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Bonito Bombard the Bay
  |  First Published: November 2010



Some fast moving fingers of warm water will now be pushing south with temperatures around 21ºC starting to push the cold stuff away until next winter.

Already some good numbers of bonito have been hunting the washes chasing all manner of baitfish for those keen on casting metal lures toward the horizon.

Last season we witnessed one of the best runs of bonito for many years in both numbers and size.

Days where 40 or 50 fish were caught and released were quite common and sometimes the fish averaged a whopping 4kg.

A number of standout fish were landed that found a big live slimy mackerel too good to refuse. Normally a 6kg or 7kg bonnie would be a one off monster but last season at least a dozen were captured off my local ledge.

I suspect that the odd school of bonito hung around right throughout winter as talk of them only wanned for a handful of weeks when the water dropped to 15ºC.

This is great news for the new season as the fish should be equally as big and just as plentiful.

If you have never fished for bonito or similar small to middle weight pelagic fish like striped tuna, salmon, tailor or kingfish now might be a good time to have a crack at a really enjoyable aspect of fishing. The best thing is you don’t need overly expensive gear or have to go to extreme locations to wet a line and be successful.

If you think spinning metal lures might be something you’d like to get into then start fishing a line class of 8-10kg. This will give you a good chance of landing the fish but the line will still be light enough to cast a fair distance.

I think braid is far superior to mono or gel spun lines but all will work so run with what you are comfortable with.

Choose a reel with a reasonably quick gear ratio so you don’t have to break a sweat trying to impart some life into a lifeless piece of metal. Rod choice should have some extra length to aid casting and also to cope with sometimes fishing several metres above sea level.

Most lures will work on their day depending on what the bonito are feeding on so it pays to have a number of sizes and weights to choose from. Anything from 25g through to 85g will do the trick.

Persistence is the name of the game when spinning metals so if you can cast for a solid hour or two you will definitely score consistently on all manner of pelagic fish.

When you do hook your first bonito relax and enjoy the fight, as they are not overly dirty fighters. Let them run as much as they like on a modest drag setting and they will be much easier to land by the time you get them to the rocks.

If you do find yourself in the midst of a hot bite be mindful of the fish you keep as you can easily catch cricket score numbers so please release what don’t meet your immediate needs.

Some good jewfish to 9kg have still been hooked off the rocks and in the rivers recently and this should continue in November, particularly in the river.

Good concentrations of baitfish and prawns will be located in the deep bends of the river where fast moving eddies of current provide the jewfish the perfect ambush situation.

The jewfish can then simply hold station deep in the water column out of the main current flow and wait patiently for the food to come to them without expending too much energy.

Aim to successfully deliver a lure or bait to that zone where the jewfish hang. Think like a fish and you will definitely catch more, I guarantee it!

Big bream are also on fire in the estuaries at present with those same baitfish and prawns being the key to multiple hook-ups. As with most forms of fishing, find the bait and you will find the fish.

Surface lures will certainly be worth a shot this month with prawns and terrestrial insects high on the bream’s menu.

Oyster racks, weed beds and shallow rock bars are the three key areas to target over the next few months in the lower reaches. Tree snags in the upper reaches will house some big blue nosed bruisers too.

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