Holiday options numerous
  |  First Published: December 2008

A merry Christmas to all our loyal readers, I hope you score some shiny new fishing gear you can use on the fabulous fishing action on offer for the last of 2008.

I am really looking forward to this holiday period as it will be my first Chrissy not slaving away in a hot kitchen in 17 years, so of course a healthy dose of fishing will feature in my time off.

Spending time with the family camping at Lake Conjola is the plan of attack. The Polycraft will be getting a run on the lake and some beach fishing will also be factored in. I am still trying to work out how I can sneak off to Jervis Bay for a spot of land-based game fishing but I am not sure the family will be at all cooperative!

Options for the holiday angler are numerous. Leading up to this report, tuna have been going berserk. Yellowfin, bluefin, albacore and stripies in good numbers and sizes have all been on the chew.

Most of the albies have been only around 4kg but some 12kg to 15kg fish have been boated. The bulk of the albacore action has been occurring right on the continental shelf and captures of 25 to 30 fish have been common.

School yellowfin to 25kg have also been frequenting the shelf but have also been regularly encountered much closer to shore. The 45-to-60 fathom zone has been a real hot spot, thanks to a significant temperature break of several degrees.

A few mammoth battles have been going down on stud ’fin pushing 80kg but regrettably, all have gone pear-shaped after about an hour.

Matt Harris connected to a surface screamer that swallowed a Bluewater Squidgy and proceeded to empty his TLD 50 on sunset drag. After a torrid hour, Matt had the double on the reel and his suspicions were confirmed when a massive southern bluefin hove into view.

Unfortunately, the fish made a sudden dive around the back of the boat, leaving Matt with that sickening feeling of limp line blowing in the breeze. From all accounts the fish was somewhere between 80kg and 100kg, a real fish of a lifetime, and the couple of 25kg yellowfin boated later were poor consolation.

With the Marine Park restrictions on commercial trawl industry already showing a marked increase in flathead numbers, it has been interesting to note that anglers are also again finding healthy numbers of nannygai.

The once famous inshore run of South Coast yellowfin tuna used to directly coincide with big schools of nannies so it will be interesting to see if the humble ‘goats’, as they are affectionately known, draw the tuna back in close.

Expect to see some striped marlin showing up on the shelf, too, closely followed by a run of black marlin. The blacks tend to run closer to shore if the currents are favourable.

Forty to 60 fathoms is a good starting point, or virtually anywhere slimy mackerel are present. If you happen across a good school of slimies in 21° water, a marlin won’t be too far away, so stay close to the bait.

Snapper are still on fire for anglers working baits and plastics from depths of 30m or more. Not much action has been occurring in the shallows so pack some heavy jig heads and head wide.

Phil Petridis had a cracking session on the reds, landing nine fish to 4kg and lost three that never looked like stopping. Together with a few big mowies, he ended up with quite a big feed.


The Clyde River has turned on some sensational bream action recently, with an abundance of fish around a kilo. Bait anglers have been getting the lion’s share with lure casters having to work a bit harder for results.

Ben Roberts, however, found a willing plastic eater that weighed in at stunning 1.7kg before being released.

Loads of whitebait and prawns have been visible on the surface so expect some great surface luring, particularly now those noisy, screeching cicadas will be finding their way onto the surface. Bream love them just as much as bass and when they are present, bream are dead easy to catch as their aggression takes over from their normally coy nature.

My good mate Ray Smith recently had a soul-crushing loss of a monster jewfish on plastic off the rocks, bringing his tally to jewies 6, Ray 0. The beast was hooked while spinning for flathead on a 4lb bream outfit and the opening run took him really close to the bottom of the spool.

Amazingly, he turned the leviathan and had the double at the rod tip but a flash of its 30cm wide tail on the surface popped the leader completing Ray’s painful double hat-trick of losses.

I fully appreciate Ray’s loss because I too can remember being on the wrong end of a double hat-trick of losses on jewfish.

With this in mind, we teed up a trip a few days later and Ray scored a nice 7.5kg fish and we pulled the hook on two more good ones. I love seeing people lose all control of emotions when they finally score a dream fish and Ray was positively ecstatic, pumping fists in the air and yahooing uncontrollably over his well-deserved capture.

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