Sensational prawn action on the lake
  |  First Published: February 2016

February can be a pretty cool time on the south coast of NSW and a great time for fishing! The crowds have gone and our local waterways have started to become somewhat normal once again. Although the holiday crowds do give a valuable boost to the economy, it’s nice to have the place largely to ourselves again in February. The visitors’ last hurrah is on the Australia Day long weekend, after which time they head back to their busy city lives, or perhaps back out to the western lying towns.

One of the highlights this summer was the amazing prawn run at Lake Wollumboola at Culburra. Earlier in the year the lake, which is normally closed, opened to the sea after heavy rains and a big swell washed away the build-up of sand at the mouth of the lake. The timing was perfect for prawn spawn to enter the lake and get trapped in there once the lake reclosed a few weeks later. Early December was when the prawns really started running, with record catches in record time. Locals who have lived there their whole lives had never seen anything like it! I have never seen such an amazing natural phenomenon, and it’s an experience I’ll never forget.

The full moon of Christmas did slow the catches a little, but that’s OK – it just meant the prawns had a chance to grow larger. At the time of writing this report the next dark is fast approaching, and you could cut the the anticipation with a knife. Can’t wait for the next two darks! Hopefully the prawns will last all through February and into March before the water begins to cool as we head into autumn.

Just a word of warning – if you do plan on having a go in the lake (or anywhere for that matter), take care to abide by the Fisheries regulations. During the dark of December the Fisheries officers had a field day at the lake, catching people with no fishing license and people with well over their bag limit of 10L per person.

On the fishing front, the Shoalhaven/Crookhaven River has had a continuing run of school to mid-sized mulloway right through the spring and summer months, with most fish returned to swim another day. Some anglers got catches into the double figures for one session. How things have changed! Not too long ago you would have been the talk of the town if you came back to the ramp with a couple of mulloway, but these days it’s the norm. The introduction of soft plastics has definitely played a massive part in the amount of fish caught. Sounders have helped as well; they pinpoint where the fish are, so all you have to do is put the right lure in the spot and hang on!

So what is the right lure? Well in the Shoalhaven at the moment it would have to be one of the Samaki Vibelicious vibes in either the mullet or white bait colour. It comes pre-rigged, so you just tie it on and you’re away.

The offshore fishing has kicked off for another season, with plenty of striped marlin and a few blacks starting to make a show. The Banks has had plenty of current flow over it now for a couple of months with a few decent kings caught on and off.

The cliffs have also produced a few nice fish in the 10-15kg class, caught mainly on downriggers baited with a slow trolled live squid or slimy. The squid can be caught in nearby Jervis Bay; there are stacks of them there and they’re a much better size than they were a couple of months back. The green Yamashita in the Live series is definitely the jig of choice, and should hopefully get you enough for bait and a feed.

Apart from what I have gone into detail about in this report there are plenty of other things happening in our local waters, so if you wish to find out more you can drop me an email where I work at the above email address or contact me or one of my fellow workers at McCallums Tackle World Nowra on (02) 4421 2418.

Happy fishing.

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