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Hopes for an early warm-up
  |  First Published: September 2011



All things said and done, the Winter fishing was pretty good in this part of the world but it’s at this time of the year that the water temps will be starting to rise, kick-starting the Spring cycle.

The usual bouts of atrocious weather we expect in late winter certainly put the brakes on most offshore activities but for the angler willing to diversify, the estuaries, rocks and inshore areas provided a lot of variety.

JERVIS BAY

Notes in my diary confirm that the kings have been present in the Bay all year.

Whilst they may be harder to tempt on plastics in the cooler water, a downrigged live squid around the cliffs in Winter will put you in the ballpark for a 10kg-plus fish.

We’ve had a few slow days on the smaller tides when you had to work a bit harder. It’s surprising what a bit of bait and berley will do when the going gets tough.

When fishing the Bay with bait you can anchor up on the sand with the right tide and run a few floaters back down the berley trail towards where the sand meets the reef.

As well as picking up a feed of reds, the kings and salmon will eventually home in on all the action.

We usually then float out a live yakka, slimy mackerel or squid about 5m under a balloon and also hang one livie directly under the boat. Try this method when there has been a prolonged flat spell and the water is really clear.

For those who prefer to throw lures, the reds, bream, salmon and a host of other species have been present in the washes in good numbers after a bout of weather and big swell. One thing is for sure, salmon averaging 2kg to 4kg are year-round options and put a good bend in a rod when everything else has stopped.

Congratulations to Nick Carpenter of Sussex Inlet, for this month’s cover shot of the 8kg red he caught and released in Jervis Bay. This fish came from less than 5m of water and was caught on a 5” Gulp Jerkshad in nuclear chicken after a series of powerful runs.

Snapper on plastics just doesn’t get any better and the buzz of seeing this big red swimming off after a few pictures was priceless.

In September we will start to see striped tuna in the Bay so always have a light spin outfit with a really small metal or plastic stickbait at the ready. The smaller the lure, the better because the stripies feed on small baitfish. Also try trolling Rapala XR8s in silver blue.

For a feed it’s hard to go past flattie tails and calamari. Sand and dusky flathead will be sunning themselves in the shallows this month.

Try a 1/4oz jig head with a 3” Gulp Swimming Grub in pumpkinseed for best results. You will surprise yourself when targeting the sandy patches in less than 2m of water.

ESTUARY

This month the season starts for bass and estuary perch and I am champing at the bit for an overnight kayak trip down the Shoalhaven. With good rains and the Tallowa Dam fish lift in place, the bass should go from strength to strength. These conditions are very favourable for natural recruitment.

Having said that, this Winter some absolute horses have been caught and released as by-catch by those targeting bream.

Good early Spring rain will trigger the fish to migrate back into the fresh and before you know it, the surface lure time will be upon us.

School jew have also been around in numbers this Winter and it will be interesting to see what happens as we get into October. Hopefully we’ll have a shot at some bigger specimens as they congregate in the lower reaches over the next month or two.

Also keep in mind that towards the end of this month we will start to see some of the crocodile-sized flathead start to stir as the water warms. Remember that these are large breeding females so do the right thing and put them back if you can.

OFFSHORE

Out wide has produced patches of brilliance in between polar lows and big swells.

Some good water in late July and early August saw plenty of striped and albacore tuna, with patches of yellowfin from 20kg to 80kg around The Kink.

It seems the bluefin really didn’t fire here as much as they did at Bermagui, but with an eddy of 19°-plus water and a current over 3 knots raging, striped marlin and a 20kg mahi mahi were recorded. Yeah, that’s right, marlin and dollies on the South Coast in Winter!

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