It’s the festive season! Holiday season is on for you lucky beggers not in the retail game! I’d just like to take this opportunity to say a big Merry Christmas and a happy, fishy New Year to my readers. I hope you all have an awesome and safe break over the holidays – catch plenty of fish.
I also ask you to remember that there are a lot more people on our waterways and on the roads, as they flock to our little slice of heaven, so be patient and chill out. Just enjoy your break! Road rage and ramp rage can quickly ruin a planned day out on the water, which should have been relaxing and enjoyable.
Over the break, this place becomes the busiest waterway on our coast with fishos, skiers, canoe/kayakers and sailors alike, all enjoying the sheltered and calm waters of the basin. For the fishos, an early morning start is probably a good idea to avoid some of this traffic. It’s been a pretty slow lead up in the basin to summer, and the water temperature takes forever to come up.
This aside, there’s been some pretty impressive catches. Mulloway and big tailor are mixing it up for anglers. Swan Bay, Jewfish Bay, outside the two islands on the southern drop off and the artificial reefs have all been frequented by both species and are good places to start. On an early windless morning, the tailor can be seen busting up on the surface through schools of bait.
Once they’ve been through and had their feeding frenzy, quite often the dregs are then cleaned up by species such as bream, trevally, snapper and even whiting. Blades or soft plastics worked close to the bottom will usually produce a strike and hopefully a hook-up, as a new feeding frenzy unfolds. The shallows have produced solid whiting on stickbaits and poppers – the Lucky Craft NW Pencil and Sammy in both sizes are still favourites among the flats flickers.
The Saku lures have become popular in both the poppers and stickbaits and are much more affordable, if you’re on a a tight budget. The big flatties are well and truly on the move in the basin and the recent St Georges Basin Flathead Classic showed this. Conditions were tough, but plenty of cracking fish were caught, weighed and released with specimens over 70cm tagged as part of a new tagging program for this fishery.
The Shoalhaven’s bass and estuary perch bite has been pretty awesome since the season opened. There have been plenty of fish still around the Shoalhaven Ski Park on the opposite bank and upstream from there. Right through the system and the freshwater reaches, bass fishos have been kicking goals and we haven’t even had a good cicada hatch yet! I know we’re all willing it to happen. If it does, it’s going to be one awesome season with the amount of fish already around and hitting the surface.
Downstream through the canal, there have been some nice bream, but extracting them from the oyster encrusted rocks which line this artificial canal is not to be taken lightly. Cranka Crabs and Ecogear VX40s in colour 439 are two of the best lures for this area, but can be very expensive fished in this terrain. They can lighten a wallet pretty quickly!
If you’re not into your lure fishing, bait fishos also have success along these rocks with freshly pumped nippers from nearby sandflats fished on a jighead while drifting along the rock walls. Run up tides and the first of the run out are the best times for fishing in this area. When the tide starts running out, it can be doing 4-6 knots and make it hard to hold position for everyone, even those with the strongest electric powered motors.
The bay has mainly been producing squid, and just recently, the grounds outside the bay have been loaded up with good size sand flatties, which have been a bit of a saviour for many anglers heading out to catch a feed of snapper, only to return snapperless! Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few reds around, but not like previous seasons.
That pretty well wraps up December and yet another year. Where are they going and why so fast? Be good and stay safe. Johnny out.
Lilly Martin with a solid Shoalhaven River EP.
Glenn Godwin with an 80cm flatty from the recent flathead Classic in the basin.
The author with a 65cm flatty from the competition.
The author with a brown trout on a recent trip to Buckanderra.Reads: 535