From bass to marlin, summer is coming
  |  First Published: November 2016

The summer weather is here, that’s for sure. It hasn’t really disappeared. We had one of the mildest winters – while snow and rain dumped everywhere else, we were sunbaking. Another thing that didn’t disappear was the odd marlin. The water seemed warm enough and there was plenty of bait to keep them here.

We’ll soon see over the next year or two what effects the super trawler has on our bait population. We expect to have very bad side effects and won’t be seeing marlin in summer, let alone winter. At this stage, it’s only the odd marlin and with the water being warm, we’re still yet to see the East Australian current do its thing and inject a heap of warm blue cobalt water into our area. When this happens, the marlin bite is in full swing.

We should expect to see a few getting around in mid to late December out wide, although it doesn’t look fantastic. There’s still the chance of tuna. A nice yellowfin was caught off Tuross a week ago and shows there still is a chance. Spring summer usually sees smaller yellowfin schools, albacore and stripey tuna. If we don’t have any luck on the tuna, and the currents are favourable, then it’s time for some electric reel deep dropping. Now’s a good time of the year with some good windows in between the wind. As summer kicks in, you’ll get consistent northeasterlies that are up early at times.

Shimano have a new electric reel on the market that has replaced the successful Plays 9000. The new one is called the Forcemaster and the benefits of this reel are a bigger screen that can be seen further away, they’re narrower, quieter and they hold more braid. I found you can get 1200-1300m of 80lb braid on them. They are definitely the electric reel of choice.

Closer to shore on the reefs, boaters are having success on snapper. There are some good schools of snapper moving around our parts and it’s just a matter of finding them. They seem to be all up and down the coast and usually it’s the depth that becomes the factor. We’ve been getting them from 10m of water to 35m, 60-80m at times.

At first light during dawn, I like combing the shallows and moving from headland to headland, bay to bay, peppering these areas with soft plastics. As the sun starts to rise, I’ll move out a bit deeper in depths of around 10-30m. Plastics are still the lure of choice with slightly larger weighted jigheads. These depths are also ideal to start some vertical jigging on micro jigs. Micro jigs of 30-60g on really light outfits are the most exciting way to fish of late. If you can get snapper using these setups, you’ll have a ball. During November you get some nice big schools of snapper out in the deeper waters and 60-80g micro jigs are ideal in these depths.

Go into your Compleat Angler and grab a micro jig stick matched with a 4000-5000 spin reel and spool it up with 20lb braid. Use a 10lb leader if the fish are shy and go up to 15lb or 20lb leader if you get busted off. The micro jigs themselves are coming out of every company now and there are a lot on the market. We have heaps of fun in the shop playing around with them and inventing new versions. There’s many different assist hooks out there and lots of flash and bits and pieces you can use to try and attract a bite. Don’t be shy in being creative.

Off the stones and beaches, consistent catches of salmon and drummer have kept everyone satisfied from these areas. Another species that has been targeted with great success has been the grouper. Jarrod Ward caught a stonker blue of late and quite a lot of our customers have been successful with brown grouper on the chew.

Targeting these guys requires a solid reliable rod with heavy leader, a small but strong hook and a crab dancing on it. If you don’t have this setup and no dancing crab, you may not see one for a while. Even with all that, there’s still a chance he’ll reef you. On the beaches we should see whiting get around taking worms and nippers. Tailor seem a bit scarce, but salmon have made up for the lack of them.

We should start seeing tailor action build in the estuaries, as the bait is starting to build there. With bait and tailor comes predators. Now is a good time of year to chase a daytime mulloway on the lures before the holiday traffic hits the estuaries. Use a nice 4-8kg 7ft rod with a 4000-5000 reel, spooled with 20lb braid and 20-30lb leader, casting a 100mm plastic to a 20-30g weighted vibe, hard or soft. Mulloway seem to fancy vibration and rattle, so hardbody vibes with a rattle will get them fired up!

Further upstream, bass are coming on and there’s been a fair bit of water in the outer regions. You can probably find bass pretty much everywhere. Black and purple spinnerbaits are still our number one choice and this year, we should see some crazy surface action with some of the new surface lures being thrown at them. There are frogs, mice, lizard heads and all kinds of hardbodied lures being made today. Come in to Compleat Angler to check out all the new season stock that’s just arrived!


Jarrod Ward with his blue grouper caught off the stones – this beast is just under 10kg.


Naite Turner fished for snapper with his dad and caught this beaut.

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