Who knows what lurks in the depths
  |  First Published: July 2016

As the cold sets in the last thing you should be doing is putting away your fishing gear. Fish have to eat all year round and although some species go off the chew in the colder temperatures, it really is just as simple as chasing different species.

For the offshore boys, some tuna reports are filtering through. Live baits, cubing and smaller skirts like Billmarks & Marlin Magics trolled at 10-12 knots have been successful. Most of the tuna reported are yellowfin, hopefully with some of the bigger SBT’s showing up soon.

We all know that the ocean has some awesome looking bottom fish, and some absolute rippers have been caught and reported. Wayne ‘Pud’ Thorncraft chased the elusive blue eye trevalla out wide around Browns Mountain in 450m of water. Pud used an electric reel, which is highly recommended for this style of fishing in these depths when he hooked an absolute monster of a fish weighing in at 37.9kg. This is a very big model for this species, particularly when a fish of half this size is outstanding, great effort mate. The bait of choice was mullet fillet as it is solid bait and will survive the trip to the ocean floor where these fish live. Lots of deep dropped baits don’t make it to the bottom due to pickers and water pressure on the way down, so choose wisely. Squid is another great option.

This month has seen excellent weather and good water conditions, and inshore bottom fishing has been a good way to get a feed. Craig Butcher landed himself some very nice snapper by laying down a berley trail and floating unweighted baits at some of the local reefs.

With a lightly weighted bait sent down the trail, it’s only a matter of patience to hook bonito, mackerel, kingfish and snapper. Current, wind and tide determine sinker size. Try and use the minimal sinker weight to get to the bottom and a running sinker straight to the hook is suitable. As you all know, we can target a species but it’s not always what we catch particularly in a trail. Staff member Paul O’Hagan landed a ripper bonito chasing reds recently. Kingfish on the offshore reefs are still giving anglers a bit of a headache. Topwater popper lures and whole squid baits are enticing these fish to bite. Oceanhunter Sportsfishing have been solid in the king department this report, with client Lin Yidhuo catching a monster king out at the Peak using live bait.

Plenty of squid have been caught at favourite local haunts inside the harbour lately, which is a promising sign for the next few months ahead. Squid aren’t just a great bait, but are very good on the tooth – it’s certainly worth the effort to chase some of these cephalopods, as in the coming months we will see some rather large models move into local areas like Balmoral, Middle Head and The Spit and they certainly are one of the easiest meals to catch. The harbour is still providing some decent kings (as it generally does all winter), and live squid is the preferred bait. Make the effort to catch a few and you will up your chances of a king by 50%. As usual it’s not always about the bait, finding the fish is also a major key so be sure to move around and try a few spots like Quakers Hat Bay or Seaforth Bluff. As the water cools you may have to go down in leader size to get a better bite.

The beaches have provided some stable fishing at the moment with tailor, bream, salmon and flathead all appearing in reports. Most of the hot bites have been in the darker hours with pillies and fillet baits working a treat. Some of the tailor have been up to 68cm, just wait until one of these greenbacks attacks your gear – it’s like trying to hold a frenzied dog on a chain. Good luck and good fishing. Make sure you stay warm safe.

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