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It’s marlin mayhem out there!
  |  First Published: March 2015



Marlin, marlin, marlin! That seems to be all I’m hearing from anyone heading offshore at the moment. This season has not disappointed, with a lot of people experiencing their first-ever captures or tags, and seasoned anglers raising, hooking and losing or landing a heap of fish, depending on which boat you’re fishing from!

It’s now time for the stripes to move aside, as the blacks start to snake their way in to the area. Don’t get me wrong, the stripes are still around, but we should see the balance start to swing in the other direction. If you’re willing to burn a bit more fuel and travel a couple… sorry, a lot more miles, then the opportunity for blue marlin is out there too — way out there! Head towards the canyons and rig up some 12” skirted lures, which are much larger in comparison to the smaller 9” ones that have been working in closer on stripes. Some say elephants eat peanuts, but generally speaking big baits catch big fish.

While you’re out there, make sure you pay a visit to the FADs and any surface debris you see floating around. These are going to be the hotspots for big mahimahi. These guys are pretty happy to have a go at almost anything, so flies, plastics, skirts, stickbaits and bibbed lures should grab their attention. They’re great fun on lighter gear.

While on the topic of fish attracting devices, a huge structure has just been installed off the coast from Shoalhaven Heads, with the end goal resulting in better fishing opportunities for recreational anglers. These large concrete structures, totalling over 460 tonnes in weight, have been in planning by the Department of Primary Industries for some time now, and to see the reef come to fruition is great news for locals and tourists alike. It’s pleasing to see the recreational fishing trust money being put to good use — in other words, our fishing licence fees at work. The size of the deployment and management area is 150m x 250m and the centre point of the reef area is rumoured to be at 34°50.955 S, 150°47.731 E, although there has been no confirmation of this since the deployment.

So that’s a lot of news and information about the goings-on offshore, so let’s have a look in closer now. The river has been running very dirty for the last couple of months, due to continuous big dumps of rain locally and further upstream. This has resulted in metres of water pouring over the dam wall in Kangaroo Valley, and what seems like chocolate milk making its way down the river and out to Greenwell Point.

Just as the river seems to clear up, it repeats the process, just to annoy anyone who is hoping to make the most of what is left of the bass season. If you’re looking for cleaner water, it’s best to start at the mouth of the river. It will clean up pretty quickly due to tidal flow, but the dirty water will commence around the canal. This can, however, trigger the right conditions for mulloway, so make sure you soak big baits or throw around some big paddle tail plastics in the hope of hooking these elusive estuary ghosts.

With the tourist season well and truly over, fishing in St Georges Basin has returned to how we like it. Less boat traffic and less pressure on the fish means that it’s been a great spot to head to if you’ve got some time up your sleeve. The flats have been fishing the best, with the OSP Bent Minnow 76 being the standout lure. Just 2 or 3 slow twitches with a long pause has been getting the bream to bite, and if you’re lucky the occasional flathead will hit them, and then put on a show by leaping into the air while trying to shake the lure.

On the topic of flathead, there have been reports of larger specimens a couple of hundred metres south of artificial reef number 3 at the slight change of depth between 7 and 9m, and also the south east corner in around 8m. Reports are that the new Squidgy Paddle Prawn on a 1/4oz jighead is the go-to lure when targeting these guys.

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Mark Crompton with his first marlin that came from wide of Jervis Bay.

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A section of the new artificial reef is lowered into position.

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