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It’s crocodile time!
  |  First Published: October 2011



With Spring now definitely in the air, the call can be officially made – It’s crocodile time! Not the type with the big teeth that they find up north, but the XOS flathead type.

If you had to set a benchmark on what defines a ‘croc’ in my book it’s any flattie over 80cm.

October and November are absolute prime time here to be targeting these apex estuary predators.

Bear in mind that any fish over 60cm is more than likely a prime breeding female, so do the right thing, support the body, take a photo, and release these big girls if you can.

For more in-depth info on dusky flathead simply Google ‘reproduction and growth of dusky flathead in NSW estauries’ and you will come across Dr Charles Gray’s paper on the subject. It’s a must for any estuary angler who targets this species.

ESTUARY

With the water temp now well and truly on the way up the estuaries have kicked into gear and this month we should see bait being drawn into most systems.

With the warming effect comes renewed activity from big duskies as they come out of their Winter slumber and feed with aggression around their spawning time.

Having said that, most systems on this part of the coast have had a good Winter flattie bite of table fish.

With the bait stacked up in the lower reaches of most rivers, the next two months provide some of the best time to target jewfish on plastics during the day, with slack water before a tide change at your favourite location the go.

Bream have finally come in from the headlands and beaches and a good berley trail will enable most bait fishos to easily bring home a feed form most local estuaries.

It amazes me how much these little scrappers are worth to our coastal economies as sport fish these days.

St Georges Basin has seen its fair share of catch-and-release tournament traffic over the Winter, and a sincere thank you for every one of these teams that travelled to the area and spent money on fuel, food, accommodation, tackle, etc.

Not to be out done by the boaters, the ABT Daiwa-Hobie Bream Kayak Series has also staged an event and the 44 entrants were testament as to why ’yak fishing is now one of the country’s fastest growing water sports.

Congratulations to Hobie’s Greg Lewis, who claimed his unprecedented sixth tournament win for the season, the man is on fire!

Conditions over Winter were challenging in the bream department but this month we will see that change. Most fish will now start to look to the surface for a feed – time to dust off the surface lures.

We’ll talk more about it next month but the gun estuary surface lures would have to be the Maria Pencil in bright pink and the Lucky Craft Sammy 65 in green.

JERVIS BAY

The bay has been ticking along OK.

For the bottom-bashers, some good sand and tiger flathead have been on the chew from early September. Drifting in 20m to 40m of water with paternoster rigs and squid strips will produce bag limits easily.

For the lure throwers, try the sand patches in the weed beds around the Bay for some good shallow-water lizards.

Most anglers favour deeper options for bigger fish, often overlooking the shallows and the fringes of the bay.

Size your gear down and flick it in shallow in Spring for a good feed of JB calamari and flattie tails – it doesn’t get any better!

Sport fishers will also find plenty of bonito, salmon and tailor around the washes of most headlands near the entrance, and this year still rates as one of the most productive in recent times for year-round big kings under the cliffs.

Also bear in mind that in October it’s possible to have up to 30 humpback whales and calves inside Jervis Bay on their southern migration. All jokes about ‘tasting like chicken’ aside, they can be major hazards to navigation for the absent-minded skipper.

Respect the legal 300m distance from mums and calves and take your time; you’ll get there eventually.

OFFSHORE

Further offshore and to the north-east, The (Sir John Young) Banks has seen it’s fair share of current, as usual. In between eddies there have been plenty of mixed-bag days.

We had an interesting day recently on the well-appointed 55’ Illusion. Enough of this hanging under the cliffs and getting smashed in a trailer boat business, I want plenty of swinging room, a microwave, hot coffee and bunk for a nanna nap!

I’m getting sidetracked, I know, but the day started at The Block for the usual jigging for kings and we weren’t setting the world on fire.

So it was out with the ‘bream’ gear on the little LOX Rod with 10lb braid and 14lb leader and off we went, sending these great little Williamson Yabbai octopus-style jigs down 90m.

The results were fantastic, if not just for the sport. The tally was kings to 74cm, bonito, bakers, jackets, nannygai, reds, and flathead on a day when live baits and squid strips on heavier gear weren’t really producing.

Yes, the adage of ‘no run, no fun’ applied about the current but at least we put a bend in a rod and had laugh.

Not a lot to report in the way of tuna lately but those in the know don’t really need to be told to watch the temp breaks on the internet and go when you can.

There have been patches of good bluefin and yellowfin to 80kg but it just hasn’t been consistent.

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