Our last hope
  |  First Published: June 2014

With the start of winter June usually heralds the last hope of securing a big gamefish. As past seasons have shown, when warm water lingers it is quite possible for summer species to keep patrolling our waters, providing the food source is there.

Marlin are one species that have been targeted in June, when schools of slimy mackerel are prevalent around the Twelve Mile Reef and those water temps are around 20ºC. It is quite possible to encounter several striped marlin in a day. Sauries are another baitfish that occur at this time of year, providing a food source for a variety of tunas, kingfish and sharks. Often observed scattered across the surface when a predator is in pursuit, this is an opportunity for anglers trolling lures or live baits (such as slimies) to increase their chances of finding a good fish.

Yellowfin tuna are the most sought-after catch at present, often encountered in berley trails laced with pilchards, mackerel or striped tuna cubes stripped back in the trail. These fish are generally encountered further out over the continental shelf, where other species like albacore or southern bluefin might show up along with some very big mako sharks. Often these days out wide in early winter can be extremely calm, so if the gamefish are quiet try dropping some baits down deep into the abyss and, with the aid of electric reels, grind out some lovely tablefish like blue eye trevalla, ling, ghost cod, hapuka and many more interesting deep water giants.

Closer to shore, kingfish and bonito like to patrol areas like Montague Island, the reefs just east of Bermagui or down south towards Goalen Head. These fish have their eyes set on those sauries or pilchards that occur at this time of year. Trolling is a good option when the fish are up on the surface or, with the aid of one of the many good spin sticks available, casting poppers across schools of these fish will provide some excellent visual angling.

With favourable weather conditions available most forms of reef fishing are on offer from the deep water reefs like the Twelve Mile through to Six and Four Mile Reefs or down south off Bunga or Goalen Head. Most of your usual species like snapper, morwong, perches, and trumpeter or pigfish are the regulars with others also on offer. The tiger flathead may be a little sparse but the sandies more than make up for their absence with plenty on offer closer to shore.

This is a wonderful time of your weather-wise with crisp, cool mornings giving way to some lovely calm warm winter days. This allows anglers to grab a handful of metal lures, a nice spin stick and go walk the beaches with the mind set on schools of Australian salmon patrolling the shoreline. This is great visual angling, and it’s one of my favourite forms of fishing basically at our doorstep.

Sadly winter means cold water in the estuaries making for difficult angling. What species we do have on offer are often reluctant to feed so the window of opportunity is limited. Species on offer in our area are the likes of luderick, best targeted with either green or cabbage weed, silver trevally or some yellowfin bream in the shallows towards the entrances on a rising tide.

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