The season has started with guns blazing! We’ve had a very warm spring, and a push of warm water saw the fishing kick into top gear, and it’s the estuary that’s the place to be. But we will start with offshore.
Although there has been a large injection of hot water, the currents seem to be similar to those in previous years. We’re looking forward to the marlin coming on this month, and the action should continue into January.
The snapper have continued to fire. A lot of anglers here have switched onto the micro jigging for snapper and are having a lot of fun on the light gear. It seems every brand is making a micro jig rod, with our best sellers being the Samaki Vanquish, Storm Gomoku and, for that bit more class, the Shimano Grappler. Match these rods up with a 4000-5000 size reel spooled with 20lb braid, tie on a 40-80g jig and you’re in your micro jig element! The larger schools of snapper tend to be in that 60m to 80m depth, and if there is a slight current you will be looking at an 80g jig.
These micro jigs come in all shapes and sizes. Some flutter on the way down, some drop fast. They can be retrieved fast or slow, and there are a few variations of jigs that prefer either slow or fast retrieves. I’ve been watching the tai-kabura fishing technique starting to slowly take off over here. These jigs have a weighted head that separates from the skirted body of the lure. We’re all familiar with the likes of the Lucanus and Bottom Ship jigs, and they work well at times, but this is something different. ‘Tai’ means ‘red snapper’, and ‘kabura’ is a shaped jighead with skirts and ties, which swim with rather small hooks. Snapper can peck and tease sometimes before making the bite, so small, swinging assist hooks catch the lips and mouth of the snapper playing with the presentation.
This style of fishing is very interesting because the weight drops first and separates from the skirted body. Once it hits the bottom you then slowly retrieve the lure body towards the weighted head. Don’t make any actions – just do a slow, steady retrieve from 0.5 to two turns per second. The skirts and ties will flutter to attract fish.
At times I think the weight can turn finicky fish off. At these times if you take the weight out of the equation you are left with this light, swimming squid-looking thing, which is very tempting to a snapper. And it’s not just snapper that will have a go – you can catch all kinds of species including kings and nannygai.
Changing colours and jighead shapes might make a difference, and we all have our favourite colours. However, I think the weight is the most important change, because you need to fish in accordance with the depth and current. If you are interested in this style of fishing, come into the Batemans Bay Compleat Angler for a chat.
Kings have made a bit of an appearance, from rats to larger specimens. If you are keen to chase them, go to their popular haunts and use livies, fresh squid or jigs and plastics. Downrigging is a popular and successful way to catch these guys, and you don’t always need to be downrigging baits to get a bite as there are some good plastics and jointed hardbodies that will work a treat. The Zman 8” SwimmerZ and big 10” HeroZ are a great tough plastic lures that will stand up to the abuse of a king. These plastics are big, floppy, juicy looking things that have a good swimming action. Hopefully as you read this we’ll be experiencing a better season with the kingfish instead of the bigger ones being further south.
The rock and beach fishing has been average to good. A few good snapper were caught from the stones over spring, and the drummer made up for any lack of snapper. Quite a few of the lads had their arms stretched by grouper and some big blues. It looks as though there’s no shortage of these guys on our coastline.
Salmon and tailor have been very slow on our beaches; you have more of a chance catching bream, whiting and sharks. There have been big schools of horse salmon, more offshore amongst the boats, and anyone noticing these guys on the surface has been having a ball with them on light gear.
In the estuaries is where the party’s at! With water temps warming and bait moving in, there have been plenty of goers at this party. There are flounder, big trevally, schools of tailor, massive flatties, whiting and it’s looking to be one of our better summers of bream. I had a customer the other day who lives on the river saying he hadn’t seen this many bream in years. He loves his flathead, which are also there in numbers, and his complaint was he couldn’t catch one from all the bream in the way! You don’t have to go too far for any bream, just hit up the closest racks and have a go. You will also find good numbers upstream if you want to get away.
The flathead being caught lately have been massive. My brother recently caught a very healthy 95cm one (pictured) and in the same week there was one caught over the magic meter mark. There have been plenty of 50cm ones and bigger caught and released in recent weeks.
A welcome surprise to the estuary has been the big trevally getting around lately. People love catching these little rockets, and pretend it’s a GT on bream gear.
And, as with every major party, you need bouncers! Enter the mulloway. These guys have been lurking around and there have been some good bites, but a lot of quiet nights as well. These fish aren’t called ‘the ghost of the estuary’ for nothing. Over the past couple of years, the period from September through to December has been quite consistent. This year the beaches and ocean bays saw a lot of action through September and it looks like that action is moving into the estuary now. Mulloway are still the fish to target during the still of the night, but you can still try for them on plastics, vibes and hard bodies throughout the days on the tide changes.
Warm, hot weather equals bass and the season has started with a bang! Those anglers who have been getting the area right have been cleaning up. It’s looking like a great season for these fish.
Well I’m done, and I have just psyched myself up to go out and get amongst it! This is not a summer to miss!
For the bass brigade, we’ve just loaded the shop with 1/8oz black and purple spinnerbaits and have Kokoda Bats on special this next catalogue. The soft shell Tiemcos will fly out of the shop like a summer cicada, and we have plenty more for what looks like a great run this season of these Aussie brawlers. To check it all out, drop into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay on 65a Orient St.Reads: 611