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Hang onto your hats!
  |  First Published: August 2011



Hang on to your hats, it’s traditionally the month for strong westerlies. The low-pressure systems crossing Bass Strait tend to travel at higher latitudes at this time of year, bringing clearer days with a few near-gales thrown into the mix.

The westerly is not to be underestimated; it can abate and then crank up with a vengeance in the next breath.

You really need to check your weather before you put to sea. If you’re planning a weekend boating trip to the South Coast, start checking the weather the Monday before you go.

August is probably the slowest month of the year in the estuary, particularly around the full moon. That’s not to say it stops completely because temperatures should have been stable for a while now in many of the coastal lakes.

While blades are the weapons of choice for most lure casters, soft baits such as the Gulp Craw in camo will still attract attention of Winter bream, reds and school jew in the Shoalhaven River.

CRANK SLOW

Slowly, slowly is the key with any lure presentation at this time of year. Pauses of 10 to 30 seconds between twitches will achieve better results.

For the bait fishos, you can’t go past a feed of luderick.

You really don’t need to be over 60 and wearing a flanno to catch blackfish. I’ve recently rekindled my passion for the humble lud lately and we’ve been having a great time with spin gear and 7’6” bream rods in the river at Sussex Inlet.

The key is a well-balanced float with minimal split shot on the line and a good supply of green weed. Location of green weed is a state secret.

The Sussex River has also had good flathead and trevally, which are great fun on 3lb tackle.

And what about the 26kg reddie caught in Jervis Bay? Pull the other leg, it plays Jingle Bells, mate! It’s amazing what Photoshop and text messaging can achieve. Last reports were it was 41kg and Fisheries bought it for $10,000…

TRAWL TRUTH

The same can be said for rumours of Fisheries trawling six tonnes of fish from St Georges Basin for research – wrong! And threatening Fisheries officers at the boat ramp regarding this issue is just plain stupid.

I recently participated in a trawl survey one evening in the Basin. Each trawl lasted five minutes and was made using a 3m by 90cm net. No more than a dozen fish or prawns per shot were collected, measured and then returned to the water.

This method has been used for the past few years and valuable data about recreational fishing havens all over NSW has been collected.

Large numbers of fish are not being taken and if you do witness such an event, you should be encouraged to record boat and vehicle regos and call the illegal fishing hotline on 1800 043 536

Speaking of netting large amounts of fish in the estuaries, the Shoalhaven Heads Hotel Fishing Club recently delivered a petition to the Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, calling for a reduction in the amount of netting effort in the Shoalhaven.

The petition cited that professional fishers from outside the Shoalhaven area were placing too much pressure on an already dwindling resource.

In an ideal world it would be great to see our estuaries without nets but the public has a right to eat fresh seafood and professional fishers have the right to work and earn an income – provided they operate within the law.

It’s an emotive and complex debate that the community and the Government need to have. One thing’s for sure: We need more compliance officers on the Shoalhaven to weed out the bad operators who want to leave unattended nets strung from one side of the river to the other.

OFFSHORE

Out wide has been a struggle, to say the least. Filthy weather from late June into July put the brakes on most offshore sorties.

Reports of yellowfin from 50 fathoms off Batemans Bay have been encouraging but to date it’s been very slow in the ’fin department, to say the least. Hopefully there’ll have been better weather and more joy to report on next issue.

On the upside, each year on reefs in 100m we see amazing winter kingfish action as the fish move deeper away from inshore reefs.

These are hard-fighting, schooling fish which average 10kg to 20kg and form the basis of a jig junkie’s paradise and a good reason keep a close eye on a break in the weather.

Give Angelo from Jervis Bay Fishing Charters a call and he will get you hooked to a monster king on The Block, for sure.

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