Mako my day!
  |  First Published: November 2008

There's been nothing but improvement on the fishing front over the past month. The water temperatures have improved, as you would expect, and with Summer just around the corner I reckon we're due for a cracker game fish season.

The inshore stuff also looks very promising and some of it has already started.

After some very cold water in early Spring the temperatures are up and all the signs are there for what will hopefully be a good game season. Last summer was just about a waste of time with no current, no bait and therefore no game fish but this year the signs are more positive.

There's current heading south and that will surely bring baitfish along with billfish and hopefully a few mahi mahi as well. With any luck, the next month will see billfish start to trickle down the coast line and by January, The Banks and the continental shelf should be a hive of activity with schools of rippling bait and free-jumping marlin. I've seen them in my dreams over the past few weeks so surely they'll be there!

In the meantime, there should be some yellowfin about by the time you read this. Last November we had a few good days out wide chasing them with lures.

The game season is off to a pretty good start with another sensational mako season in September and October.

We had a ball last year with our first experiences with makos. We put a couple in the boat but, most importantly, got a lot of experience tracing and gaffing them. That experience paid dividends this season and we had a couple of blinders.


Our mako season was off to a good start when new crewmember Brad Braddick landed a 121.5kg mako on our first trip.

That fish smashed us on the gaff and tail rope when it went ballistic. We ended up covered in water and poor old VooDoo got a few more battle scars before the fish slowed down and we got a tail rope on it. My arms and shoulders were still aching a few days later.

The following weekend we backed up with a 163.5kg fish for my eldest daughter, Elspeth. She had a shocker last season when she lost a couple of makos and she was very keen to even the score this year.

It didn't get off to a real good start when she hooked a fish of about 120kg on 10kg and had it jump five times right at the back of the boat and then land on the main line. One consolation was some great video and photos of the fish jumping.

An hour later, we had a better fish at the back of the boat which tried to scoff an albatross off the surface. That fish was hot to trot and ate a bait as soon as we put it in the water.

Forty minutes later, I had the trace and Brad made no mistake with his first flying-head gaff shot on a mako. After a few hectic minutes we had a tail rope on and Elspeth had her first mako and heaviest fish. Now that she's caught one, she reckons the next one will get tagged and released.


Things are also fishing well a bit closer to land, with some nice reds over the inshore reefs. We've been catching regular feeds of snapper for the past few months by fishing floaters down berley trails and with soft plastics.

Much to my wife's disgust, most of that stopped when the makos turned up in September. She loves catching and eating snapper but won't come out wide with us when we chase makos and she won't eat shark.

She hates Spring when the makos turn up because her regular feeds of snapper in tempura batter or with ginger and shallots go out the window. Best she can hope for will be some albacore in October and November or some mahi mahi in January. Sorry, dear.

For those who like their bream and flathead on soft plastics, now's the time to be out there at every opportunity.

St Georges Basin is firing like crazy and so too is Conjola, further south. Both these estuaries have been producing some mind-blowing action in recent months and are just getting better with the warmer weather.

The range of species on offer is incredible with bream, flathead, big whiting, tailor and snapper all being taken on lures. If we get a weekend when we can't game-fish, I'm bludging a trip down there to get a few shots and see for myself.

Something else also worth considering is chasing a few bass after work, now that we have daylight saving. I've got a heap of mates who fish from tinnies and kayaks in the Shoalhaven River and Tallowa and Flatrock until dark and they've been getting some nice bass and EPs .

So if that sort of thing gets you excited, have a think about getting out mid-week for a few hours. A lot of guys are also fishing St Georges Basin after work and having a ball.



Bruce Libbis with a couple of average reds taken on a recent trip off the Shoalhaven.


Christine Finney with a solid morwong taken on a floater fished down a berley trail.


Elspeth Finney playing with a mako on 15kg out on the continental shelf.


Elspeth Finney’s 163.5 kilo mako. She says she’ll tag and release future fish.

Reads: 1985

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