It’s getting hot in here…
  |  First Published: November 2015

So grab your surface lures! I am getting so hot I want to go bass fishing! Conditions are definitely hotting up. This year Mother Nature has apparently decided to forget spring and just go straight to summer.

The fishing and weather really went up a few notches this spring, with warm water pushing hard down our coastline, bringing bait and beakies. Yes, we are already seeing marlin off our coast. I’m sensing it’s going to be another crazy marlin bite this summer. It’s been a long time since we were in with a chance of catching both yellowfin tuna and marlin together, but that’s the kind of waters we are experiencing at the moment. It’s all very exciting.

Tuna have been a frustrating fish to target this year. They have been very on and off. The best plan of attack has been heading out expecting nothing to really happen, take an electric reel with you and try the bottom. That way, if you miss out on tuna you at least take home a feed of ocean perch or better – and if you can’t catch yourself an ocean perch you’ll start to think about selling the boat! But the ocean perch have been plentiful and of decent size. Just remember to give these guys a good time on the pan until they’re cooked through. They tend to expand and are great eating when properly cooked. I’ve made the mistake where I’ve cooked 3/4 of the way through because I didn’t want to overdo it, only to find stringy flesh stuck to the bone. If you try to fix it by throwing it onto the pan again, it’s not going to win you a position on Masterchef. Give it a good three minutes each side on medium to high heat and it should be cooked perfectly.

The cream of the crop, the blue-eye trevalla, is the opposite. You need to be careful not to overcook it.

However, as summer kicks in we will be experiencing fewer chances to fish the bottom as the currents speed down the coast, and our attention will turn to the marlin bite. The anticipation of this year's marlin bite is growing as the memory of last year’s craziness is still fresh in the minds of all those who experienced it. This year the run looks to be starting even earlier, and we could be in for another great season of marlin fishing.

The mahi mahi made a good appearance last summer and already a couple of 20kg+ monsters have been caught so it’s shaping up to be a good season for them also. The FAD off Batemans Bay will be deployed so that is always worth a visit over the summer months for fish. If we get a good run of kingfish we could be in for one of our best summers in a long time.

The snapper have been going well through spring as they usually do out in the usual 60-80m depths. I noticed a lot more boats fishing in these depths this year and it seems like we have been having a great run on them. However, I think more boats and more people fishing deeper makes the run look greater.

These good schools have always been out there during the spring months. Some people get overexcited with such schools and keep everything they catch, as opposed to keeping what they can eat fresh. Customers at the shop have told me of some disappointing sights at the ramp of people bringing in 20 to 30 snapper that they couldn’t possibly eat fresh, distributing them amongst their extended family and random neighbours. They keep other species as well, which seems even more pointless after such a quality catch of snapper!

I’m not judging anyone who wants to freeze down fish for a few weeks ahead (although I personally only keep enough to eat fresh). But when people find themselves throwing fish out, they should probably rethink their catch rate!

Off the stones we are still seeing the odd snapper having a go, as well as drummer and groper. Schools of salmon and tailor are light to thick. They seem to be a bit light on the south of the Bay, and there’s more talk of better schools at Durras and further north.

Speaking of Durras, the lake is open and seems to be fishing a lot better at this stage in comparison to last year. Whiting are already on the chew, and they have been caught on nippers and off the surface with poppers since the beginning of spring. Small bream and flathead in reasonable numbers are also being caught there. It’s also shaping up to be a good season on the prawns in our lakes, and we have sold plenty of crab traps lately, with muddies and blue swimmers being caught.

The estuaries are starting to warm up and a lot of bait is starting to show. Most of this is happening out the front as the back reaches still have some cold water, but it won’t be long before that turns warm. It looks like bream are out in numbers already; a lot of people targeting flathead under the power lines are finding bream instead. This is a familiar story in the shop, and it looks like we could have a good run of bream this year.

With all the sudden warmth and movement of bait you’d expect the mulloway to be a sensible target in our estuary, especially after all that rain we had, but they seem to be on the down low. Septembers in the past have produced good captures, and this has persisted right into December. I think there haven’t been many anglers targeting them throughout the day lately. I expect with all the positive changes occurring though that the mulloway will be a hot species to target from now and into December.

Further upstream, the special mad bushy bass breed have responded to this change in season. Even with the water still a bit cool they could smell a bass, and they weren’t wrong. With the flying ants already out and the temperatures soaring early, these guys have gotten out to walk or kayak the back country with some success.

So it’s all shaping up to be a cracker of a summer. It looks as though we have got the rain out of the way and Sussex Inlet can hang out their carpets to dry. Last year it rained heavily in November and into December. This year it’s rained already and the warm currents are here with bait and marlin. School yellowfin tuna from 20-40kg are out there, and the spring deepwater snapper fishing is on fire. Lakes are open from all the rain. Whiting are hitting surface poppers. Bass have come to life. Mud crabs and blue swimmers are about and they are calling for a good prawn season. So it’s all happening and there is a busy, positive vibe in the air. It’s a great time to be alive, so go out and live!

Here at Compleat Angler we now have such a great range of jewie lures you can’t go wrong. We just recently added the Samaki Vibelicious in 20-30g weights in 100-120mm lengths in whitebait and mullet colours. They will definitely be our biggest sellers and the biggest jewie catchers this year. To check them out or get more info on what’s biting, drop into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay at 65A Orient St, Batemans Bay, or phone 02 4472 2559.

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