March back the mayhem
  |  First Published: March 2014

Now is the best time of year to get out and wet a line! The summer school holidays are well and truly over leaving local waterways less crowded with water loving holidaymakers.

The weather pattern is at its most stable with the days sunny and warm and the nights just starting to cool off. For those who love to venture offshore the summer winds have dissipated meaning more fishable days with time spent out on the water ever increasing. Getting blown off the water by midday is now a forgone conclusion.

The big news on the salt would have to be schools of southern bluefin tuna making what seems like an early visit to our offshore waters. It is indeed the earliest start to the SBT season we have seen. So far the schools of tuna are not common and the fish caught are only averaging around 6kg but as the days march on this will only improve.

More boaters are choosing to bottom bounce out wide in depths averaging around 600m for species such as hapuka, blue-eye, trevalla, blue grenadier, Tassie trumpeter and the little known but equally delicious knife jaw. Weights of up to 2kg are often needed to reach the bottom. So too is a drogue to slow down a boat’s drift but the fish are plentiful and tasty on the tooth. The bonus of being out here is that you are forever on the lookout for surface feeding birds indicating schools of feeding tuna.

Mako sharks have also made their presence felt with many anglers targeting these game fish. There seems to be plenty of makos out there with many averaging around 80kg in weight, however in mid-January a thumper of 241kg was boated after a two hour tussle on 24kg gear.

A few yellowtail kingfish to 7kg have been caught with the inner reef off Killarney Beach being an ever-popular area to target these fish, however the numbers do seem down on previous years.

In January the mouth of the Curdies estuary finally closed and many bream soon moved from the lake and back into the river scattering into smaller schools right up and down the river’s length. The number one bait still remains local shrimp but the fish can be hard to tempt at times as the weed beds that line the river are absolutely chock full of shrimp so the bream appear to have gone a tad fussy of late. I, as well as a few others, have had varying degrees of success simply by casting minnow lures right up tight to the bankside weed growth in an effort to tempt the bream into biting. The takes are always visual and very exciting with bream of all sizes often responding to a well cast lure. This is coinciding with an upstream migration of greyback minnow. Schools of greyback can often be seen leaping from the water as they attempt to escape a predatory bream.

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