Truly exceptional days
  |  First Published: July 2012

It will be interesting to see what this Winter brings. I’m hoping we’re back into a somewhat ‘dry season’ pattern, with the odd big blow followed by a week or two of stability, as was been the case for the end of Autumn and the start of Winter.

The fish have really co-operated for us lately and we’ve really reaped the benefit of the Summer rains, with some truly exceptional days which have included metre kings, croc-sized flatties and 40cm bream on the one day in both the Bay and the Basin.

If we compare notes with some of our northern correspondents then you’d have to say that we do live in piscatorial heaven here on the South Coast.

For switched-on estuary anglers who understand the importance of fishing light, the Basin has really been a recreational fishing heaven and it continues to surprise daily.

Quality catches of good snapper, bream, monster tailor and a late season bite on the flatties have provided some quality sport fishing and tasty meals for locals and visitors.

The Basin has been the stage for numerous bream tournaments over the past few months including the Berkley Evinrude Teams Series (BETS), an ABT event and this month’s Sussex Inlet Bream Classic.

These catch-and-release lure comps are now an important part of the local economy, particularly during the Winter, and are win-win in terms of the fact that all fish are released back into the system.

The by-catch has also been an eye opener, particularly during the BETS event where Damien Skeen from the Deans Bait and Tackle team managed a 16kg mulloway on 4lb line with 6lb leader on a locally produced FG Blade. The fish was 1.14m long and took an hour to land on the light tackle.

Jewies are somewhat of an enigma in the Basin and haven’t really recovered compared with most other species. In fact they’re as rare as rocking horse droppings.

For the uninitiated, the blade is a vibration lure and is a must-have tool in any good angler’s tackle bag. Wollongong local Fred Green has been manufacturing his own unique brand of quality blades, which have been clocking up some quality catches from jewies to bream. See the boys and Dean’s Bait and Tackle for the complete range or email Fred at --e-mail address hidden--

If we don’t get too much rain this month then light, long leaders for clear water will be the go for the lure-casting brigade.

Good Winter yellowfin bream, trevally, big tailor and blackfish will be present in the lower reaches of most systems and it’s pretty hard to go past a feed of luderick after a session on the floats and green weed.

Make sure you have a berley mix of 20%-30% weed to sand to bring the fish on the chew. See Jamie Robley’s great luderick feature in last month’s issue if you’re new to the game.


Jervis Bay has now cooled to around 17° and that means some big reds will now become viable opportunities on shallow reefs, once the cuttlefish finish their breeding cycle and die off.

Winter is also prime drummer time in this part of the world and for my money they’re some of the best table fish on offer. All you need is a nice bit of wash around a few weed-covered rocks, a bit of bread berley and a peeled cooked prawn on a 1/0 hook with little or no weight cast into the suds.

We do a lot of drummer fishing from the boat so it’s not exclusively a land-based option, although a reliable motor is essential if you’re operating in close. Keep your eye on the swell to be safe.

Pound for pound, drummer are one of the hardest-pulling fish on the coast so pack a 20lb outfit to tangle with the 2kg-plus specimens.

Salmon, bonito and tailor will be present in the washes at the entrance to the Bay along with the odd rat king.

Some big resident kings will also be lurking around the deeper headlands. Some 30kg fish have been taken by spearos and leadliners in the past month.


There has been an appealing current break sitting out to the south-east on all the usual haunts around the continental shelf. Yellowfin tuna have been taken off Bermagui, and Victoria is experiencing a great run of inshore bluefin around 20kg, so our turn may not be far away.

It’s worth mentioning that some quality hapuku and blue-eye trevalla have been there for the taking, with JB local Ron Pickering having a great solo session on fish to 14kg out in the deep recently.

These fish are great on the table, just check the weather and make sure the electric reel is fired up and ready to go.

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