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Hot times ahead
  |  First Published: December 2012



There are hot times ahead this month.

Warm ocean currents bring pelagic fish to feast on the masses of baitfish that school up from well inshore to beyond the continental shelf.

Along the rocky shores and inshore reefs you can expect kingfish of all sizes to be chasing schools of yellowtail, slimy mackerel, squid or pilchards.

Bonito should also be cruising the washes, chasing smaller prey like whitebait.

The choice of lures to target these fish is endless so grab yourself a mix of different ones and have some fun experimenting on what will work.

Live bait is deadly and will often account for above-average fish.

Offshore it will be all about marlin and the bulk of the action will occur in the 70-100 fathom zone.

Switch-baiting with live slimy mackerel while trolling hookless teasers is one of the better ways to get a solid hook-up but trolling lures still accounts for lots of fish.

The past two seasons wide of The Bay have been sensational on marlin and I expect this season to be no different.

There seem to be plenty of small black marlin action occurring in Queensland so hopefully we will see a good inshore run, too.

ESTUARIES

The local estuaries just keep getting better as we kick off the New Year.

Flathead continue to impress with plenty of 50cm-70cm fish taking soft plastics in the shallows and along the deep drop-offs. Huw Michael scored a PB of 96cm from his kayak recently and it was released in good health.

Speaking of kayak fishing, I have been putting in plenty of hours trying to score my first jewfish in the yak. Rain forced us to down tools recently, which proved to be the turning point in the quest for a yak caught jewie.

My workmate Etienne opened the account with a neat little 4kg fish on the second cast of the session, then 15 minutes later I was hooked up to a significantly larger fish that took me an honest 10 minutes to beat. It fish measured just over 1m and weighed 10kg.

This was the start of a great run that produced at least a fish landed every day for the next eight days. Most were released.

RESEARCH

Fisheries research has been continuing on the Clyde River with several more jewfish being surgically implanted with acoustic transmitting tags. The best fish, captured by Etienne DeCelis, went a whopping 18kg and 1.2m long.

Andrew Badullovich also snuck up for a day and scored a 15kg fish taken on a trolled deep diving lure.

Acoustic tags have also been placed into flathead and whiting in the Clyde to track their movements and behaviour.

Each fish also has an external tag visible so if you happen to catch a fish with a tag in it, be sure and contact Dylan Van Der Meulen at the Batemans Bay Fisheries office because the internal acoustic tags are not cheap.

During a recent outing we managed to catch another 10 whiting for tagging, with a few of those around 40cm and fat and healthy.

The technique was dead simple: Drift with live nippers on small circle hooks either side of low tide. Baits rarely lasted more than a few seconds before you hooked a whiting, bream, or flathead.

We even caught a bunch of big spiky blowfish, flounder, stingrays and silver biddies.

If you want to get the kids onto some simple and fun fishing drifting with nippers is a top option and with circle hooks the fish do all the work for you.

BASS

Bass will be going off this month. With hot days and as rising barometer, surface luring for these hard-hitting natives is hard to beat.

Last year we scored some mind-blowing topwater action, particularly over the Australia Day long weekend.

What better way to spend the celebrated day than chasing one of our country’s iconic fish! You can bet I will be doing the same again this year, trying to find the elusive 50cm-plus wild surface bass.

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