JB reds atone for kingies
  |  First Published: May 2013

May is a magic month in this part of the world. We’re now in transition time as the air cools, but the bite should still be hot.

Parts of the cycle still seem to be a month or six weeks late and while the kings inside Jervis Bay have been almost a non-event, the snapper certainly haven’t.

The inshore bite on reds over the past month has been a hectic at times as temps offshore were in the mid 20°s but poor old Jervis Bay was stuck in a high teens to 20°.

Even as I write JB was still green, as opposed to the cobalt blue we’ve come to expect at this time of year, but it seems the snapper like the new colour!

Any time after a big blow in Autumn is prime time in shallow for a good red but forget moon predictions, the fish have been on the go all month.

Lures have well and truly produced results, as you can see by Pete Cook’s screamer on beefed-up bream gear on this page.

The reliable berley trail and floaters has also worked a treat for the dedicated bait fishos and dangling a bait in 30m-50m has also produced serious catches of all the usual reef species.

For the serious sport fishers, marlin have been the prime focus. That world-famous LBG ledge inside JB produced quite a few marlin in water that looked like pea soup at times.

Small inshore blacks seem to tolerate sub-20° water and a few fish were landed in 16°-19° water, which is strange to say the least.

My mate Ian ‘Ozzy’ Osterloh and I can lay claim to a black on a handline, which is pretty stupid really. After numerous attempts to catch one on the 20000 Stella, I managed to hook up to some 24kg line in the water while casting a stickbait to the cliffs near The Tubes. We eventually worked out someone on the rocks had just been spooled and started winding the line onto a big hand reel.

About 30 minutes later about a mile south east of Point Perpendicular, we came up tight to black around 80kg which popped the leader when Ozzie tried to trace it. Guess we’ll have to wait another day for IGFA glory.

This month we should still see stripes and big blues out wide if this late-season warm water holds, so pencil in a few sick days or structure your life around your fishing addiction.


The estuary fishing has had its usual pockets of magic – that’s when there are not 200-plus boats on the lake. While the tourism industry is eternally grateful for the economic contribution, the organisers of the Pirtek and BETS events might do well to have different dates next year.

St Georges Basin will always slow with heavy boat traffic and calm conditions. Outside of that weekend, the Basin has been pretty consistent, considering the pressure it now cops.

There has been some insane action on tailor to 80cm on big stickbaits. April-May is prime time as the lake cools.

Late May is also a great time for estuary reds and bream that scavenge in good numbers under the tailor, so it pays to be observant.

I’m hoping the fish are on a lure bite this month, as opposed to a bait bite. Why the fish switch between the two is a bit of a mystery but it does happen regularly.

This is also a great time on the lower parts of the estuaries and on the beaches.

Mullet, bream and blackfish should have run by now and the odd jewie should be patrolling the deep gutters adjacent to shore on those high tides around dawn and dusk. Live tailor or very fresh squid are the gun baits for those silver slabs and those high-tide opportunities will also be enhanced just after a big swell.

Speaking of land-based opportunities, the Marine Estate Authority announcement in March means you can now fish land-based with rod and line from all ocean beaches and headlands in NSW mainland marine parks, with the exception of Burrewarra Point south of Batemans Bay. But please read the fine print on this one or you still risk being fined $500.

All other restrictions apply, including protected species, bag and size limits, gear restrictions and all other Fisheries and marine park and aquatic reserve closures that are currently in place, including special purpose zones.

All other sanctuary zone provisions also apply, such as bans on bait gathering, collecting, fishing for lobsters or abalone, spearfishing or fishing from a boat.

The amnesty applies only to fishing on ocean beaches and headlands and does not include estuaries and embayments. Restrictions also remain in sanctuaries around islands that cannot be reached by land. Visit www.marine.nsw.gov.au for more info.

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