Coastal calm restored
  |  First Published: February 2013

While our coastal regions recognise that tourism is one of our most valuable economical assets, come February we’re all pretty glad to have the beaches back to ourselves and no mid-week queues at the boat ramp.

Considering the January onslaught, the fishing held up pretty well.

For switched-on anglers who understand the necessity of fishing very light in the estuary, the rewards were there in the form of bream and kilo snapper, which seemed to show up in the local lakes in late December.

Combine that with an outstanding run of prawns and you’re getting towards the perfect estuary seafood basket.

The really unusual thing about the prawn run has been prawns free-swimming on the surface in the middle of the lake and bream feeding off the surface in the middle of St Georges Basin in broad daylight, normally something that you’d associate with an edge bite.

Canny fishos have converted accurate casts into results, with 2”-3” prawn imitation lures and lightly weighted 1/12oz jigheads doing the job.

Not to be outdone, the Basin’s big tailor have been viable targets in the pre-dawn and dusk on big surface poppers and Rapala X-Rap Walks rigged on a short 60lb leader for insurance.

As a sport fish, they’re as explosive as they get and when they get to 70cm-90cm can be a real handful on 10lb tackle.

The Shoalhaven River has also fished reasonably well in what has been a relatively dry Summer up to mid-January.

Flathead have been best on the last hour of the run-out tide on the edges, and some good mixed bags including school jew around some structure near Nowra have been taken when conditions were right.

Further upstream, the bass have been hitting the surface with a vengeance with the Maria Pencil in the BBOM colour an absolute standout and a must for bream and bass at this time of year.


Offshore action started to kick into gear in early January, with the odd small beakie been taken from The Block to The Banks.

The 20° water has taken a while to clear out but by the time you read this we should have well and truly had our first 24°-25° push of Coral Sea stuff and the South Coast carpark on The Banks will be in full swing, and why the hell not?

How good is the experience when trailer-boat warriors can be on the scene in 15 minutes from the nearest ramp with one arm on the tiller and the drag screaming in the other in an attempt to chase down a small beakie – that’s if you call a 100kg fish small.

One would think we would have inshore kings eating all sorts of offerings about now, with live slimy mackerel and yakkas the live baits of choice.

If you haven’t given it a go then sport fishing for big kings on soft plastics is intense.

My all-time favourite rod for 8kg-10kg fish is the G Loomis Forcelite FLBSR875 S 7’3” Heavy with a 5000 or 6000 Shimano Saragosa or Stradic, 30lb braid with 2m-3m of 40lb-60lb Black Magic leader via a slim beauty knot.

I use 1oz 8/0 jig heads with big white plastics such as the 9”Silstar Slapstix in pearl.

You can fish plastics throughout the water column from surface to the depths. They are very versatile and can be adjusted to suit the situation you are facing.

If all else fails, grab a handline and a bit of carp for bait and head out to 30m-50m and dong a few flathead on the head. That’ll put a great feed on the table.

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