Enjoy offshore angling delights
  |  First Published: March 2016

Even though the weather has been hot and humid over the last month, don’t forget to take long sleeves and mosquito repellent with you out fishing. Once again we have copped a bad flood with a lot of rain, which has created ideal breeding conditions for mozzies. A mass fish kill have also been reported in the upper Hunter River. Mozzies and dead fish seem a little bleak, but don’t despair as offshore, rock and beach fishing has been fantastic in recent weeks.

Whiting have turned up in droves on the beaches and in good size. Bream have also washed out a little early so expect both of these to give you some tussle in the waves. The water temperature has fluctuated around 20°C, give or take a few degrees, which has been great for turning on these bread and butter species. Huge seas, and powerful swells are plentiful and cause the holes and gutters to move around. You’ll have to do some hard work to find them, but once you do, hold on! There haven’t been any reports of the beloved mulloway just yet, but when they do surface, head to the beaches and off the rocks to find them. The only negative aspect of beach fishing is that most of the beaches have stretches of very deep sand to chew through via vehicle. If you are pushing it hard and start to smell oil, stop and let the truck cool down. It can be a costly mistake to push the vehicle too hard through sand, and could see you stuck and in a whole world of trouble.

The rocks have fished well for bream, but you really need to pick your days, as huge seas have dominated the coastline in recent weeks. These powerful swells have opened a dialogue on a contentious safety issue – that all rock fishers should wear life-vests. This idea has been in discussion for years but never implemented. Recently, the wearing of life-vests has gained some traction in popular opinion as the amount of rock fisher deaths last year skyrocketed. To avoid this sort of devastation and loss of life it would be well worth wearing a life-vest.

The best rock fishing tip at this time of year is to leave your set rod out for bream and try spinning for bonito and tailor around the ledges. Bluefin are also around, but not in abundance as the bait numbers are down on most well known ledges. I use a new pink coloured braid from Schneider lines. You can hardly see it in the water, it’s extremely versatile, and can cope with a bit of rubbing on the rocks. Go for the 20lb size for a massive cast that allows the lure to stay in the water for longer. I have noticed that some anglers cast out and, as soon as the lure hits the water, start to crank it back quickly. My advice is to let the lure sink to different levels, and you may find yourself pulling through schools of fish sitting mid-water. Make sure you use a good leader so you can get the fish close to you and not the other way around – this is definitely one way to go swimming if you aren’t watching the water!

We have seen some fabulous results offshore, with schools of teraglin over the reefs along with nannygai, morwong and school kingfish. Don’t be surprised to run into some mahimahi in closer than usual, as the water is at a good temperature. Mac tuna passed through some time ago, but word has it that some are still around. These little fighters are great fun to catch but not fantastic on the plate. Use small, cylinder shaped lures to target them, or see if you can recognise what they’re feeding on and match it with a lure. Marlin have been an on and off affair; one day you may get two or three, the next nothing. Over the shelf some huge kingfish have stalked the Southern Canyons, along with blue eye cod and hapuka.

Until the estuaries get back to normal, I will leave that area alone as it’s been raining very often and the water is filthy. You may get a few mud crabs if you want to chase them from Fullerton Cove down to the river mouth. You could also try the walls (Nobbys and Stockton), as you never know what can happen on an incoming tide.

On 20 March there will be a benefit day for two-year-old Archie Percival. Archie and his family are going through an extremely tough time with Archie spending the majority of his time confined to hospital. To help out the Percival family and raise a bit of money there will be a bowls day open for everyone to come down and have some fun. With a huge raffle, and some great prizes to win, there will be something for everyone. Come down for a bit to help support our local family, I hope you can make it.

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