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It’s all systems go1
  |  First Published: April 2013



You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but the South Coast at this time of year. From the blue water to the bass water, it’s all systems go.

It’s been an interesting Summer/Autumn with many species, from the big dusky flathead to the kingfish and other pelagics, showing up later than we’ve come to expect.

Although the kingfish have been holding on the cliffs since Spring, they took their time to fill in over the inshore reefs and shallows.

While slimy mackerel and yakkas have been the gun baits in previous years, the big kings have taken a liking to squid this year.

Braid of 80lb and 130lb leader on some high-quality spin gear is essential to stop those all-too-frequent 10kg-plus fish.

What has also been evident this year is the lack of surface feeding yakkas and slimies. With a drier season earlier, nutrient levels could be well down and hence the macro life that feeds the baitfish might be less abundant.

There have been big numbers of ‘pencil’ sized slimies and a good run of pilchards in Jervis Bay, although reports of marlin inside the bay harassing bait balls have been scarce. However, my clients and I saw a free-jumping black miles inside the bay, so they are there.

Offshore, The Banks has been pretty slow but that should change. Stripes had been taken in sporadic numbers around The Kink but everyone knows the fickle nature of these fish. A hot bite is just around the corner and there should be memorable days this month.

ESTUARY

Although most of the action has focused on the blue water, the calm water has also produced. The Shoalhaven River has fished reasonably well with good flatties around the islands and more than enough bream and bass to keep smiles on the dials of the surface lurers.

Down the road, St Georges Basin hosted the inaugural Australian Fishing Tackle Association Pollie/Celebrity Fishing Challenge. The brainchild of AFTA CEO Allan Hansard, it was a great opportunity to showcase the success of the Basin as a recreational fishing haven since the removal of commercial fishing, and the positive benefits it has on the community.

It was also a great way to engage with our politicians as a collective group at a time when, federally at least, we are being locked out of vast tracts of the Australian coastline without proper consultation or scientific assessment.

Thanks so much to the celebrities who took their time to attend, particularly iFish’s Paul Worsteling, Fishing Australia’s Rob Paxevanos, Adventure Bound’s Scott Gray and Adam ‘Mad Dog’ Royter.

Thanks to all the pollies who took the time to attend including Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson, who is tasked with shaping the future of fisheries management in NSW.

To everyone else who made the event a success, including some of the country’s best bream tournament anglers, you know who you are and thank you once again.

The event was a huge amount of fun and light-hearted entertainment and the fish played the game in blustery conditions.

The event was run as an ABT catch-and-release tournament and won by team Jarvis Walker, headed by some halfwit posing as a local fishing guide with a bag of 3.01kg for five bream.

The Basin has produced the goods this Autumn with some champagne estuary snapper, whiting on surface walkers, and some big tailor on bream gear in the deep.

You know where you’d rather be today, don’t you? Go on, take a day off and hitch up the boat!

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