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Break out the whiting walkers
  |  First Published: December 2012



I can’t help but think this season will be pay dirt from a few wet years.

With a reasonably dry Spring we should be back into a relatively normal hot Summer pattern. Then again, being weatherman is the only job you can stuff up on a daily basis and still keep!

In the estuaries things have been ticking along nicely. Big dusky flathead fired up in early October and continued through November but with water temps now in the mid 20°s, the bite seems to have tapered for now.

If we don’t get too much Christmas rain, the flats will continue to be productive, particularly for whiting. All that rain last season made it a bit of a dud for surface action in St Georges Basin so let’s hope this year makes up for it.

Best all-round surface lures will be the walk-the-dog styles. Think clear lures such as the Lucky Craft Sammy 65 and NW Pencil, Maria Pencils and the Kozami 60 from Gladiator Tackle, to name a few.

For whiting use 3lb-4lb braid with a 1m leader of 4lb and simply cast onto a sandy flat, curl your finger around the line and wind. The lure must ‘walk’ from side to side and not be skull-dragged.

It’s as easy as pie, so much so my three-year-old daughter can do it. And the good thing is it’s middle-of-the-day stuff with the sun overhead and plenty of wind.

THE RIVER

The Shoalhaven River has been fishing well for bass, school jew and flatties in the lower reaches.

Spring rains did it the world of good and allowed the bass to travel to the upper reaches. While we didn’t get the record 300mm in 24 hours that Ulladulla copped in early Spring, there has been enough to get the bass into the Tallowa Dam fish lift, which means the dam should be hitting its straps right about now.

With no boat traffic allowed on Tallowa, it’s a refreshing change to load up the kayaks and escape the wakeboard madness of the river.

Big carp, or mud marlin as they are affectionately known, are also there in numbers and go pretty hard on light gear and there are plenty of 10kg fish about.

We have been using salted carp fillets as snapper bait with reasonable success. More than one bait-fisho in the Basin uses it so there’s an excuse to go and harvest some bait – and it’s great fun for the kids.

With Tallowa and surrounding dams being stocked with more bass fingerlings this year, these impoundments should go from strength to strength.

JB, OFFSHORE

In Spring we saw a deep bite in 50m-60m for most of the usual species including reds, mowies and flathead. There have been some pretty good days for sport on the salmon around the headlands and good bonito under the cliffs and offshore.

Calamari have been easy targets and the flattie bashers have been feasting.

Jervis Bay seemed to turn the corner in late Spring as big slimy mackerel started to stack up and that horrid green winter dissipated.

Kings should now be holding around Point Perpendicular before filling into the Bay late in the month and staying well into Autumn.

This year will be the telling point in terms of size and numbers. The past few seasons have been exceptional and if that trend continues last year’s regular 6kg-8kg fish will be much bigger.

But last year the inshore reefs also copped a lot of angling pressure, with crews still unaware of possession limits as opposed to bag limits.

For kings and all other saltwater species, the bag limit is the possession limit, in this case of five fish per person, meaning that you are allowed to have only five fish in possession – including in the freezer – at any one time.

It sucks when you see four blokes on a boat bag out day in, day out and not put any back for the future. Go easy, enjoy the fantastic sport fishing, take a feed and put the really big ones back if you can. The fish will take care of the rest.

BILLFISH

With the potential threat of the supertrawler taking vast quantities of bait put on the back burner for now, we can expect the annual run of small black marlin and other pelagics on The Sir John Young Banks.

Reports from way up north indicate good numbers of small fish so by the time that wave reaches us there should be plenty of 100kg fish. While The Banks will resemble a carpark on most good days, I can’t wait for the challenge of a black on spin gear from inside JB.

The Tubes will also resemble the many camp sites located in Huskisson, so if you’re going to be boating in the area around Christmas, give the boys a wide berth of at least 500m in that area just inside Point Perpendicular.

It’s heart-breaking stuff to put in a lot of hard LBG work, only to have some ignorant fool run over the line.

All the best for the silly season and have a safe and piscatorially abundant new year.

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