Happy New Year to everyone! January will be a busy month with plenty of action for both estuary and outside fishing, and most anglers are somewhat keen to break in the new gear that Santa left behind. The wind plays a big role in January, as the northerly winds turn blue water into green.
Lifeless conditions make fishing quite tough, so hopefully the southerly winds will keep the blue water nice and close to our shores. Marlin, mahimahi and both Spanish and spotted mackerel will be the main targets for January as bottom fishing out wide will be restricted due to the current this month. Small runs of juvenile marlin started to filter through in December, so hopefully January will see a larger run of these guys. The darker coloured Black Snack skirted lures have already worked well. Trolling the blue water line is the key to successful fishing in January so prepare to do a bit of travel to find nice blue water.
Mahimahi have been in great numbers, and are an excellent by-catch when fishing for marlin. In closer, the spotty mackerel have been in good numbers, and fish up to a metre have been caught on Palm Beach Reef. The spotted mackerel will still be in good numbers on Palm Beach Reef, and Mermaid Reef will see their first run of mackerel this month. If you’re willing to face the crowds you can have a lot of fun. Use plenty of berley, and short fine wire traces with 2/0 to 4/0 hooks rigged with half pilchards for the best results. Another great way to catch a few spotted or a Spanish is to slow troll pilchards with a pink skirt on the front.
With reports of up to 80 boats parked on Palm Beach Reef, please be mindful how close you anchor to your fellow fishers.
Spanish mackerel will start to school up in numbers this month. Troll a 190 Halco Laser Pro or slow troll dead pike and slimy mackerel on the Burleigh gravel patch, Diamond Reef and the Nine Mile and Fidos off the Tweed.
During those hot summer days it’s important to look after your catch. Bleed mackerel and put them into an ice slurry so you can keep their flesh nice and firm and maintain a high eating quality.
So far for mangrove jacks, it’s been a terrific season. The hot, humid days followed by afternoon storms have really fired them up. Most of the mangrove jacks have been caught by slow rolling soft plastics under pontoons and along bridge pylons. In January, the mangrove jacks become very active in the mornings and a bit doughy in the afternoon due to the amount of boat traffic there is around the Christmas holidays.
Get up early in the morning and throw poppers like the Yo Zuri 3D and the Lucky Craft G Splash around retaining walls and boat harbours. I use a quicker retrieve that sends a spray rather than a bloop from a cup face popper. This technique works well in January, not only for mangrove jacks but for giant and big-eye trevally.
The whiting are on the chew around the Council Chambers and Budds Beach. Bloodworms, canal worms and small black soldier crabs will get them biting, but most of the action is after dark. Catching whiting on surface lures is always fun, and the Tallebudgera River is a fantastic spot to target them.
The river is quite shallow, with many yabby holes, and it flows hard. Bassday Sugapens and Atomic Hardz Pops retrieved quickly without any pauses have been catching plenty of whiting in shallow water.
Hinze Dam has fished well over the past couple of months. Casting cicada pattern surface walkers to grass patches and fallen timber is a proven winner when fishing this dam. Hinze will start to produce a few more fish off the edges this month, and I recommend casting spinnerbaits and slow rolling paddle-tailed soft plastics around the points and weed edges. If you do this, you’ll more than likely come across a few bass and the odd saratoga.
Overall, January has everything, from the freshwater to the deep blue sea. Early morning and night time fishing is key to a successful holiday season.Reads: 536