Bluefin hitting Batemans Bay
  |  First Published: August 2016

Bluefin tuna have hit Batemans Bay and hit it hard. We are stoked to have them off the bay in such close proximity.

Andrew and Ro were out there on Sunday the at the beginning of July in the general area of the long liners and they hooked up to a couple of fish, but the hooks straightened, and they were thinking they lost a couple of yellowfin.

Dave Scott went out the next day to their marks and found himself hooked up to a bluefin and later landed a 95kg stonker! Once Dave found them, it wasn’t long until Stu Wensing was amongst it. Then social media lit up! I was running out of the shop door and burning out by 2pm. I found the boys and the action subsided. We made the decision to stay out for the night. As I have written in previous articles, you’ve got to strike while the iron is hot with these fish.

We parked up near the long liners for the night, who were pulling up their lines and taking up to 200 fish per boat back to Ulladulla and Bermagui to unload. By morning, the boats were gone and we got info from them that they were heading back out and looking at moving in.

Near first light we set lures and within 5 minutes of trolling we had a double hook up of albacore. After that we couldn’t get away from the stripies and albacore and they were becoming a nuisance.

Then we got a call from our mate Steven who had been out there for three nights waiting for them. He had a five-way hook up and then started cubing them up. The fish must have moved in over night, because by the time we got to him the surface was boiling with bluefin. It was thick, but they were not so interested in the lures. If you’d had persevered, maybe you may have eventually hooked up, but the fish wanted food. You could hand feed them, but drop a lure and you weren’t in the game.

Our friend Brendon found this out. Just like any fish you need to get them feeding and into action. Then you can start throwing poppers, stickbaits and even coke cans and they would smash it, so take plenty of berley when you head out for bluefin. It’s a must.

The bluefin showing up only 40km east of Batemans Bay definitely makes our travelling time a lot shorter and in July we won’t forget. We are hoping the bluefin will be around through August, which is a high probability while the water remains cool. They may move out, but they should stick around until September when they then begin to migrate back down the coast.

The water still holds some surprise catches while we have a lot of warm water still present in large eddies east and north to us. A nice mahimahi was caught and the odd marlin is still turning up.

Don’t rule out some big yellowfin, which are getting around. There have been a lot of albacore and stripies between tuna captures.

Inshore reef fishing has produced some kingies and plenty of snapper. The snapper are in good numbers at the moment and we are starting to see the kabura style fishing take off around here. Shimano have just put out the Rock Hopper, which is their take on kabura fishing. It’s a very unique way of fishing by having two components that catches the fish’s attention. The weighted part looks like a fish and the skirt that follows it contains the hooks and when used, it can look like two fish swimming around.

The winter kings seem to be hanging around more and more each year, and hopefully this is a sign of numbers getting stronger.

The place to be over winter, if you are not in a boat chasing tuna and snapper, is our rock platforms and beaches. The snapper should be in close chasing the cuttlefish that should be well and truly moving into our rock ledges over August. Guys trying to catch snapper with plastics from the rocks are still favouring 5-7” plastics with 1/4oz jigheads.

Quite often you’ll catch salmon and tailor in the process and maybe the odd bonito or kingy. The most consistent rock species throughout winter is the faithful drummer and the old cooked prawn or cunje with a good amount of berley does the trick. The biggest changes of late would be the rods and reels. The rods are getting thinner, lighter and stiffer and reels are getting smoother and quieter.

We are seeing some real nice outfits hitting the beaches now when spinning for salmon. There are some nice 9-10ft rods out there that can rocket some nice expensive Japanese lures a mile, and when matched with a nice modern compact reel, your salmon fishing becomes a whole lot more fun and easy. Shimano have put out some nice weapons like their Dialuna rod range and when matched with a nice Stradic FK or their new Stradic CI4 reels, you are in spinning heaven.

Other species worth targeting along our beaches this winter are bream and mulloway through the cold nights.

Our lakes and estuaries have come back quite a bit after that massive storm and I have been getting good reports. Flathead and bream are always present, you may just have to persist. I have heard of some luderick in numbers coming from the same areas as well.

Since the storm and big swells, the squid have come back on and there’s no shortage of them. The June storm switched us straight into winter, but it has also flushed everything out and opened up all the lakes to set up for another great summer. So while we are experiencing a productive winter, the building blocks are in place to continue productivity throughout the year. It might be a little bit chilly, but the fishing is hot and the rest of the year is looking hotter.
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