It’s that time again when people like to make ridiculous resolutions like giving up ciggies, grog or just to lose a bunch of kilos. Nice in theory but the sad fact is that most don’t succeed.
So what’s my resolution this year? That’s easy in terms of fishing resolutions and I hope I can make it work.
It is to simply make more time for my beloved but much-neglected land-based game fishing, even if that means paying too much out in wages. Running my own takeaway shop for the past four years has choked the life out of my favourite Summer passion.
I must say that I am keener than I have been in years to get back to doing some live-baiting off the stones. Probably the main reason for this shift in attitude is due to a website I have become addicted to, www.sportfishextreme.com, created by keen South Coast LBG fisho Rob Barrett.
Surf through the photo gallery and you’ll quickly realise that Rob’s got it bad for LBG, evidenced by the many outstanding captures he and other members have made. Chatting with these blokes has made me realise how much I miss the deep-water platforms and the anticipation of a big hook-up. The site caters for more than just LBG with most facets of fishing extensively covered.
On the LBG scene, what is likely to be on offer?
Sharks like hammerheads and whalers are usually the first pelagics to cruise the stones and kingfish of all sizes are always on the cards. A few school yellowfin were in close around the end of October and early November but the massive downpours the coast received shortly after pushed them back towards the shelf.
Bonito may show up, along with a few frigate mackerel, late in the month. Expect the inshore water to be around 21°.
Unfortunately in the past three years there has been a lack of baitfish to entice the big fish in close. Slimy mackerel numbers were building nicely but since the November deluge the bait has made an untimely exit. Still, it takes only one good current to push in and change everything.
The continental shelf continues to fish well for school yellowfin averaging 15kg with a few much larger fish keeping trollers on high alert. Marlin captures should be more common this month and the annual Tollgate Classic will once again take place around the middle of the month.
A good run of albacore to 17kg also occurred but I reckon they would be found much further south by now.
Kingfish numbers last season were hit-and-miss, depending on where you choose to fish. The Moruya reefs produced the worst season in memory so I hope this was just a one-off.
Other renowned locations turned on some good action and the successful few kept it pretty quiet so the spots regularly fished well.
The majority of snapper have headed to deeper water with the rise in ocean temps, as Tony Evans from Ulladulla found out. I was shown a few brag pics recently of some impressive catches of quality reds in substantial numbers on bait.
I won’t be using plastics for the reds for the next couple of months because of the depth that the majority of the snapper are likely to be in. Super-heavy jig heads or plastics fished off paternoster rigs don’t excite me so I’d rather bide my time until the fish move in closer.
The big November fresh turned all of the South Coast waterways into chocolate floodwater for weeks, shutting down one of the best estuary perch bites in the Clyde I have seen. Several 40cm-plus fish per session was standard and most were often found in only a metre or two of water.
The fresh flushed all of the prawns out of the shallows and the fish went into hiding in the deep holes. Still, it’s great to know there are still some good perch in the Clyde.
Bream have only recently returned to hunting the shallows so surface popping will definitely be a goer.
But the fresh turned on school jewfish and oversized flathead for a few weeks. As the cleaner water from the ocean gradually penetrated we moved our lure efforts on the colour change where the bait was most concentrated.
This resulted in many captures of jewfish to 6kg on softies and flathead averaging 3kg, with Wade Eaton’s 85cm (estimated 6kg) flathead one of the standouts. Wade also lost two substantially larger jewfish with one part of a double hook-up with Robert Agutter. His most recent trip yielded three 4kg school jew in six casts and all were released.
Bait anglers also got the jewies with Faye Mahoney scoring a 5.2kg fish on a live poddy mullet and Debbie Kelly an 8.3kg (cleaned) fish on a fillet of yellowtail.
The fresh will do wonders for the health of all estuaries up and down the coast. All of the brown slime is long gone, paving the way for good fishing for months to come.
Up in the fresh reaches of the Tuross, Deua (Moruya) and Clyde rivers, bass are taking surface lures and spinnerbaits and every other presentation in between. From all reports there are plenty of big bass on the chew.
If the cicadas are screeching their trademark song it may pay to take some earplugs as they can be downright deafening, particularly in deep gorge country where the echoes make the din even worse.
Bass will greatly benefit from the good freshes so I envisage one of the best bass bites to be well underway already.
I have heard very few beach reports of late but this time of year is perfect to get some sand between your toes. The water is warm and the perfect place to get the kids out over the holiday period.
If you know how to get beach worms, you are off to a good start. Over the next few months these should entice some quality whiting and bream and possibly the odd dart.
If procuring worms isn’t your forte, don’t despair because as tuna strips, slimy mackerel or the gang-hooked pilchards will arouse the attention of salmon, tailor, bream and possibly a small whaler shark. Mulloway may be prowling the surf after dark if you are willing to fish on into the night.
Wade Eaton was rapt with this 85cm flathead taken in between jewfish.
Robert Agutter with his first jewfish on plastic, part of a double hook-up with Wade Eaton.
Debbie Kelly from The Perfect Wave hairdressing salon at Surf Beach and husband Bruce pose with Deb’s 10kg jewfish.Reads: 1498