Is this our last marlin season?
  |  First Published: February 2016

The marlin are on and another good season is unfolding. The only problem we have is a bigger predator preying on our bait. The floating factory named the Geelong Star is cleaning up the baitfish from our waters. The government says it’s all cool and it’s just another business deal. But the anglers out there witnessing its operation are seeing massive schools of bait being hauled away. When you see the Geelong Star, you know no marlin will be tagged in the area that day.

The big question is how much of this activity can our coastline withstand before it disrupts the food chain? And why is the government advertising Australia as the world’s biggest marine park, locking out Australian commercial and recreational fishers to protect our marine ecosystem, yet allowing overseas vessels in to do what they like? All I see is fat greedy men in grey suits. I can never understand politics. I would much rather swim with the grey suits in the water so I guess I’ll stick with the fishing.


If you are out fishing the shelf at the moment it looks as though there’s still some bait and some marlin. We are expecting the marlin bite to be quite a good one coming off a cracking year last year, and with the way the action has been so far it’s still definitely worth getting the boat wet.

The bottom out on the shelf still fishes very well so if you have purchased an electric reel like many other anglers in the last 12 months it’s still worth taking out if the current is favourable.

When you are out there, keep your eye open for the fish trap buoys as there have been some nice mahimahi caught off them. The FAD up until now has seen a lot of small kingies but surely there are some good days with many more to come. The FAD is always worth a look and I’m betting by the time you read this the mahimahi will be all over it.


Closer to shore, kingies have provided us with some more entertainment than they did over the last two years. Small numbers of decent ones have been caught off Durras and south of the Tollgates. Still, we are plagued with smaller throwbacks and no real good schools holding. You have to go on the hunt if you want to find the bigger ones. If you are looking for more consistency on the kingies, Montague Island is the place to be with some good fish holding there and in the surrounding area.

Snapper have been reasonably consistent out on the reef and gravel. The afternoon to night bite produced some nice catches leading into and past the last full moon. Snapper of late have been found in shallow and out to deep water. They seem to be quite spread out, so a little bit of hunting or berley is what’s needed to find some.

It’s that time of the year again where we get fishy visitors in the form of samsonfish. Tyrone had a fish scream off like a freight train the other day. It swam horizontally over to Yellow Rock and then went another 300m out to sea, leaving him with an empty spool which could indicate an early Spanish mackerel or even a wahoo.


Off the stones the drummer and grouper have been popular targets. Spin metals to find salmon and tailor. If you are at the right ledge at the right time you will find yourself in a fight with a king. With the snapper so widespread there have been some nice ones caught from the shore. If you are rock fishing the Durras area, don’t forget your squid jigs as this area has been very consistent for squid. There are some good size ones in among them as well.

On our beaches the whiting have been the most popular target, with some big schools of salmon in some patches. A standout report from one of our Sydney customers told us he had a great day on kings over sand where he landed three kings to 4kg, a big trevally, a salmon and busted off at the end of the day by what he thinks was a big mulloway. He was straight into the shop to upgrade the gear and ready to head back out!


The estuary copped a bit of rain throughout January but seems to have recovered quite quickly. In the meantime, it made the fishing quite good out the front of the estuaries, with bream laying deeper in the saltwater along the breakwall and flathead along Surfside to Maloneys. At night there have been mulloway from 70-90cm schooling and feeding from the bridge to the coastal patrol. Brendon Sweeny was there to catch his first one and then backed it up again the next night.

The lakes are fishing very well, with stories of metre long flathead caught and lost, and bream and whiting keeping everyone entertained. The prawns are in the lakes and it’s no secret that Coila has been endless and plenty. How many prawns can you get out of one lake? Seems that this year Coila had more prawns in it than water, and everyone has been talking about it.

“Hey, let’s go swim in the prawns at Coila.”

“Hey, let’s go to Coila Prawn and we’ll see if there’s any water.”

Soon there will be pedestrian crossings there for prawns. Hopefully this kind of abundance can continue up and down the coast.

Mud crabs have been around, and with clearer, salty water we should see blue swimmers out the front.

Upstream there have been plenty of perch, and out the back bass are as consistent as they get. A lot of these fish are caught and released, so numbers have remained very stable.

Well there you have it – I’m finding myself getting up at 4am to get this report out which is a sign of how busy we are on the south coast! We have had a bumper season this far and a lot of traffic on our roads. We also have the Clyde Mountain between us and the country which has seen too many accidents of late. Remember to take it easy on the road and drive to the conditions. Remember that the fish aren’t going anywhere (unless the Geelong Star takes them).

• For more up-to-the-minute information on what’s biting where, drop into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay and have a chat to Anthony or one of the other friendly staff. They’re located at 65A Orient St, Batemans Bay (02 4472 2559).
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