Water temperatures have increased offshore, in the estuaries and up in the sweetwater sections. Combined with school holidays, it’s party time and fish are on top of the guest list.
Offshore, marlin numbers are increasing as they follow the now prolific bait schools.
As this season has already shown, fish are where you find them so look for the signs, as many of the game boats go straight past the obvious gannets circling and diving on a bait school. They indicate to seasoned skippers that fish are in the area.
Trolling lures in the early part of the season will account for many hook-ups and, more importantly, indicate where the fish are concentrated, thus allowing different methods like live-baiting or switch-baiting.
Blue marlin are regular January visitors over the deeper canyons. Lures are by far the best way to locate blues and other fish including albacore, yellowfin, striped tuna, mahi mahi or even spearfish.
The bait schools may consist of slimy mackerel, pilchards, yellowtail, whitebait, striped tuna, mack tuna or frigate mackerel. The bait also attracts kingfish and bonito at Montague Island or along the coast, where they are joined by salmon and tailor.
Baitfish don’t always stay on the surface and when they go deep, bottom species have their chance to feed. Tiger flathead often have yellowtail or slimies inside them when cleaned, so find the bait and the flathead won’t be far behind.
The beaches and estuaries are primed and fishing well.
Schools of salmon are providing plenty of entertainment on most beaches. A simple paternoster rig with a pilchard will account for most, while lures may provide faster and more energetic action.
Bream, whiting and mullet are also around.
The kids can really have some fun in the estuaries. The warm water has the fish fired up and with abundant food supplies, anglers are finding it pretty easy going.Reads: 830