Mahimahi save the day in the bay
  |  First Published: April 2017

The marlin fishing may not have been as red hot as the last couple of years, but it hasn’t been bad either, especially considering we haven’t had the best weather. The same old case of blowing on the weekends and a millpond on Mondays meant sickies became a popular card to play.

Let’s not give up just yet though, because with the way the eddy off Jervis Bay is moving we could be in for some late hot water and April could see the striped marlin continuing to bite. Of course, a big blue marlin is on the cards too.

It’s looking like we are in for a lot of current. If this is the case and you’re dragging lures chasing a blue marlin, a good approach is to start at the shelf and travel east for a couple of kilometres. Then come back down that line travelling back east and repeat. This way you’ll fish new water every time, and if there is a big blue coming down in that current, you’re in with a chance.

Marlin aside, one species that has been on fire is the mahimahi or dolphin fish. Lucking out on marlin isn’t so bad if you have a nice catch of these guys to take home. They are one of the best eating fish in the sea hands down. They are so delicate they are easy to overcook, so keep that in mind when you are preparing to impress with your culinary skills.

When mahimahi are in such masses as they have been off the South Coast they are not too hard to catch using livies. There are days where you can just plonk your livie next to the boat and it will get eaten. More often than not though you’ll need to cast your livie towards a FAD or buoy of some kind.

They sometimes like a good surface lure, diver or plastic when they are on. Once hooked they display better acrobatics than the Filipino diving team. When fishing off the South Coast this month, pay FADs and any buoy you see a visit, and have a light to medium outfit ready for some dollie action.

Coming closer to shore we are seeing a little bit more presence of the elusive kingfish. They are travelling the usual haunts and are around the 1-1.2m mark. They’re reasonable fish. I spent a day at Montague only to find small but fat kingies that were a lot of fun off the surface. We have been seeing some larger ones off Batemans Bay of late.

Snapper are usually in the back of our minds during summer when there is a chance of kings. Last summer saw a better snapper bite than kingies, and this summer we have seen some crackers being caught once again. Our all-round nice guy and customer of the year at Compleat Angler, Nathan Forrest, ran into a cracker at his favourite spot and there have been a few other monsters caught from boats and land-based. Typically summer is a tough month on the reef for boats, but it shows that the fish don’t disappear. They just have to be found.

Off the stones we have seen a few more kings caught in comparison to last year. A good reason for this is the amount of squid that has been around, and there are some honkers as well. We have been going through the squid jigs here at the shop and fishos are starting to fork out a little bit more money for that more expensive jig to yield better results. Expensive lures will always swim well and catch fish. Cheap lures might do the same or might fail.

With the way the squid have been lately, you could throw your sister’s brightly covered iphone out and catch a squid. It’s good reason snapper and kingies are around feeding on squid, as well as the schools of slimy mackerel that are around. Squid is still the bait of choice for mulloway fishers as well, as mulloway love squid and it’s easy to store, rig and present.

It was this time last year when the mulloway bit their heads off in the Clyde River. Autumn was an awesome month with loads of bait teeming around the bridge at night, and mulloway were getting caught like they were going out of fashion. Paul Martin recently speared one weighing 32kg. It looks to be the one to beat at this stage. Don Garland has just kicked things off with a small one off the T-Wharf and I’d say that is the beginning of what could be another crazy autumn this year.

Beaches seem quiet at the moment. With this hot water pushing down we may see whiting staying on for some time. Other than that there has been a very small run of salmon and the odd tailor. There have been plenty of sharks caught during the nights off the beaches, mostly 1m bronzies with the odd mulloway hook-up and some bigger sharks in the mix.

It’s that time of the year when the estuary starts to see some bigger fat bream that have been feeding up on all the summer bait and prawns. Autumn is a good time for throwing lures at the racks and along rock walls in our system to crack a 40cm+ bream. Our lakes are also a good option for these wide-shouldered, treble-crunching beasts.

Flatties are still kicking around as they do, and there have been plenty of trevally getting around lately. After the impressive bass season over the hotter months, most have had enough and are choosing other options. The season ran long last year and this year could be the same.

We are seeing a growing number of octopus in the estuary if you are interested in them, and muddies are still on the shopping list. Blue swimmers are proving hard to catch in small numbers and the prawns are there, but water can be muddy and it has definitely turned down a few notches.

All in all, autumn is staying true to itself. We can expect some good gamefishing to come, a few more kings to be caught inshore and some good bream fishing to be had in our estuaries. Let’s hope we see a cracking mulloway run also. You gotta love autumn. Get on it!

• For more up-to-the-minute information on what’s biting where, drop into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay and have a chat to Anthony or one of the other friendly staff. They’re located at 65A Orient St, Batemans Bay (02 4472 2559).

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