It’s all good holiday fun
  |  First Published: December 2006

With the holiday season in full swing things will be pretty busy on the water here – all the usual stuff, dozens of boats racing around the rivers and estuaries, a big increase in rock and beach anglers along with a heap of boats outside drifting for reds and flathead.

Fishing is pretty good at the moment with a fair bit of bait about in the river and outside so hopefully everyone will be enjoying themselves and caching a feed. Of course with the influx of visitors and occasional anglers come all the usual dramas of boat ramp delays, cantankerous outboard motors, boat trailers that don’t do what they are supposed to and then a good dose of sunburn at the end of the day. It’s all good fun and part of Summer holidays.

For someone who doesn’t fish a lot of comps, I fished two in two weekends back in November. The first was the Shoalhaven GFC Light Tackle Tournament out of Greenwell Point, an annual game tournament where maximum allowable tackle is 15kg. In years past, the emphasis has been on kingfish and yellowfin tuna.

The kings at The Banks were quiet but the yellowfin and albacore out over the shelf provided most boats with great action. I fished with Chris Pender and Brian Aulsebrook on Juzra and we accounted for more than 20 albacore and yellowfin in a day and a half, most tagged and released on the troll.

Brian fought a 35kg to 40kg ’fin for over half an hour before the circle hook let go at the boat and nearly collected us. My daughter, Rebecca, fished with her brother, Andrew, on Terry Harvey’s Deceiver, which tagged a few yellowfin and weighed in one of 17.8kg on 10kg and Bec took out the junior section. The hard luck story should go to Mitchell Ryan, who decided not to fish the comp but headed out and landed a 28kg ’fin on 10kg that would have taken out the topurnament.

The second comp was the McCallum’s Shoalhaven River BFJ (bream, flathead, jewfish) tournament in the Shoalhaven River when 28 boats with two-person teams competed. Some struggled to find fish but others weighed in big bream and nice flathead and all were weighed or measured live and released. Winning team was Brendan Parrish and Steve Gill followed by Craig Johnston and Nick Ray. Best bream was a 1.4kg thumper taken by Nick Ray and Paul Davies took out the biggest flathead with a 62 cm model.

Most of the winning fish came from Broughton Creek and down around Orient Point. The day was a great success and most anglers will be hoping this becomes a regular event. Congratulations to Gavin McCallum, Basin Lure and Fly Anglers and all the volunteers who made the day a great success, along with sponsors including Shimano, Daiwa and Penn.


The Nowra area has a strong boat-building industry and two manufacturers of plate aluminium fishing boats have recently set up here. Predator Boats until recently were based at Gerringong but Rod Smith recently relocated to bigger South Nowra premises and is putting out some very well-made fishing hulls in plate aluminium for commercial and recreational anglers. Some of their hardtop and centre cabin boats are very impressive.

A new player on the scene is Cougar Craft, also manufactured at South Nowra and sold through Nowra Power Boats. Mark Lubbock has spent 12 years building plate boats in WA and his range includes side console, cuddy cabin and hardtop models from 5m to 6.8m. I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about Cougar Craft in the near future.


Most weekends from Wollongong to Ulladulla you’ll hear the name El Bandito mentioned on marine radio frequencies as Greg Barea and his crew chase marlin , yellowfin, mahi mahi and sharks. Over the past decade Greg has shot video of the fishing action and the best footage has been put together on a DVD. Some of the footage on Small Boat – Big Sharks captures good action on mako, tiger and whaler sharks from small boats. With makos and tigers to almost 300kg this DVD lacks nothing in the action department. Visit www.elbanditofishing.com.au to order a copy.

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