Mahimahi still showing off
  |  First Published: April 2016

The striped marlin bite may have slowed down but there is hope that an improvement in water and more bait may spark up a bit of a late bite coming into the tail end of the season as fish move back up the coast.

Pelagic playground

There are still a few black marlin getting around and there will be some big blue marlin swimming out over the shelf. The mahimahi continue their great run. To think you would consider yourself lucky to spot one three summers ago. This summer season it seems any floating device at sea holds fish – and good ones. With the water temperatures reaching heights of 23-26°C, you can expect some tropical species moving down the coast. While Paul and Russell were diving one morning before work, they managed to plug a nice little wahoo at one of their favourite summer locations. Wahoo is definitely a species you can run into right now, and if you aren’t trolling with wire trace or get a corner of the mouth hook up you will be winding in a cleanly cut leader!

Another species that visits us at this time of the year is the odd Spanish mackerel, so if the marlin are difficult to find keep your sights on buoys and floating debris for the ever present mahimahi and keep in mind there could be some Spanish macks and wahoo around as well. If you do get a strike and come back missing a lure, then run some lures with wire trace and you may have a chance at a rare species for this area and very good fish on the table. These tropical pelagic fish aren’t just for the larger boats out wide. Quite often the Spanish mackerel in previous years has been caught in snapper grounds. Russel’s pictured wahoo was also caught out on the snapper grounds.

Sneaky Snapper

Speaking of snapper, we’ve had quite a good sneaky run of snapper over the past summer and into autumn. I find there are good models swimming around in the shallower depths during the warm months. A lot of people think they are only around in the shallows in the winter months as they chase cuttlefish coming in to spawn. However, I think the snapper are always there as I have had great catches in 10m depths over the summer and autumn months. I think the summer gone by has seen quite a few anglers catching some good ones themselves proving it can be done. As we come out of summer and into a cooler change the reef fishing in general does seem to improve.

Autumn species

Coming into autumn the reef generally performs better as the bigger kingfish show up and things start to cool down after reaching peak water temperatures in March. The weather settles, and the fishing can be exceptional. Inshore and along our beaches have turned up great results. Another fish that tends to be targeted in the cooler months is drummer off the rocks and these fish have made an appearance in a big way. The boys up around Bawley Point have wrestled some monsters! Paul Ward weighed a nice 1.8kg one in the other day for his fishing club and for dinner. Harry, Dylan, Steve and the boys have been spinning pretty hard off Pretty Point for their first kingy off the rocks and they deserve one after the hours they have put in and all the lures, rods and reels they have bought from the shop. Got to love the action of a good lure to take your mind off not catching any fish – but I do believe a better quality lure can produce the goods. That is not to say that the cheaper ones won’t catch as many, I just think you fish with more confidence and that a more lifelike look and action could be the edge you need. So far that edge hasn’t paid off for the boys at this stage as they picked up monster salmon and some good bonito, which has been a bit of fun for them. After a couple of broken rods and many lost expensive lures they are settling now for the cheaper Halco Twisty – I hope they get their kingy before the end of season.

The beaches have had a good run of salmon and the odd tailor. Whiting have been caught in small numbers. Some big schools along beaches but only a couple caught out of them. Even with fresh beach worms and nippers they have been very fussy lately. There have been reports of very large ones into the 40cm+ range.

The estuary has had a good run over the summer and into autumn; although it did get a fair amount of fresh and stayed muddy for some time. The rain was quite heavy on two occasions throughout summer to the point of floods. So much for the predicted long hot dry summer! We definitely got the hot, but the heat was accompanied by more rain than we bargained for. The fish were still willing to bite and there was a consistent enough run of flathead and bream. Mulloway don’t mind a bit of dirty water and have been a regular fixture over the last few months. Stingrays and shovelnose sharks are obviously the same. There has been less whiting caught in the estuary this year and less blue swimmer crabs due to the murky water. However, the mud crabs have been on the menu. Prawns are still on the go into autumn also.

You just never know what you’re going to get. You just have to get out and have a go. Fish on!

• 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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