Last year January saw an extremely good current settle off our East Coast. This current swirled and eddied off Bermagui for some time, bringing with it the baitfish and predator fish like marlin. This produced some of the best game angling for many years.
This year the currents have been streamlining down the coast at a great rate of knots, not allowing the fish to settle in any one area for any period of time. This makes difficult angling. If we get one of these eddying currents forming off our coast in March, it may well just bring the marlin fishing we have all been waiting for.
The water temperatures are right for marlin and so is the autumn weather. We should have good temperatures with little wind at times. The Twelve-Mile Reef is the area to go with schools of baitfish attracting the larger predators. Marlin are the main target and stripes, blacks and blues are in the area. Once the bait comes to the surface, things can get quite frantic. Pods of stripes harassing them with the blacks and blues shadowing a little deeper waiting for their opportunity.
Other species like tuna, mahimahi and sharks will also be in close proximity looking for an easy meal, so don’t be surprised if you find one of them taking a liking to a lure or bait intended for a stick face. If it’s a big blue you are looking for, try running a good spread of lures and head wide to the canyons.
Montague Island has provided well on the kingies all season and is proceeding to do so. Most of the fish to date have been taken jigging while a few better fish have succumbed to live baits. Lately the fish seem to be better in size and also have some other friends joining them. Bonito are now a common catch around the island, as are frigate mackerel. These make a good bait off the north end of the island, for not all the marlin are on the Twelve-Mile Reef.
With all these good conditions, it has brought a lot of fun close to shore. From the stones it’s possible to find a few different pelagics on the move. Kingies will patrol along the rocks with bonito, tailor, frigate mackerel and salmon. These fish are only too eager to chew on a well-presented lure offering great action from the shore. The best time to do this is sunrise before the wind gets up. Add a little berley while you’re there and you may find you have plenty of bream, trevally or drummer to keep you entertained while you wait for those passing pelagic schools.
The adjacent beaches are also producing well with whiting, bream, mullet, tailor, mulloway, sharks and salmon. Berleying during the day, preferably with striped tuna or mackerel, will have the desired result for most species, while late evening and well into the night may have some larger species lurking. Mulloway and gummy sharks are the preferred targets at night. Combine this with the lead up to or off the full moon to improve your chances.
With the ocean still in mind, usually when one form of fishing is good so are others. Not to be outdone, the reef and bottom fishing is very good. Close to shore, flathead have been in good numbers all season and still are. Larger tigers appear the further you go to sea. Most reef structures play host to an assortment of species. Snapper and morwong are targeted most. Longfin sea perch, nannygai and trumpeter are targets on the Twelve-Mile. Out over the shelf, with the aid of electronic reels, blue-eyed trevalla, hapuka, gemfish and ling are great options to put some excellent-tasting fish on the table.
The estuaries are an easy place to spend a day. We are blessed with some truly beautiful scenery along with some excellent fishing. The lakes that remain closed to the ocean are a bit sad right now while those that are open have had some brilliant fishing. Bream have entered these systems that are open and are excellent angling on baits such as tuna, nippers or worms. Live prawns, if you can acquire them, are also excellent and will attract other species.
Speaking of prawns, they’re not only good bait, they are also great chewing for us humans. With a lot of the lakes closed to the ocean, the prawns are land-locked and easier to catch.Reads: 584