The marlin season down here got off to a pretty patchy start in January. We were plagued by strong northeast winds for most of the month. This, along with some very cold water inshore didn’t help things and many visiting anglers who had intentions of chasing a black at The Banks went home disappointed.
A few blacks were taken at The Banks but the fishing was quite patchy. Many days were marginally fishable due to the 25 to 30 knot northeasters, and when you did get out there it was hit-and-miss depending on water temperature. One day would be 18C and dead while the next could be 22C and see a few fish hooked.
The Shelf wasn’t much better with variable water temperatures and no bait to speak of. Jervis Bay did turn on some great fishing on the odd day in January with quite a few blacks to 120kg taken at The Tubes.
I fished one day between Christmas and New Year on Juzrah, a beautifully maintained 42ft Precision run by Brian Aulsebrook from Huskisson. We trolled big lures all day around the Canyons and ended up with one small yellowfin and two marlin raised. One got off almost straight away but the other fish was tagged and released by Peter Sharland on 37kgo stand-up tackle after providing some excellent photos and video footage.
That fish ate a Jo Yee Apollo (in Evil colours), which would have to be one of the most successful marlin lures ever designed. It got me keen enough to have Dave Venn of JB Marlin Lures make me up several new lures the following week. They included a Cross Breed and a Big Dingo in Evil colours and a Taipan in brown and pink. Dave even put our new boat name, Voodoo, on the Big Dingo for me and it looks a treat. All are rigged on 400lb Momoi leaders with 10/0 and 12/0 Mustad 7691S hooks set at 90. Dave’s lures have a 10-year track record down here for producing a lot of fish, and if you’re interested you can see the range at www.jbmarlinlures.com or phone Dave on (02) 4441 6377 at JB Tackle at Huskisson.
Jervis Bay produced some pretty good fishing over the holiday period and into February. Most anglers looking for a fed of squid didn’t go home empty handed and neither did the flathead drifters. Everyone seemed to be catching a feed, which was good to see. With limited launching facilities around the Bay most ramps were pretty well packed though and the odd idiot who had no idea about launching or retrieving a boat didn’t help.
I fished the Bay a few days after New Years Day and we got a feed of squid along with several reds to almost 3kg on plastics in some blustery and wet conditions. We found one little patch of fish out near Long Nose Point and it was a hit every cast at one stage when we could get near them in a 20-knot wind. Not an easy job in a Stabi-Craft 659 Super Cab and no electric!
The Shoalhaven River and St Georges Basin are also fishing well at present for bream and flathead, with some nice fish being taken on Berkley and Squidgy plastics. Some of the new Berkley Gulps are absolutely mind-blowing. There is some debate about whether they are actually a lure or a bait, but there’s no denying that the shads, minnows and nipper imitations are setting new standards in how effective a soft plastic lure can be. The colour range and texture of these lures has to be seen to be believed.
The inshore scene hasn’t been too shabby over the past month or two despite the cold water. Most of the inshore reefs have been producing a few reds and mowies for the bottom plonkers. The Mud and The Shallows have both been fishing well for reds and producing the odd king to boot.
The Banks area has been just about inundated with kingfish for the past few months, and most anglers who have had a go with jigs or livebaits have done pretty well on fish to 10kg. The average size on most days has been around 4-6kg, and fish that size are good eating and great fun on lighter tackle. Some bigger fish have been taken and anyone who spends a bit of time out there has been blown away at some time or another.
Kings aren’t the only fish grabbing jigs either. An angler fishing in a 5m centre console by himself hooked a marlin in January and landed it on threadline jig tackle. I didn’t get all the story but I believe it was in the 80kg size range. Not sure if it was taken or released but still a very good fish on threadline tackle.
With Autumn just around the corner the fishing won’t be backing off. You can expect to see a few jewies in the river and on the beaches in the next month or two along with a heap of pelagics inshore. These will include salmon, bonito, tailor and small tuna such as frigate mackerel and mack tuna.
Most of the rocky headlands will be worth a go with small metal lures but if you‘ve got a boat that’s even better. We normally get out and chase them around the entrance to the Crookhaven River from a small tinnie, which is great fun.
Also worth a look at are bream, blackfish and drummer from the rocks. There will also be some nice kings from the rocks for the LBG anglers along with all that pelagic action, and even a few reds. The reds will also be around for the inshore boat anglers fishing with floaters or plastics.
Hopefully I’ll have my new boat sometime this month. After several boat-less months I’ll be hanging out to get it fitted up and into some action. If the striped marlin hang around long enough my new JB Lures should get a workout, but if not we’ll be out there chasing some yellowfin or tossing plastics at the snapper inshore.
Graham Todd with a nice king taken jigging at The Banks.
I’d sleep with these JB Lures under my pillow if my wife would let me! From top to bottom. Cross Breed, Taipan, Big Dingo and Pink Chook.
The marlin season had a patchy start but the team on Juzrah managed to find a few stripes at the JB Canyons in early January. This 70kg fish took a Jo Yee Apollo in Evil colours, and was tagged and released.Reads: 1987