Bait leaves as predators arrive
  |  First Published: December 2006

The new season looks to be set to follow the trend of the previous two with all of the baitfish concentrations seemingly disappearing just as the big speedsters are about to arrive.

In the weeks leading up to this report there has been a massive decline in visible schools of agitated bait and very few sea birds. Baitfish are obviously smarter than I give them credit for but it stands to reason that they should move on from that prominent point or reef before the kingfish, sharks and other predators decide to show.

The kingfish rumour mill is starting to rumble, with some boats beginning to find some mid-sized fish.

A good sounder and a GPS can prove the difference between a great day and a fishless one when surface bait indicators are absent. Find some good bait balls near the recognised reefs and stick with them. If the kingfish are on patrol you will score sooner or later.

I have often observed kingies to seemingly work a point or reef with a vaguely predictable pattern when there are plenty of them about. We have had days where they show at regular intervals, to the point you could almost set your watch to the next attack.

When this pattern is present you’ll land a few or miss a few and then it is back to waiting for them to return an hour later.

There should be some nice mahi mahi in the deep blue now and any trap buoy, wave rider, the installed FAD or any other surface flotsam should have them in attendance.

Spearfishermen seem to nail a few really big mahi mahi each season so make sure a big livebait gets a swim under a balloon while the little light-tackle fellas are providing the regular entertainment.

Be sure that live offering is on heavier tackle because you might hook a big black marlin in close, as I once did when we were into a school of small dollies just wide of the Tollgates. We were working a series of trap floats in only 50m of water when 70kg to 80kg of angry black marlin took to the air, turning a good day into a great one.

Boaters with their sights aimed at tastier targets will be in search of the likes of small snapper and flathead. The big snapper have been fairly quiet lately but I’m told the flatties have been quite prolific along the recognised deep drifts around Black Rock, Jimmys Island and grounds further south.

There must be good numbers of them because Murray Cooper and his son Jake have been consistently scoring multiple captures of fish well over a kilo off the rocks at low tide working soft plastics along sandy gutters.

Jake recently hooked something on a plastic that was big and angry that had the impression of a good jewfish but turned out to be a decent-sized protected black cod. The fish had a good go at emptying his whole spool of 3kg Fireline but was turned with not much left to spare.

It’s not the only black cod I have heard of being released recently but I won’t say where they have been captured or the marine park maniacs might erect a big razor wire fence around it and throw away the key. The fate of the Batemans Marine park is still not set in stone as but should be known by the time this issue is on the newsstand.


Beach fishos will no doubt be honing their worming skills now that the run of whiting is in full swing. It is a fun day on the beach with the family gathering worms and then bagging a tasty feed of one of the sweetest fish around.

Educating the kids to tread lightly while Dad tries to get the bait will go a long way to keeping frustration levels to a minimum. Little stomping feet in the shallows are a sure way to not catch enough worms for the session and a healthy distraction may prove necessary to get the job done.

As with all Summer outdoor pursuits, be sure that your sun protection is adequate or your day at the beach will be soured by becoming the next beached lobster.

Fishing the beach into the evening should be worthwhile with tailor definitely on the cards and the dreaded bronze whalers will also make their presence felt. Keep a few of those worms for the night and you may well score a nice school jewie if you are really lucky.

If you are travelling to the coast for a holiday, drive safely and take your time, we have far too many roadside memorials littering our highways these days.

Fishing into the night could prove worthwhile too with the odd jewfish to 10kg around.

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