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Be prepared for anything when targeting snapper
  |  First Published: July 2017



Right now we’re all hoping the bluefin are parked off our coastline, and that we’ll have a season blessed with big fish and good weather. The month of May was a little disappointing in regards to yellowfin, and the Canberra Game Fishing Tournament held at Bermagui didn’t see one caught.

June is usually the more reliable month for tuna though, and it was 24 June last year when the bluefin came to town. We are starting to see the bluefin becoming the main event for winter these days, with the yellowfin taking the back seat. Let’s hope this lack of showing is not an indication the numbers are dropping too low.

What has been fishing very well lately, and is in great numbers, is the luderick or blackfish. It’s a great winter species and has been getting a lot of attention lately. Luderick are very easy to catch as they tend to congregate in large numbers. They school in shallow rocky areas around wash zones, headlands, reefs and along snags and rock walls.

The best approach to improving your catch is to berley every so often. Yes, there are times you can pick areas loaded with fish and jsut throw in an imitation weed fly and pull fish out. However, if you want to secure a feed it’s best to mix some moist bread with some sand, and throw a handful out.

When it comes to rods, the most popular one here is the Live Fibre 10’6” medium mount model, as we are seeing a lot of people opting for spin reels now. We are selling more 2-piece rods than 1-piece, due to it being harder to transport.

I recommend using 6-20lb braid or 6-12lb mono with a 4-10lb fluorocarbon leader. Tie the leader to a small hook, around size 8-12 depending on the brand. Around 3cm above the hook secure a split shot sinker, and then another one 3cm above and another 3cm above that, until you have three split shots evenly spaced away from the hook. About 3cm from the highest split shot, tie on a small swivel. Then above the swivel put a bead below a quill or blackfish float and a bead above it, and above that a float stopper. This is the universal rig for blackfish and will work every time.

The most important thing after that is the bait. Green weed or cabbage weed is what you want, but if that’s hard to come by then nippers, prawns, blood worms, cunje or bread will also work.

What has been very popular also is artificial weed, which is available in a range of colours including green, olive and chartreuse.

In the coming months we can also expect the granddaddy of blackfish, the drummer, being a popular target. The set-up and approach is much the same except you’ll have to beef up the gear a bit more.

What is also consistent through the winter months is snapper, and anglers have been getting into them from both boats and the stones. There have still been a few good kings getting around too, and some fishos have hooked and lost, or hooked and landed the odd metre king while snapper fishing. You should definitely expect other fishy visitors this month, especially if you are anchored and have a berley trail.

The beaches have been going strong with good numbers of salmon and tailor – and amongst the tailor have been some monsters. There are actually quite a lot of reports of big tailor, and I saw a picture of one Nick Reay caught in the basin measuring 80cm. It could have bitten his arm off!

Sharks are still on the bite, and plenty have been getting caught off the beaches at night. Night time sees the shark hunters come out, and they tell me that gummies, bronzies and schoolies have been in good numbers. Mulloway are sometimes a bycatch for these guys, and they have been showing up lately as well.

Autumn saw a great little run of mulloway in the estuary, and if you put in the hard yards and brave the cold nights you will find some success.

The estuary is definitely losing its appeal over the colder period though, and it’s the hard-core bream lads and the old flattie flickers that never say die who will still manage a few fish.

Some anglers out there actually crack some of their best fish in winter, because they never gave up on the estuary and have learnt how to fish it through the colder months. If you’re up for the challenge, be sure to buy some thermals so you can go the distance.

• 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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