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Kings, marlin and plenty more
  |  First Published: December 2012



If you haven’t got kingfish fever at this time of year then you must have been hiding under a rock for quite some time but January is prime time on the piscatorial calendar to wet a line for just about anything.

For those of us who are obsessed by the lifestyle, marlin will be foremost in the mindset. Reports from up north indicate ridiculous numbers of small blacks, like 100 fish in a week from the Fraser Island coast in November.

Given most of those fish were 30kg-60kg we could be in for a blinder of a season on the South Coast reefs and rock ledges.

About 500m inside Jervis Bay, The Tubes is a land -based mecca for marlin off the rocks. If you’re boating here this month then please give The Tubes a very wide berth and try to be as observant as possible. Too many fish are cut off each year by absent-minded skippers.

A few mates and I have set ourselves the challenge of a baby black from inside Jervis Bay on spin gear. Given the fact that we don’t have a supertrawler sucking up all the bait in the ocean, we might just be in with a chance if the planets align.

If an inshore marlin is not your thing then there are always kingfish.

Each season the JB size class increases so I’m hoping there will be an abundance of 8kg-10kg fish on offer.

Unlike kings to the north, particularly Sydney Harbour, South Coast kings in January prefer slimy mackerel and yakkas over squid. They’ll take squid but the motto ‘find the bait, find the fish’ will ring true.

Fish light to start for more hook-ups; think 30lb braid with 60lb leader.

Have the big guns at arm’s reach and ready when needed; 80lb set-ups are mandatory in tight, rocky country for 10kg-plus fish.

If you haven’t given it a go then tossing big GT poppers and stickbaits into the washes around the cliffs will have your arms stretched.

Don’t forget that the bag limit of five fish is also the possession limit – that includes what’s in the freezer at home. And if you can get your head around it, put back the really big important brood stock over 1m to make more baby hoodlums. Simple stuff, really.

ESTUARY

For the holiday angler a simple mix of bread in a bucket with water for berley, and a bit of bread suspended under a small float off a wharf will bring hours of fun for the kids and kids at heart.

Most often thought of as a baitfish, if cooked fresh the same day the old yellow-eye mullet makes great fish nuggets rolled in flour and shallow fried. Fish as light as you can – think 4lb mono line and use really small hooks.

This is shaping up to drier than the cool, wet Summer of 2012. Last January the surface lure action in St Georges Basin in particular was woeful.

This year is already proving different. The surface bite started in November and I’m hoping the whiting in particular will be finally looking to the surface to feed. They’ve been there for months now; it’s just that they’ve had they’re head down to chew on worms and crustaceans in the sand.

While pumping nippers has been the traditional method for whiting, I’ll back myself with a clear walk-the-dog lure any day of the week when it’s sunny with a strong nor’-easter from noon to 4pm.

If you’re new to the game, use a 2kg-4kg rod with 3lb-4lb braid and a short 4lb leader. Cast with the wind at your back and then simply curl your index finger around the line and wind at a speed which makes the lure walk from side to side and don’t skull-drag it across the surface.

Keep it moving all the way back and don’t stop when you get a follow. Lures of choice for us this summer will be the Kozami 60 from Gladiator tackle and the Lucky Craft NW pencil.

Bass in the Shoalhaven River and all the stocked impoundments, particularly Tallowa Dam, have been producing the goods.

Bay and Basin Sportfishing offers kayak tours on the dam and can be contacted on 0413 610 832.

The upper Shoalhaven has turned up 60cm bass and even a stray yellowbelly, which would have been an escapee from the dam.

Let’s hope the fish lift at the dam is helping the fish get back to the fresh.

Summer is all about surface luring and fly-fishing for bass as they aggressively feed off the surface.

For those in the know, every termite hatch will have them in a flap to get to some sweetwater for a stormy-looking late afternoon surface bite.

As a seafood choice bass rate very poorly. They grow slowly and for that reason there’s a bag limit of two. Most tuned-in anglers choose to release these little barramundi of the south.

On the other side of the equation, break out the corn and a bit of berley for a tussle with a big mud marlin, aka European carp, and kill as many as you like.

We’ve recently had some fun sight casting fish to 8kg well down into the brackish regions of Broughton Creek. They go hard and make great snapper and flattie bait for offshore so get up there and have some fun and do the river a favour and kill a carp today.

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