I hope everybody has bought their thermals by now and are putting them to good use. If you haven’t fished a winter’s morning with thermals on, you don’t know what you’re missing! Clothing layers have nothing on a full body thermal, and you can get them at department stores or even at fishing shops like Compleat Angler Batemans Bay. Once you realise how warm they keep you, you’ll never miss an early morning snapper bite!
Speaking of snapper, they are still on the chew in close, and now with the cuttlefish moving in they will stay this way. Snapper love chewing on cuttlefish, so squid for bait and white plastics work well at this time of year. Try casting a lighter jighead, say 1/8oz with a white plastic at a cuttlefish if you see one floating around. You never know what big reds could be under it.
Offshore the water is cooling down and it is shaping up to be a good tuna bite. At this stage a lot of 6-8kg yellowfin have been caught and there are some good size schools of them. Most of the larger yellowfin at this stage have been around 20-25kg with only a handful of 50kg+ fish being caught that I know of. The commercial boats started to see the bluefin mid-June with some 100-120kg ones coming in. These frontrunners tend to have big heads but slender bodies. The bigger barrels shouldn’t be far away and as you read this I expect the recreational boats to be having a crack at them.
In previous years they have run very wide and then within reach on that 151 line in 18-19°C water. This year there is a lot of bait just over the shelf and it’s looking good for tuna feeding in closer. Bluefin can be fussy and tend to swim in clean, nutrient-rich water. Yellowfin are very likely to be found in the same water, but you can also find them in poorer quality water as well.
There have been some nice albacore caught recently (but not in amazing numbers as yet), as well as some massive schools of striped tuna, so it’s shaping up to be a great tuna season although its beginning is slow. Still don’t be surprised if you hook up to a marlin or mahi mahi (dolphinfish) as they are still kicking around.
Off the rocks the drummer are biting and the same old approaches are working there. The only difference is that more customers are coming in and using small circle hooks on these fish with great success.
Salmon are swimming by, as are the tailor. The tailor are probably outdoing the salmon at this stage of winter, with some good schools and good sizes getting around. They are both keeping anglers busy on the beaches also.
The ocean-facing bays are still producing snapper, mulloway and sharks at night. It seems like the bronze whalers are all up and down the coast. There’s still a lot of garfish getting rounded up in these bays by predators such as salmon, tailor and kingfish. One afternoon the garfish got pushed up into the rock pools of South Broulee in masses and people could catch a feed by hand.
The estuary is still fishing very well at this time of year. Everybody seems to be getting good flathead and some crackers as well over that 80cm mark, and bream are also playing the game.
The elusive mulloway doesn’t seem so elusive when you have fishing legends like Layton Brant, Joel Taylor, Jem Abbot, Daniel Dowley and Coen Davis on their tails. These guys are starting to put in Wade Eaton hours and are coming up with some thumpers. Layton has the lead so far with a 28kg beast, but the other boys have caught some crackers now also. It’s good to see our Clyde becoming the mulloway capital, and it’s great seeing a lot of these fish being tagged and released for research and future growth in numbers. Let’s keep the fishery a healthy one.
Well that’s a rundown on what’s biting, now go put the jug on and warm yourself up before heading out for a fish in your new thermals!
For more up-to-the-minute information on what’s biting where, drop into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay and have a chat to Anthony or one of the other friendly staff. They’re located at 65A Orient St, Batemans Bay (02 4472 2559).Reads: 850