Red rewards
  |  First Published: June 2013

With frigid westerly winds blowing off distant snow-capped mountains, often only the keenest anglers are on the water now, so most boat ramps, beaches, rock ledges and estuaries will see less angler presence and less pressure on fish stocks.

Snapper are the big drawcard this month, with decent schools already congregating in the shallows.

Working big soft plastics throughout the shallows will result in some serious line-burning action on reds. Plenty of 5kg-7kg fish have already been succumbing to softies.

Anything from 3m to about 15m is what I'd define as swallows. The fish will also be spread out into the deeper water but there is no comparison in the adrenaline stakes when you hook a big angry red in shallow water. It's only got one way to run and it does it fast!

Catch that same fish in, say, 70m and it is an up-and-down slugfest before barotrauma cripples the fish and it floats up.

I will again opt to chase land-based reds with plastics rather than bait to see if I can score a real size fish on artificials. My PB to beat is 4.5kg.

With changes to the sanctuary park zones I am also keen to chase snapper off a few favourite beaches, too with the long rods and a big cast.


Kingfish have been firing recently with heaps of fish to 12kg captured and plenty of bigger specimens easily winning their freedom.

Recent flurries of kingfish have been captured on jigs, plastics, trolled lures and live bait. The smallest fish I have heard of was 8kg, so it pays to be prepared.

I have been slow-trolling live baits in my kayak offshore on clam and safe days in hope of finding them but so far they have eluded me. The fish seem to bite fiercely for about three days, then shut their mouths again for a week.

Bonito numbers are still good and the continual sprays of fleeing sauries are a good indication that the kings are nearby.

There should still be enough lingering warmth in the ocean for a few more shots at the kingfish and I'm pretty excited about the prospect of getting towed by over a metre of kingfish in the 'yak.

Hopefully the yellowfin tuna are running by now, along with a good showing of albacore similar to last season. There have been some early signs of a good tuna run with some decent fish taking trolled lures.

I put in a heck of a lot of cubing and trolling hours in last season and never even saw a yellowfin, so this season can get no worse!

I expect another cracker season on the southern bluefin, however, as they have been going off down in the southern states.

Our run is usually very short, sometimes only a few weeks. If you are keen to mix it with these fish, a flexible timetable and being able to head out at a moment’s notice will be the best way to get in the thick of the action.

I've missed out for the past two years through various reasons so I'm hoping to change that this time round.


The jewfish in the Clyde River are still worth a look with numerous captures by day on plastics. The fish mostly have been sub-10 kg but by night the bait-soakers have been snaring the odd 15kg fish.

There are still some straggling yellowfin bream taking surface lures in the creeks but you have to cover some ground to find them. Black bream, however, will be abundant in the dark backwaters around submerged timber.

The last time I went in search of bass we saw multiple schools of fish over 40cm cruising in open water, often right under our kayaks, but could manage only a few missed strikes and dropped fish.

It is incredibly frustrating to see fish and not be able to get a bite from them.

I'm not a fan of chasing them in cold water so my bass gear has been packed away ready for next season.

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