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Hopes warming up
  |  First Published: December 2010



It looks like a big stream of warm water is headed our way from up north. Let’s hope it brings billfish with it.

Reports so far indicate it could be a good marlin season. The water out wide was 20° to 21° in November and the water could rise to 23° or 24° by Christmas or early January and carry some bait in the form of slimy mackerel and striped tuna.

It’s been several years since we’ve had a decent run of striped and black marlin so a good season with heaps of fish on the continental shelf and around The Banks and The Block is well overdue and would be very much appreciated.

That warm water should also bring some big mahi mahi if we’re lucky. There have been heaps of small fish around FADs, floating timber and fish trap floats but those better fish of 10kk and more have been very patchy for a few years now.

I reckon a lot of that had had to do with the lack of really warm water. When the right water turns up big mahi mahi are incredible fun and very good eating if you look after them.

Sea creatures that haven’t been welcome over the past few seasons have been those damn seals. We’ve had them annoy the hell out of us at The Banks, The Block, The Shallows, The Mud and in closer while chasing snapper.

I’ve got no idea if anyone knows how many there are out there but there must be hundreds just off Crookhaven Heads and Culburra.

I don’t think we had one marlin session last Summer when we didn’t get hassled by seals eating our live slimies and on several occasions we went home because we ran out of baits or couldn’t fish where we wanted to without losing every bait.

We have a cunning plan this season that should reduce that problem and, no, it doesn’t involve firearms or hurting the seals.

NEW PLOT

For the new season I’ve had a new GPS/sounder combo fitted to Voodoo, a Simrad NX40 Navstation installed by Steve Howes from Culburra. It has the standard 600-watt transom-mount transducer for inshore work on kings and reds and the GPS has all our marks in it. We’ve been running a Furuno FCV585 for offshore work when finding bait or for deepwater bottom bashing.

The NX40’s 8.4” screen works great in full sunlight and is far superior to the Simrad CX34 we ran in past years.

Part of the GPS upgrade involved getting all of our marks from the old plotter and writing them down to enter them on the NX40. There were five foolscap pages of marks, from snapper reefs to marlin reefs, shark drifts, blue eye grounds, squid weed beds, kingfish pinnacles and marks where we’d taken some big sharks.

Some of those marks brought back a lot of memories and it got me thinking just how much information there was on those pages. To many people those marks would mean nothing but with a bit of local knowledge and knowing how to read a sounder when you get over those reefs, they are absolute gold. Those sheets are all stored in clear plastic sleeves and in safekeeping. Some of that information I would never part with.

FAMILY FUN

With Summer holidays on our doorstep, it’s time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. With two grandchildren in the Finney family these days it’s more about young Elle and Braith.

It’s also a great time to get out on the water fishing with them all, along with snorkelling and swimming in Jervis Bay. Of course, we tow the donut along and take turns getting dragged around and thrown off in spectacular fashion.

One the great things about fishing and boats is that they can provide great times with the family, and that’s what it’s all about. Braith is only a year old and it will be a few years before he can fish properly but I’m quite looking forward to getting him out there.

My grandfather and father were both keen fishermen and I and all my children are, so I can only see Elle and Braith being involved in boats, water and fishing. That’ll make five generations of Finneys!

Here’s to a safe and fishy Christmas. Get out on the water as much as you can and enjoy some time with your family, but do it safely and responsibly.

Images

1

Blackfish action off the rocks with Scott Sharpe at Little Beecroft.

2

Rebecca Finney tight to a big salmon at Long Nose Point in Jervis Bay.

3

Josh and Matt Wall releasing a black marlin at The Banks last Summer. They have a new boat this season, a 6.5m Predator called Double-D.

4

Summer is a great time to get out for a fish and spend time with the family. Andrew Finney and partner Marissa Ramsay, having fun squidding in Jervis Bay, now have a son, Braith, to join a long line of Finney fishers.

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