The north-easters blow pretty hard in the early part of this month but that just helps to push the hot water closer to shore, bringing the big fish that come with the hot currents right up to the rocks.
This is just what those dedicated maniacs who fish land-based game love and what they wait for during the cooler months. So now it is time to get serious and get into them.
We are not blessed with the abundant deep-water platforms as those lucky fishos down around the Jervis Bay area are but we do have a few little gems that fish well during the Summer and Autumn for all the species that get the LBG boys’ pulses racing.
The top spots are all around Kiama, with the Blowhole and Marsdens the pick of the deep spots with Bombo and the front of Cathedral Rocks other good spots.
If you can’t get to these then the south side of Bass Point has a few spots and Honeycomb at Port Kembla can throw up a few surprises but is very crowded, as is Coalcliff.
The pinnacle of LBG fishing is a marlin or big tuna and while there aren’t that many big tuna about these days, plenty of marlin still swim past the deep headlands every Summer.
The crowds will be at Jervis Bay but a few marlin get hooked off Kiama each year so it is worth the effort to catch the live bait and drag the kiddie wading pool to keep them alive, then get that live slimy, yellowtail or frigate to swim out as far away from the rocks as possible.
Even if you don’t hook that marlin there will be big kings patrolling the ledges, particularly at dawn and dusk. Smaller kings are there all day, along with bonito, salmon, mackerel tuna, some early longtails and even maybe a stray yellowfin tuna. Hammerheads are on the cards just about every day.
Over the next few months it doesn’t get any better for big fish off the rocks. If you don’t set your sights that high there are still plenty of bonito, salmon, tailor, frigates and smaller kings from most platforms along the coast.
Some days they feed in hard against the rocks in dense schools and you just can’t miss, particularly along the Port Kembla breakwalls and the northern side of Bass Point.
Word then gets out and the butchers soon arrive, so try to take only what you need and urge others to do so as well.
If you think that someone is doing the wrong thing, call the Fisheries hotline and let them sort it out. Remember, it is not dobbing someone in, rather you’re protecting our fishery for the future against over harvesting.
On the shallower platforms some nice bream have started to show in the washes and calmer bays during the early morning before the wind gets up. Use bread berley and a few trevally could show up, along with drummer.
In the harbours, blackfish can be coaxed into taking green weed if you can find somewhere out of the wind. Try Port Kembla inside the southern wall or early morning in Wollongong under the little lighthouse.
The beach fishing is sensational with bream, heaps of whiting, salmon, flatties and tailor in the evenings, so grab a bag of pillies and some beach worms and you are set. Any beach will do.
With all these smaller species hanging about, it stands to reason some bigger fish will be chasing them.
Jewies are on all the usual beaches and some of the lesser-fished as well. Schoolies and even soapies have been around in numbers on the northern beaches but, as usual, you have to put in time to get the feel of how they are moving.
There have been a couple over 18kg taken so far with one first-timer almost getting a monster before the adrenaline got the better of him and he busted off in the wash at the death of the fight. Patience is a virtue on big fish.
There are plenty of whaler sharks on the beaches during the evenings so bring a few spare rigs to cover the bite-offs.
Lake Illawarra is firing on all cylinders with flatties going great guns just about everywhere. There are no monsters (70cm is generally a good fish due to the netting pressure by the pros) but there are plenty of 40cm to 50cm to go around.
Whiting are all over the sand flats at the entrance and bream are under the bridge at night and some big fish are up in the feeder creeks.
Try the creeks for some big mullet. Macquarie Rivulet is a good spot to keep the kids entertained, as is William Beach Park on aptly named Mullet Creek.
Some nice bream come into the bread berley so remove the float at the end of the session and see what is down a bit deeper.
Minnamurra is pretty much the same, with a few big trevally thrown in to keep the whiting fishos on their toes.
Don’t forget the Wollongong Sportfishing Club and Deans Tackle and Outdoors Monster Flathead Classic with heaps of prizes and sections for the whole family. It’s held on Sunday January 16 at the lake, call Deans for details.
With the first of the black marlin arriving, offshore fishing is just getting better as the Summer continues.
There are striped marlin out wide and in over the trap reef in 60 fathoms when the bait is about, and there is always the chance of a big blue out on the shelf and beyond.
But the blacks can be hooked right in close over the inshore reefs, just pick your spot on Wollongong or Bandit and slowly troll a live slimy, yellowtail or frigate.
Or just stick out a live bait when you are fishing for snapper – anything will do, even a sweep. If you have a bait out you are in with a chance.
A few yellowfin tuna up to 40kg are out wide but you have good days and bad. Trolling is useful to find them but pillies seem to be taking most of the bigger fish.
Towards the end of the month when the water warms right up, there is always the chance of a wahoo or even a spearfish or sailfish if the current is boiling down the coast.
The dollies have started to show on the FADs and will just get better as the month continues. Big livies will get the best fish and keep the tiddlers at bay.
Don’t be too worried if the crowd beats you, just get well up current and a bit wider from the FAD and let out the big live baits and see what happens.
That way you keep away from the dorks trolling at 25 knots 2m from the FAD scaring everything out to you. The fish generally don’t go far, they just get deeper and move away until things quieten down.
In closer there are plenty of kings on all the usual spots like Rangoon at Minnamurra, Bass Point, the islands, Bellambi and Austinmer. Slow-trolled live slimies and yellowtail (or squid if you can get some) are scoring fish up to 10kg.
Jigging isn’t really an option because most of the fish are in 10m to 15m. Just find the school and they will do the rest.
Snapper are back on the menu with most in 30m to 40m. Anchor and berley for the bigger fish but drifting with bait and plastics is scoring some nice fish.
The odd trag has turned up at the ramp so a look on the old trag bumps on a full moon evening could pay dividends.
Plenty of small samson fish are showing up on the shallow reefs and even mixing with the kings.
There are plenty of really good sand flathead over all the sand patches.
There are no excuses this month for not catching a feed!Reads: 5978