It’s all happening here with great fishing just about everywhere you look.
Out wide has been producing some very exciting marlin fishing when the conditions have been right.
The Banks were firing for black marlin over Summer with quite a few fish tagged but by the end of February the fishing slowed right down over a week-long period.
Just as that happened the striped marlin showed up along the continental shelf and turned on some world-class billfish action. Some days it was nothing unusual to see up to a dozen striped marlin free-jumping or just swimming around as you trolled or drifted with baits out.
Not all the fish were hot to trot and many boats were complaining about dragging lures and even live bait right past fish and having them rejected – very frustrating.
Mixed with the striped marlin were a few blues and even the odd black.
Alistair McGlashan was down our way in early March and couldn’t resist diving over the side when he came across a big bait school wide of Jervis Bay. He spent a few hours in the water taking photos and video and reckons he saw around 30 marlin come and go from the one bait school.
In among them were few big blacks and he reckoned one was around 250kg. There have been several blacks over 200kg taken down this way and many that were hooked and lost were called for much bigger.
As the blacks went quiet at The Banks some solid kings turned up. Anglers who spent the time fishing deep live baits with breakaway sinkers or using downriggers were rewarded with good fish to almost 20kg.
After a good marlin season it was great to see The Banks living up to its reputation as one of the South Coasts most famous game reefs. I can remember fishing The Banks back in the late 1970s and early ’80s when it produced as many kingfish as you could catch in Winter and some very big yellowfin in Spring and Autumn.
With a spectacular black marlin fishery over Summer it really was the perfect year-round inshore reef.
The yellowfin are long gone but the Winter kings and Summer marlin are still there to be enjoyed.
With Autumn on us, now’s the time to think about chasing a jewie at night.
A couple of local beaches are well worth a go with fresh bait in the deeper gutters but so too are the local estuaries.
The Shoalhaven River produces jewies on soft plastics just about anywhere you find deep water, from the Nowra Showground right down to the Crookhaven entrance.
Fish the early mornings or late arvos and into the dark or around a low tide as water drains off the flats, pushing baitfish into the deeper edges.
Jew will hang along these edges just waiting for mullet, whiting and tailor to get forced off the flats as the low tide exposes them.
St Georges Basin is also worth a try if you come down with jewie fever and feel the need to catch one on a lure.
It’s the same story there. Fish the deeper water or along the deep edges of the flats as the tide drops.
The jew in the Basin aren’t as big as the Shoalhaven ones but are still well worth spending time on with larger soft plastics. The Basin also has the advantage of producing some thumper flathead if you spend time tossing 100mm soft plastics in deep water or along the edges of the flats.
Another welcome Autumn diversion is chasing the inshore pelagics that congregate close to the headlands and beaches and also in Jervis Bay.
Salmon and bonito will be in numbers feeding on whitebait and small pilchards. We’ve had an absolute ball over the years chasing these fish on light threadline tackle with small metal lures and even on saltwater fly.
They’re usually not too fussy and will grab most 40mm to 50mm metal lures of 25g to 35g, which makes them perfect for a light threadline outfit and 4kg to 6kg braid.
It’s a good idea to swap the trebles for a single hook and even flatten the barb to make releasing fish easier. Use a 2m leader of 8kg to 10kg fluorocarbon.
Let’s not forget the excellent snapper on offer in Autumn. Last year we caught a heap of reds to 5kg on bait and berley just by fishing afternoons and tide changes.
We used pillies with three-hook rigs and 6kg threadline or baitcast tackle with the mono line just tied direct to the three-hook rig.
It’s simple but very effective and you don’t miss too many strikes.
We berleyed with pilchard cubes and fished unweighted whole pilchards down the trail. It was nothing unusual to catch up to a dozen reds of 2kg to 3kg with the odd fish to 4kg.
We’d normally keep a few for a feed and let the rest go. I’m looking forward to some fresh snapper this Autumn.
Josh and Col Hunt with Josh’s 170kg blue marlin caught wide of Jervis Bay.
The author with a solid Currarong Autumn red on a soft plastic.
March produced some very spectacular striped marlin activity out wide of Jervis Bay.
With any luck we might see some yellowfin action out along the continental shelf this Autumn.Reads: 1342