Fingers crossed for SBT
  |  First Published: July 2013

By the time you read this it’s likely that crews will be on the southern bluefin tuna –fingers crossed, of course.

Last year’s diary says that in the first week in July the bluefin between Batemans Bay and Sydney went nuts so today might be time to book an offshore charter.

If you don’t own a boat, another good way to get offshore is to join a game fishing club and be prepared to chip in for fuel and help to clean the boat at the end of the day – if you want to be offered a ride again!

The lure of choice for tuna would be the Rapala X-Rap Magnum 30 in blue sardine, retrofitted with a forward-facing single hook on the front. These lures dive to 9m and can help to bring fish in from a distance.

Top this one off up top with a few skirted Dingoes from Dave Venn’s JB Lures. Have a tub of fresh cubed pillies ready to go and when you hook the first fish, start cubing to keep the school within striking range.

As with all forms of fishing, preparation is the key to success.

Back inshore and the whale migration is in full swing and apparently they taste like chicken! Seriously, at this time of year they have the potential to be the speed hump of a lifetime, even for the most seasoned skippers, so keep a good eye out as you’re travelling.


On the deeper reefs, if bottom bashing is your thing then a leatherjacket rig will be the order of the day. They’re still in plague numbers.

Danny Turner from Silver Star Charters at Greenwell Point might be on the money with his drop-and-wind technique to get a feed of jackets to the table.

Drop your rig down, let it hit the bottom and then wind straight back up. Don’t let it sit on the bottom.

It’s simple stuff and seems not to give the fish a chance to eat the whole rig.

Try using a deep-sea wire rigs, which you can get from McCallum’s in Nowra, with small heavy-gauge long-shank hooks.

The jackets might be pests but they’re good on the table and readily available at a reef near you.

Late June produced its usual doses of big Winter kings in close. While lacking in numbers, the big fish liked downrigged live squid.

If the kings don’t play the game, a peeled prawn flicked into a wash on a calm day straight after a bit of weather will produce some nice pigs and the odd red, depending on the moon phase.

For the sport fishers, beaches like Target and Steamers will have good-sized salmon in the shallows. Fish lightly-weighted soft stickbaits and slow sinking hard stickbaits on 2kg-4kg gear for line-burning fun.

For fly anglers these sambos are great sport with plenty of spectacular sight-casting opportunities on offer in calm, shallow water.


The estuaries will be well and truly cool and for lure casting blades might be the weapons of choice. For whatever reason, they seemed to be less effective in the past few seasons but if our recent experience is anything to go by, this season may be different.

Blades around 35mm in darker colours, used with short, consistent hops, should work.

The old saying that elephants eat peanuts rings true and many a large dusky flathead and jewfish has been caught each season on bream gear.

Try the shallow weed edges for bream, whiting, flathead and maybe the odd luderick. You will need to fish light with a 2kg-4kg rod, 3lb main line and 5m of 4lb leader.

The flatties in particular will get up in the shallows for a bit of warmth and will also happily eat a slowly twitched hardbody, with pink tending to catch more pan-sized lizards than bream.

Slowly trolling a deep-diving pink or black and gold lure for flatties on the lower tides in the bottom reaches of the Shoalhaven River and tidal creeks seems to have gone out of fashion but it still does the trick.

Using a light drag, simply just put the boat into gear and hold the rod to feel the lure if it gets fouled with weed. It’s easy and great fun for the kids, and a great way to put a feed of tasty flattie fillets on the Winter dinner table.



Top to the list for every angler this month is to have your say on the proposed changes to size and bag limits in NSW. I can’t help but think that this could definitely change the way we fish in NSW, so get involved and have your say.

Visit the Fisheries website for a copy of the discussion paper and to comment online or get down to your local bait and tackle shop and get a copy today. Submissions close on July 31.

With proposals to slash many bag limits in half, the angling community appears to be divided on the issue. Whatever your preference get in and have your say today.

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