The New Year marks the start of the marlin season and there are good signs already.
Vast numbers of baitfish are hanging on the reefs just inside the continental shelf where the upwelling currents hit the drop-off.
Tuross Canyons, the Kink and the Twelve Mile Reef are prime areas to target striped, black and blue marlin.
Trolling lures is a good way of finding fish and then you can change to live bait. Switch baiting will cover both options, giving you the advantage of covering ground with teaser lures to bring fish within range of the pitch baits.
This is an exciting way to catch marlin and if you haven’t tried it yet, find someone who can show the finer details.
Out on the 1000-fathom line, big blue marlin are feeding on striped tuna. Lures often work well for these big fish. Don’t expect a lot of action, although when you do encounter a fish, expect it to be explosive.
We haven’t seen a lot of small black marlin inshore for some years but this season there are signs that they’re back, giving small-boat anglers an opportunity to mix it with a billfish.
You are likely to also encounter mako, whaler and hammerhead sharks. If you wish to catch hammerheads, check Fisheries regulations and ensure you can identify the protected species.
The reefs south of Bermagui and up at Montague Island have schools of pilchards, attracting kingfish in reasonable numbers. These areas also have the usual reef candidates like snapper, morwong, perch and flathead.
Just off the beaches, sand flatties and gummy sharks are on the chew, especially north off Tilba around The Step.
There is some fantastic estuary action, especially in Wallaga Lake. Because prawns are prolific in our lakes and rivers, the fish are on the chew big-time and water temps have jumped dramatically in the upper reaches.
Anglers working the back sections of Wallaga around weed beds adjacent to points have been experiencing some cricket-score flathead catches with prawn style plastics and hard lures.
There are also some nice bream, plenty of lure-destroying tailor and the occasional jewfish in the deeper water.
Bait fishos have plenty of action over the flats using nippers, worms or live prawns or mullet. Whiting, luderick, mullet and trevally are also responding well to these baits, as are some of the largest flounder I’ve seen in a while.
A burley of tuna, slimy mackerel or pilchards will bring most of these fish to you, as well as tasty garfish. A small piece of prawn under a float is all you need to catch the gar.
With so many prawns in the estuaries you can be assured they will run to the ocean. Anyone wishing to acquire a good feed of prawns can work the falling tide at night around the new moon.
Areas worth a look include Cuttagee, Wallaga, Barragoot, Tilba and Corunna lakes.