Hot times off the Bay
  |  First Published: August 2001

Great things are happening here: Despite multiple southerly swells smashing the coast, with strong north-westerly winds between the big swells, if you can pick a window of opportunity there is some awesome fishing.

Our most recent jaunt over the continental shelf in search of a yellowfin tuna finally came together in a big way after months of virtually not even turning a reel.

The plan was to troll lures until we scored a hook-up or hit a decent temperature break and then cube for the rest of the day, in conjunction with swimming a pair of live slimy mackerel from the outriggers.

The night before, we earmarked a nice patch of slightly warmer water on CSIRO’s sea surface temperate website. It looked to be right on Tuross Canyons but there had also been some nice fish of around 50kg being taken in closer, around 60 fathoms.

We opted to troll from the 60-fathom mark south-east until the first drop-off, then continue along the shelf line and then directly to the canyons.

We arrived at the canyons just before lunch without so much as a bump on a lure.

Radio chatter revealed that there were some OK albacore taking lures further north, with Brett on Opportunity bagging a nice double of fat albies and another boat scoring a 10kg rat yellowfin on a cube.

After 30 minutes of trolling repeated passes over the canyon in 18.3° water, the warmest we found all day, we decided to cube right on the canyon mark and see if we could raise something from the depths.

With a pair of live baits set and 20 minutes of establishing a cube trail, Rohan’s 50 Tiagra screamed into life with speed that could only indicate a big tuna.

The blistering surface run ceased after an honest 300m, then the fish sounded until it was eventually directly below the boat. I continued to keep the cubes going for the next hour and Ro was clearly not winning any of his 24kg line despite getting pushed to the max.

We made the call to start the engine and drive off the cube trail in the hope of planing the fish to the surface. So for the next two hours we played a game of drive 100m off the fish and inch it up to the surface, but every time the stubborn fish got its head back down in the current and sulked 100m directly below the boat.

At the three-hour mark the fish suddenly surfaced about 60m out and we finally got our first glimpse of colour. Ten tense minutes later, I sank the flying gaff home and then a fixed-head gaff but it still took the two of us three attempts to get the fish over the gunwale.

Initially we were calling it for 80kg but back on land we leaned closer to 70kg but it was definitely bigger than my mate Phil Petridis’ 63kg fish of a few seasons ago. But certainly it was not close to our first emotionally-charged guesstimates.

Rohan took the fins off the fish and plans to get a replica mount done by Scott Mann, of Batemans Bay Fish Moulds. No doubt it will be a fitting tribute to the fish of a lifetime.


Snapper are on fire in close with boat and rock anglers cashing in on the big fish action.

Anthony Stokman of Top Cat Charters has been putting his clients onto some sensational plastic-caught reds to 5.5kg, as regular client Craig Sharah found out when he scored a recent PB of over 5kg.

Anthony also put him onto his first marlin earlier this year and the boys have a desire to nail a big southern bluefin tuna to keep the ‘firsts’ tumbling.

This month could be a real cracker for an SBT. With so many big fish being captured down south, every game angler is on high alert for their arrival.

If you want to get in on the snapper or tuna action, give Anthony a call on 0427727340.

Ben Roberts has been up to his usual tricks, bagging numerous solid snapper on rubber in the shallows and he recently thought he’d bagged his dream 10kg snapper – which turned out to be 12kg of kingfish!

He hooked the king in shallow, wash-filled water and I am sure there would have been some serious fireworks and good angling go into winning over a fish like that.

Off the rocks the same class of snapper has been present with 5.5kg the best fish captured lately. Ray Smith nailed three in one session.

So far this winter I have pulled the hooks on three solid fish around 4kg to 5kg and it is really starting to cheese me off. At least the smaller 2.5kg fish have been staying on the hook, keeping the family happy around dinner time.

Big rock blackfish (black drummer) have been on fire, too, with fish to 3.5kg eager to feed on cooked prawns.

Not what you would call a natural bait by any means, a cooked prawn is tough on the hook and a real winner on drummer. Bream will also get in on the prawn act.

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