It’s time to get ready for the game fishing season, a ritual in our household for quite a few years now.
It involves servicing our reels and the rods are checked and rollers serviced. Leather grips are treated and new line is loaded on the reels and plaited doubles are tied and a snap added to the end of each.
We then check our live bait traces and circle hooks and tie new traces. Lures are checked over and hooks sharpened or replaced.
This usually takes a few week nights or one day of a wet weekend.
The early signs for the season are promising. There were quite a few marlin hooked and several tagged during the White Sands Tournament in late November.
Everyone reported seeing bait out wide in 21° water and I even saw a solid mahi mahi weighed on the first day. Most of the marlin were hooked on lures and yellowfin to almost 50kg were abundant and quite a few albacore were caught, too.
There was no shortage of mako sharks, either. My eldest two offspring tagged a heap of makos and weighed in a couple on light tackle.
With bait and striped marlin about in 21° water late last year, most people will be hoping that this sets the pace for a good billfish season here. We could certainly do with one after a few shockers in recent years.
Last month I wrote about the new marina being built at Numbaa, on the Shoalhaven River. Plans were displayed in October after the council approved the project but it didn’t take long for the greenies and old-school locals to try to block the development.
Their argument is that it’s not required, will be harmful to the environment and bring huge boats into the river that could cause fuel spills and make noise and wake damage to the foreshore.
The Shoalhaven needs a marina and a marine industrial park. The potential is enormous and it can all be done with minimal environmental impact.
Obviously if you’re not a boat owner, fisher or sailor the marina will be of no use but that argument would be like me complaining about a new airstrip because I don’t fly planes, or a skate park because I don’t ride skateboards – or the new jail down here because I’m not a criminal!
I’ll be enjoying some time off with the family this month after a big year at work. We receive a big influx of tourists here over Christmas so you have to deal with the crowds and be a bit patient at the boat ramps.
Get there early and you usually don’t have any dramas but try to launch a boat after 7am or 8am and you can expect to wait a while and have to put up with some pretty inexperienced boaters.
Sometimes it’s worth just sitting back and watching some people try to launch.
I’ve seen it all over the years, including boats going in without the bungs, people trying to get a boat off the trailer with the tie down straps still secured and many winch cable failures as boats are retrieved.
It’s quite a show over Summer but it just goes to show what happens when you launch your boat only a few times each year.
The bit I find annoying is people taking up the entire ramp while they pack the boat or leave it floating at the edge of the ramp, preventing anyone else doing anything while they park their car.
It’s all just commonsense and courtesy but when people hit the ramp sometimes common courtesy isn’t that common.
I’ve seen some people completely oblivious to the fact that they’ve got the entire ramp tied up while they fart around. Even worse, others are aware and don’t care.
It’s no wonder that ramp rage does occasionally raise its ugly head.
I’ve never seen a fight at a ramp but I’ve heard of a few and know a guy who got punched out in Sydney many years ago for a being a smart aleck to someone holding up proceedings.
Late last year the St Georges Basin artificial reef was expanded to create the largest artificial reef system in NSW after an additional 600 reef balls spaced over five hectares and occupying 650 square metres were lowered into place.
Reef balls are hollow concrete spheres, most about 1.5m in diameter, with large holes that provide living quarters for fish and many other forms of marine life.
For GPS co-ordinates on the six artificial reefs in St Georges Basin check out: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/saltwater/artificial-reefs/st-georges-basin
There hasn’t been any shortage of action down that way over Spring and early Summer from all the usual suspects, including a heap of bream and snapper on lures, huge flathead and some nice jewies.
Everyone who’s fishing the Basin is reporting of good catches and most would agree that this piece of water is probably the most productive estuary in southern NSW by a long shot.
Just goes to show how much damage and how many tonnes of fish must have been get getting taken out of there by the pros before they were kicked out.
Hoping for many more this season. This bridled slimy mackerel was attacked by a black marlin at The Banks.
Land-based pelagic action at Little Beecroft.
Rebecca Finney hooked up to a black marlin on 15kg tackle at The Banks.
Summer also turns on some great inshore jigging for kingfish. This 3kg fish took a jig in Jervis Bay.Reads: 1937