100 kilograms have been hauled onto the rocks in recent seasons. Most, however, weigh in around 30 kilograms.
Marlin are being caught not only inside the bay but under the cliffs that front the ocean on precipitous perches with names such as Eve's Ravine. These ledges add to the challenge of the sport and are often the scene of accidents, even deaths.
Until the past few seasons the fact that a place existed where a shore-based angler could haul in a marlin was one of fishing's better-kept secrets. But, to the distress of locals, the news is out, and rock rage, caused by overcrowding and littering, is in.
The situation at Jervis Bay is now becoming so serious that rangers are seeking help from local fishermen to work out ways of stopping rubbish from getting out of control.
No-one knows for sure why the marlin swarm off the waters of Jervis Bay at the tail end of summer. But it is thought the main reason is the fact Point Perpendicular pokes into the warm East Australian current, which brings the big fish down from the tropics.
"Here is the mecca for land-based marlin fishing," said local resident and "addicted" game fisherman Mr. Peter McIntyre.
Catching marlin at the point is not a matter of simply dropping a line into the sea.
Fishermen often begin their pursuit at midnight when they catch slimies - slimy mackerel - small tuna and salmon, which are used as bait. These are kept alive until dawn in swimming pools lugged down to the rock platforms. Fuel-driven water pumps and hoses keep the water in the pools fresh enough for the bait to be kept alive.
When day breaks the bait is hooked under a balloon. which is then cast out to sea. After that it is a matter of waiting until a marlin strikes, which can happen any time between straight away and never.
Mr. Dale Smith, a Wollongong butcher, has fished Point Perpendicular for the past four years and has never had so much as a nibble from a marlin
"If we could afford a boat, you can bet your life we wouldn't be here," Mr. Smith said. "We risk our lives every time."
But his fishing buddy, Mr. Paul Williams, from Canberra, has landed a 35-kilogram marlin.
"It's almost a once-in-a-lifetime thing," he said.
A 120 kg black marlin was taken from Eve’s Ravine in Jervis Bay in 1987