Our patchy gamefishing season continues to drive local bluewater anglers to drink and the Christmas influx of fishing visitors have found the going particularly difficult as well.
As usual, the combination of strong winds and indifferent water has made it all a bit of a lottery. The Bureau of Meteorology’s wildly inaccurate weather guesses haven’t made planning an offshore sortie any easier. Of course it couldn’t last forever. Just before Christmas, a couple of blue marlin broke through to liven things up. You wouldn’t describe them as thick at this stage.
The first weather window that combined with a decent pulse of blue water was also holding plenty of mahimahi.
Most boats that had dusted off the marlin lures over the summer break have found a fish or two. There’s been plenty of bait along the shelf edge, mostly clouds of the weird looking bellowsfish. The odd patch of flying fish and some mack tuna are around, so when the big predators decide to arrive in numbers they’ll have plenty to eat.
The bottom dongers have hooked the odd juvenile black marlin inshore. The water hasn’t really warranted putting in much effort in close. Recently, reports had the bulk of the fish still holding north of the border.
Speaking of bottom fishing, Luke Mallia slogged it out with a monster shark for four hours on 15kg spin gear just before Christmas. Combining a table fish session with some casual live baiting in the hope of a black or a striped marlin, the bitey ate a bridle-rigged bonito just near the wave recorder buoy. Big and brown, it was either a whaler or a tiger, with the line parting at the rod tip with the shark just under the boat.
When I first moved here about ten years ago, we had 3m of rain in the first 11 months. The next year it was a mind-boggling 3.5m! Since then it’s been 2-2.5m give or take, except for the year just gone, which produced a paltry 1.1m.
While this is a disaster if you have cattle, have a nice garden or live on tank water, it’s been great for the mackerel fishing in the last few years. The razor gang hate a big fresh like nothing else.
There’s been a few spotties and Spaniards about with fish coming in from Nambucca and points to the north of Coffs. The kayakers found them first.
Over the next few weeks they’ll become more numerous on the inshore reefs, if it doesn’t bucket down in the meantime.
Photo coutesy of Pete Mallia.
Photo courtesy of Ric O’Ferrall.Reads: 2003