Some excellent fish are on at the moment
  |  First Published: February 2016

The late summer water temperatures have finally arrived and here’s hoping they will stay around a bit longer than in previous years. Some excellent fish are on at the moment, with this season proving to be another good one both inside our bays and offshore. This month we can expect all manner of species to be caught.

Matthew Young hooked a small mako shark fishing with OceanHunter Sportsfishing during a kingfish session when the guys headed out to Long Reef with a tank full of live bait. Matt dropped one over the side and his reel started screaming. The mako attacked the bait, managing to dislodge the hook only for it to become foul hooked in its tail. After a quick couple of photos the shark was released.

Beau Worthington headed out to Newport Reef chasing kings and came up solid on a good size model. Yakkas and squid were the baits of choice, with some good fish caught for the day.

Plenty of rogue kings are on our local reefs and headlands at the moment and it will stay like this for a few months yet. On the lure side, stickbaits of the hard and soft variety are working a treat. So too are micro jigs in the deeper water. It pays to be prepared so try a few different methods. Once the bite starts kings will often take all sorts of different offerings cast in their direction.

Anthony Ball and Brennan Webster fished out off Long Reef at the 35m mark chasing snapper, and live baiting slimy mackerel. The guys had a terrific session on the reds, landing fish up to 76cm on their 20lb outfits. It’s a great time to get into these fish at the moment, with plenty of smaller plate-sized models also on the chew. Snapper are frequently targeted in winter out here on the north side but some cracker fish are regularly caught during our warmer months on baits, plastics and jigs. Preferable plastics are the big Squidgies and Gulps. Inchiku-style bottom jigs (basically a knife jig attached to a skirt) like the Shimano Bottom Ship also catch their share.

Most of our estuary waters have something on offer for all anglers at the moment, and the likes of chasing that one big fish and hooking it up certainly can happen as Andrew Kingston found out. Andrew and a few mates hit the Hawkesbury searching for the mulloway of a lifetime, and it wasn’t long before the pick was down and some big squid were sent to the depths. Big baits often mean big fish, and that was certainly true in this case. A big mulloway wolfed the bait and was subdued on the heavy kit. The fish weighed in at 32kg with a total length of 146cm – a cracker fish.

This month we can expect the mahimahi (dolphinfish) to fire up as they’ve been a little quiet this season and have arrived late with the warm water. These guys will take everything, from livies to strips through to jigs, plastics and hardbodies. I use the element of surprise to catch these fish. While some anglers will troll straight past the FAD, I prefer to drift down upon it with the motor off and my biggest live bait in the water. I’m looking to pick off the biggest mahimahi around with this method.

The local inshore reefs will hold a few teraglin this month so big baits are on the cards. Davey Saunders and Mark Ratcliffe landed four fish up to 91cm on whole butterflied slimy mackerel. A few trag also took micro jigs, with the Storm Koika jigs and the Austackle Shrimp Jig in the 74g size the two most successful lures.

There’s plenty of bait available in the harbour at the moment. The slimies have moved in and can be caught at The Fridge near Chinamans Beach and at the Centurion Wreck off Quarantine. Big yakkas are also available at these two spots so be sure to have some size 6 bait jigs as the size 10 is a little small for these bigger baitfish.

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