The Winter fishing was pretty good in this part of the world but it’s at this time of year that the water temp will rise and kick-start the cycle of the spring season.
Winter was a pretty mild affair with the odd day in shorts and T-shirts but now the all-day chill will subside and give way to warm sunshine and a good wake-up call for a changing of the guard.
My diary notes that the kings were present in Jervis Bay all year. While they may be harder to tempt on soft plastics in cooler water, a downrigged live squid around the cliffs in Winter put you in the ballpark for a 10kg-20kg fish.
One particular batch of pictures doing the rounds of a line-captured 41kg king should raise more questions than answers as to why we don’t have slot limits to protect large breeding stock, but credit where it is due for an amazing capture.
Overall JB has fished pretty well lately with some bottom-bashers bagging out on flatties in the Bay even in mid-Winter.
If you’re not drifting then anchor up on the sand with the right tide and run a few floaters back down a berley trail towards where the sand meets the reef.
As well as picking up a feed of reds, the kingfish, salmon, and the odd gummy shark 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 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 of us 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 rough weather and big swell.
One thing’s for sure, salmon averaging 1kg-3kg are a year-round option and put a good bend in a rod when everything else has stopped.
Target and Steamers beaches have seen big schools in shallow chewing on surface lures and flies.
The real standout lure in this case has been the Sébile Stick Shadd 90sk in blood red blue. These can be worked as a surface or sub-surface lures and regularly outfish conventional plastics and metal slices. Having guided Patrick Sébile last year on Jervis Bay to a pending IGFA record salmon, he claimed it was his favourite lure.
Now we should 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, as stripies feed on small baitfish. Also try trolling Rapala XR-8s 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 1/6oz jig head with a 3” Gulp Swimming Grub in pumpkinseed. You will surprise yourself when targeting the sandy patches in less than 2m of water.
This month marks the start of the bass and estuary perch season and I am champing at the bit for an overnight kayak trip down the Shoalhaven.
Bay and Basin Sportfishing kayak guide Darryl Head knows the river and Tallowa Dam like the back of his hand and will put you in the zone for a memorable session on bass in some stunning South Coast wilderness. Email him at --e-mail address hidden-- or call 0413 610 832.
I’m also hoping the Tallowa Dam fish lift is working, which will help the bass fishing go from strength to strength under these favourable recruitment conditions.
Over Winter those targeting bream have caught and released some absolute horses as by-catch.
Early Spring rain will help the fish migrate into the fresh and before you know it the surface lure fishing season will be upon us.
Towards the end of this month we will start to see some of the bigger ‘crocodile’-sized flathead stir as the water warms. Remember these are large breeding females so do the right thing and put them back.
Overall St Georges Basin has been challenging recently, with the bait fishos faring slightly better than the lure casters.
Early Spring has the potential to change this and we could see those 30-40-fish sessions again with a shift back to an edge bite as opposed to the monotony of blading in the deep.
Out wide has produced patches of brilliance in between westerlies and big swell. Some good water in late July and early August saw plenty of striped and albacore tuna, with patches of amazing bluefin action between Batemans Bay and Sydney for those that put in the effort.
If there’s any crew that have some good stories and want their pictures in the mag, email me on the address at the top of the page.
SHOALHAVEN OCTOBER EXPO
The inaugural Shoalhaven Fishing and Boating Expo, sponsored by Shimano, will be held at Nowra City Church in McMahons Road from 5pm on Friday, October 12 and from 10am-4pm Saturday.
Get along to hear Bushy, Brett Wilson and Chris Cleaver talk about catching the fish of a lifetime. Wes Murphy will be there with his pizza oven, as will Dash’s Coffee Truck.
On Saturday there will be displays by Southern Rivers CMA, Dave Hill Marine with Evinrude motors and Sea Jay Boats, Bay and Basin Sportfishing with their Hobie trailer, the Shimano fish tank and the new McCallum’s Tackleworld fish fighting simulator. There will also be a Kids fishing clinic which will include casting competitions and fishing lessons.
The kids must register before the day either at McCallum’s, Dave Hill Marine or online --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 1820