Bluefin gone – yes, no, maybe?
  |  First Published: September 2016

You never know with tuna season. Just when you think it might be over and they’re too far to reach, conditions are slowly changing day to day. All of a sudden those gradual changes can end up completely. It was a disappointing August with bluefin so far out, then packing bags and heading south. We saw water starting to push back in, and with it came albacore and some good yellowfin tuna, and even the return of bluefin. Yellowfin off Batemans Bay and Tuross were on fire.

Andrew Turner had an 80kg fish up to the boat in the early stages of the fight. This can often happen, the fish dived into the depths. He got it back up to 30m below the boat where it wouldn’t budge for some time. Then, the worst-case scenario, a 200kg mako claimed it for lunch. How did we know it was 200kg plus? Rohan ‘Stretch’ Rivett rowed his boat over and started the burley. After an hour or so, he got the bite and wrestled with a fat mako full of tuna.

The tuna can be off our coast in good numbers, right through until spring. That’s what we hope for. Some years back, we had great numbers of albacore throughout November. I’ve had some great days on yellowfin from 10-20kg on light gear during November. Between now and then, those tuna species can be up and down depending on the water. As it looks now, September could be a reasonable month on the tuna front. There are plenty of makos around to keep shark fishers happy too.

If you’re looking to fish the bottom, you won’t be disappointed. This time of the year will have favourable currents. Daytime swords have become all the rage, particularly around autumn. Let’s not forget it’s the time of year that swords are targeted at night, as the currents favour this style of fishing also. Offshore fishing is definitely on the cards for September.

Inshore reef fishing is usually quite consistent this time of the year. Snapper can be found in the shallows chewing on cuttlefish out to depths of 60m and deeper. Don’t be afraid of searching deeper for snapper, even though the bite heats up in the shallows this time of year. What also stays relatively hot is flatties. If you miss out on snapper, flatties are the go to fish for the table. There has been no shortage of them lately, and they’re good sizes.

Kingies are fat and solid through the colder months. They seem to be more present than previous years. It’s just being in the right place at the right time. Kingies can just show up anywhere sometimes. One year they school hard here, and the next year they school hard there. That’s a king for you. If there is plenty of food, then one of the predators will not be far behind. Merimbula wharf is a perfect example – the fishos in the area capitalized on a very impressive bite, with some nice kings getting caught over 10kg. Moruya had a little flutter of them and is worth a check every so often.

Although it’s cold, the rock and beach fishing has time to shine. The ever-consistent drummer off the rocks has been a true standout this winter. There have been snapper caught, but the bite isn’t been red hot. The beaches have had large schools of sambos with some tailor and bream on the chew as well. If you’re looking for consistency and results, drummer off the rocks and salmon on the beach can’t go wrong.

The estuary can be a very quiet place on the fishing front, but hasn’t been too bad. Ray ‘the Whisperer’ Smith has been nailing late night estuary perch around the bridge. A handful of customers have been doing quite well on average size flathead. There have been anglers braving the cold nights for the change of two tides, to double their chances on mulloway, but that bite has slowed down. If you love your estuary fishing, don’t give up. The sun has been shining and it’s been a mild warm winter – the estuary isn’t a bad place to be.

The surprise catch throughout August, and you may get them in September, has been blue swimmer crabs. Finally the water is clear, and these guys have been getting around in cold water. Remember, it’s back to four witch’s hats per person. I have mountains of stock ordering for the shop to do, for the fast approaching season. It looks good this summer, and the new gear is great. Go check it out!

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