Element of surprise
  |  First Published: June 2014

With the middle of the year around the corner and the cold season just beginning, we still haven’t had the need to break out the cold weather kit to chase the winter species. Sydney is still holding warm water temperatures at the moment, with some water as warm as 23ºC.

It’s May as I write this article and the number of mahi mahi (dolphinfish) reports I am receiving is ridiculous. Most fish are being caught around the FADs offshore, with all methods working and some big numbers of fish holding in these areas. Phil Hanks and I went out to the Broken Bay FAD (21 nautical miles east of Palm Beach) and we saw our first mahi jump 800m from the buoy. Closer in, ‘private’ FADs and fish traps are also holding fish, so be sure to work over any floating structure you find in the warmer waters.

Most anglers I observe at the FADs immediately begin trolling. However, I am a big fan of using the element of surprise. Pick your drift and sink some larger livies (like big slimies, cowanyoung or even a bonito) down to the better fish. This technique will allow you to target the biggest fish in the school if you remain stealthy. Big baits keep the smaller fish away, and while you may encounter the occasional fish who will try to eat its own body weight, this technique will give you the best chance of nailing a monster.

If you choose to go with average sized baits first, you probably won’t get through the average sized models because these fish are eating everything. For those anglers looking for triple hook ups, here’s your opportunity. Put out a spread of small skirts and don’t stop the boats till they’re all loaded.

Every year the conditions seem so different from the previous year in terms of seasonal change and the optimal times to target preferred species. Well, here’s a new one – in Sydney we can now target spangled emperor inside the harbour and offshore with regular success. Here in the shop we are receiving four to six reports a month. Mark Walters has caught three spangles at Seaforth in two trips. While outside the harbour, Warringah anglers and the Long Reef pirate crew members have been landing this species regularly while chasing snapper and teraglin.

For all you squid freaks out there the season is shaping up to be a cracker. We have some awesome large squid moving into our local spots. Some truly sizable models are being caught at Balmoral wharf, The Spit, South Curl Curl, and Little Manly Point. Make sure you use a decent sized jig for these larger model squid, as the small jigs don’t hold them as well.

Our beaches are playing host to some good sized bream and salmon at the moment. Narrabeen, Dee Why and Manly are producing consistent reports. Dave Meagher has been fishing Manly with beach worms and landing some good fish – bream to 38cm, salmon to 60cm and flathead to 67cm. Some dusky whaler sharks have been taking hooked fish from a few anglers after dark, so take some heavier gear and get into them.

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