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Plenty of fun
  |  First Published: February 2011



The fishing certainly hasn’t been too shabby down this way. The marlin arrived early at The Banks with several fish taken in mid-December and a good showing of blacks in January.

The stripes out wider have kept the game fishers happy while in closer some big kings have been around near Currarong and the Shallows on live baits.

Last Summer we took a couple of large tiger sharks so we’re going to try to repeat that this year.

After all the rain in November and December the rivers and estuaries got a good flush-out, which they needed.

The Shoalhaven was running brown for several weeks late last year but it’s cleared up now and fishing well for blackfish and flathead, with the odd jewie around.

Upstream between the showground and Gradys there are some very nice bass and estuary perch on offer mornings and afternoons.

The local oyster farmers down around Greenwell and Orient points had a woeful Christmas with no product because of the dirty water so my heart goes out to them at their busiest time of year.

As you’d expect, St Georges Basin is firing for just about everything including some thumper flathead, bream, snapper and the odd jew.

Everyone who’s fishing down there has been catching good fish.

I still see the odd photo of big flathead that have been kept and I recently heard of one fish around 6kg being kept just because it was some fishing club record. It was cooked up and the anglers reckoned it tasted like an old boot.

There’s more than one reason you should be releasing any flathead over about 60cm. They are all breeding fish and the large ones are almost inedible.

Do yourself and the fishery a favour and let them go. There’s nothing to be proud of returning home with a big flathead that you’ve caught and killed.

SHARK OBSESSION

My kids are obsessed with shark fishing. They’re not interested in the little whalers in the local river or even larger whalers at The Banks; they like makos and tigers, the bigger the better.

Most parents would shudder at the thought of their children going 20 or 25 miles offshore each weekend chasing large sharks from trailer boats.

The risk of serious injury is enormous but I was involved in getting them started on the shark caper so I really can’t complain. Plus it keeps them off the streets and out of the local police station, so that’s got to be a bonus.

It was only 12 months ago when Andrew came unstuck tracing a 260kg mako off Batemans Bay and had to be airlifted to Sydney for five hours of microsurgery.

Not long ago we got a call on the second day of the Jervis Bay White Sands comp to say that Andrew’s twin sister, Elspeth was in casualty at Shoalhaven Hospital after stabbing herself in the hand with a bait needle.

She was fishing with Matt and Josh Wall of Nowra on Double D out on the Drum Canyons. The previous day she’d caught a 98kg mako on 10kg tackle and tagged two more along with a blue shark so she was up there on the leader board for tag and release and female capture categories.

While setting up the berley trail, Elspeth decided to puncture a tuna oil bottle with a rusty and smelly bait needle – which she managed to stick into her hand with the tuna oil bottle impaled on it.

They tried to just pull out but the barb but it was attached to sinew or skin so they spend 10 minutes manoeuvring the barb so it could be extracted, all the time with a bottle of tuna oil attached.

They finally got it out but half a litre of tuna oil had poured all over Elspeth’s legs and hands. They washed it all off but a few hours later her legs were bright red.

In true Finney style, she fished on for the day and tagged two more makos before being taken to casualty, where she had the wound dressed, a tetanus shot and antiseptic cream for the burnt hands and legs.

She looked quite a sight in Casualty in her fishing clothes. She also stank of shark berley so everyone was giving her a very wide berth.

The nurses took some time to actually understand how she’d ended up in such a predicament and I guess it was a change from the usual accidents that they see.

The kids ended up taking out a heap of capture and tag-and-release prizes at the White Sands so they were happy and I was a very proud father.

Images

1

Former Bega local Russell Kerton with a 25kg GT taken in Papua New Guinea, where he now works. Russell also finds the time to chase giant southern bluefin in New Zealand and scored a couple of 100kg-plus Aussie bluefin last season.

2

Wollongong angler Will Vaughn with a 6kg red taken around the islands off Port Kembla.

3

Scott Sharpe fished from the rocks at Beecroft for this blackfish.

4

Craig Owen tight to a Jervis Bay kingfish on threadline tackle and a mini jig.

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