Barrels heading up the coast
  |  First Published: September 2014

Since last edition the Sydney offshore fishing has gone tuna crazy with another awesome season of barrels heading up the coast. Jervis Bay and Bermagui have been having solid seasons and plenty of these fish have ventured north with the currents, and some of the biggest bluefin Sydney has seen have been caught out the front. Ten years ago it was nearly unheard of for Sydney to have a bluefin season but now it’s almost expected.

Not to be left too far behind, some terrific yellowfin tuna have also been caught but most of the interest lies with the big blue barrels.

Both cubing and trolling have been successful methods when it comes to capturing these species. Additionally, one of this season’s secrets is that the smaller skirted lures are having a lot of success, probably due to our calmer conditions. While our seas have been down a lot more smaller boats have had the ability to get out to the grounds, hence more fish are being encountered and captured.

Two successful anglers this season have been cricketers Brett Lee and Dominic Thornely. Myself, James Thackeray and the guys headed out, and after seeing the amount of boats in the Browns mountain vicinity we quickly opted to head further East to Heatons Hill in fairly calm conditions. We trolled around for six hours before marking a fish on the sounder, and no sooner had that happened than off screamed the 80w and Brett caught his first bluefin of 85kg. Boated and on deck, out went the same outfit again and in no time Dom’s fish was boat ide and looking every bit of its 135kg. Tuna seem to be an afternoon bite more often than not, but when that sea is staying flat make the early run out and you might just hook a barrel.

Closer to the coast we are still getting plenty of kings at Long Reef and surrounding reefs. Most fish are being caught on fresh baits and soft plastics and are just legal, but while our seas are flat these are a great species for new anglers to hone their skills on, particularly if you complement the fight with light line.

Some good snapper have been coming in and these fish will get bigger over the next month or so before the warmer currents shy them off a little. Lightly weighted baits of tuna or mackerel are being taken by some good fish up to 6kg. The super clear water isn’t helping so try fishing into the evening and use a big bait. The prospect of a good-sized feed coupled with the lack of light helps detract their attention from your boat.

Sydney is having a current run of big squid with night time being the preferred time to target these critters. Big jigs are the secret, as is moving around from spot to spot. While our ocean edges are reasonably flat try some of the deeper water spots like South Curl Curl, Diggers Point and Queenscliff Point for some of these bigger models. Also make sure you have some glow in the dark jigs in your tackle box as these can be easily sighted on the retrieve at night around the rocks.

The calmer seas often slow the fishing down on the beaches but this month has been promising yet again. Plenty of whiting are still being caught, as are tailor, salmon and bream. Early morning and evening sessions have been preferred (possibly due to excessive water visibility) with plenty of success being in these lower light conditions. Light lines are almost the norm for this time of year for these species so put the heavy kits away for a month or so until the water heats up, hopefully motivating a few more species to get on the chew.

Cold water will often slow down the metabolism of some of these fish so pay some quality attention to your baits and berley as this might help in attracting fish to feed. Some of the more successful beaches are Warriewood, Narrabeen, Dee Why and Manly.

If you’d like to know more, drop into Fishouttawater at Manly Vale and see the guys or myself and we’ll be happy to be a part of getting you into that fish of a lifetime.

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