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Party time on the water
  |  First Published: December 2013



Water temperatures have increased dramatically offshore, in the estuaries and the freshwater sections. Now, with the heat being on, combined with school holidays, it’s party time and fish are at the top of the guest list.

No matter what type of fishing you enjoy or what species you wish to pursue it’s all good. It should stay this way and even improve over the up and coming months.

Offshore, marlin numbers are increasing as they follow the many bait schools now prolific along our parts of the coastline. As this season has already shown, fish are where you find them, with yellowfin tuna being captured in 12 fathoms of water within 200m off Bermagui main headland.

Look for the signs, as one particular day most of the game boats went straight past the obvious signs of gannets circling and diving on a bait school, which indicated to seasoned skippers that fish were in the area resulting in multiple hook ups. Although this instance occurred very close to shore the same scenario can happen out and beyond the Continental Shelf with the 12 Mile Reef being most prolific for striped marlin at present.

Trolling lures in the early part of the season will account for many hook ups and, more importantly, indicate to anglers where the fish are concentrated. This will allow different methods in which to pursue this species like live or switch baiting.

Blue marlin are also a regular visitor to our waters in January were they are often found wide in the deeper canyons. Lures are by far the best way to locate this species and by doing so other fish, such as albacore, yellowfin, striped tuna, mahi mahi or even a short billed spearfish, can be a welcome by-catch.

The bait schools that make the fishing so prolific in this area may consist of slimy mackerel, pilchards, yellowtail, white bait through to your smaller tuna species, like striped or mac tuna and frigate mackerel. This bait will also attract smaller predators in the form of kingfish and bonito, which are at present up at Montague Island or along the coastline were they are joined by schools of salmon, with some nice tailor thrown in.

Baitfish don’t always stay on the surface and when they go deep other reef or bottom dwelling species have their chance to feed. Tiger flathead will often have yellowtail or mackerel inside them and it is quite surprising just how big a baitfish they can swallow. So find the bait were you can to be sure the flathead are not far behind.

Most other forms of reef fishing are also on the cards at present with good snapper, plenty of morwong, some gummy sharks and the odd kingfish combined with an assortment of less desirable species making up the bag.

On shore activity is fairly hectic too, with the beaches and estuaries primed and fishing well. Along the coast, schools of salmon are providing plenty of entertainment for kids on holidays with these hard fighting fish frequenting most beaches. The simple old paternoster rig with the humble pilchard will account for most, while lures may provide faster and more energetic action. Not to be out done schools of bream, whiting and mullet are also around providing fun and dinner on a lighter scale.

The place the kids can really have some fun is in the estuaries. The waters are warm, which have the fish fired up, and with the abundant food supplies available anglers are finding it pretty easy going. Most of your common species are available with most lakes and rivers producing.

The estuaries are so good this season as a result of the amount of prawns around at present. Nearly all the systems have their share, so if you are visiting the area this season get geared up to take the kids prawning as you won’t be disappointed, and they taste just great.

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