Kingfish should have arrived in good numbers by now and am I hoping for a better size result than the past few years. I can’t recall landing a legal fish last year but I can remember scores of kings of 62cm to 64cm range – just shy of the legal mark.
At times they were so thick that I scored two on the one lure when using a stinger treble on big soft plastics.
The past few seasons have been frustrating locally, with ports north and south of Batemans Bay having great runs of big kingfish while we have had mostly undersized fish.
I even heard of people so frustrated with the rat kingfish that they illegally fished the old faithful spots inside the marine park no-go zones and still could find only sub-legal fish. With fines upwards of $500 being dished out you’d be pretty silly to follow suit.
Kingfish grow pretty quickly so there is some factor in recent times that is causing our bigger kings to leave town. Tag returns from a couple of fish that I have released have ended up in Sydney, so they are fairly mobile critters.
Strangely, the past few seasons have been great in terms of water temperature, clarity and baitfish concentrations so I am left at a loss as to why we keep lucking out on solid kingfish. Lets hope it turns around this year.
Snapper anglers continue to score quality fish with reds to 4kg common. Ulladulla angler Tony Evans has virtually given the bait game away and is a hardcore plastic fisho these days.
He recently nailed a ripper red on artificials that topped the old-fashioned 20lb mark.
The action off the rocks has virtually dried up but nearly every year someone lands a big land-based snapper over Christmas so it’s always worth a shot, even if the traditional ‘season’ is over.
Out on the deep blue there should now be a scattering of striped marlin and possibly the odd black mixing with school yellowfin tuna where the currents and temperature are favourable.
Often the action can occur well inside the shelf line, particularly if you find schools of striped tuna, slimy mackerel, sauries or pilchards.
You should concentrate your efforts wherever you find the bait.
Too many times boats head to the Second Drop and beyond, trolling all day for nought, only to get a strike on the way home. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener (or the current bluer!) the wider you go.
Bass anglers will experience some great action this Summer, due to quality rain over the past few months allowing for good fish movement.
Jason Wheeler has been scoring fish to 50cm already, not to mention some cricket score catches of estuary perch to 40cm in the salt.
Working to aid I&I Fisheries, he has put around 400 tags into the Clyde’s perch population so if you score a tagged perch, be sure to record the details and forward them to Fisheries.
With the removal of commercial netting in the Clyde the perch fishing will only go from strength to strength in the next few years.
Estuary fishing in Lake Conjola well be interesting this season, as the system has completely closed from the ocean, something that has not occurred for many years.
In late Winter the entrance slowed to barely a trickle, despite good rain. On two occasions a dredge was brought in to reopen the entrance supposedly at $50,000 a pop, and according to locals the second effort sanded back over the very next day!
That is some pretty expensive sand castles left dumped onto the beach for zero result.
Since 1937 the lake has closed to the ocean eight times, sometimes for years at a time depending on weather and ocean conditions, so it is just a natural process for the system.
What this means to anglers will be interesting to find out. With virtually no tidal movement (a slight rise and fall still occurs through the sandbar) I would be opting for much lighter sinkers or no weight at all when bait fishing and using super-lightweight plastics with the aid of hidden weight or resin heads to achieve the most natural presentations.
Already the lake has started to become a tad smelly and stagnant from the lack of movement and the clarity near the entrance is pretty poor.
We usually spend many a Summer’s day snorkelling the entrance with the kids but I am tipping they won’t want to partake this Christmas when they see all the slimy, dirty weed suspended in the water.
Looking on the Lake Conjola Entrance Management Plan, (www.mhl.gov.au/www/lconjmanage.html) you can see in Newsletter 1 the photo of the entrance in 1993 showing a clearly defined channel cutting to the ocean and the second photo in 1997 of the closed entrance with a meandering channel through the heavily silted flats – basically how it looks at present.
To my mind the whole channel needs dredging, rather than just the spit, for it to remain open but cost and environmental factors obviously would weigh into that course of action.
I still will endeavour to see how the system is fishing over the next few months as the in-laws have bought a new tandem Hobie kayak so hopefully the flathead, whiting, bream and tailor the system is renowned for is still just as good as previous years.