January is kingfish time along the Currarong cliffs and some nice fish have been caught in the past month or so.
Every Summer these fish show up and there are some absolute thumpers among them. Fish to 25kg are caught each year from the rocks and boats fishing close to the rocks but some of the fish lost are closer to 30kg and even bigger.
Live-bait ledges worth fishing include Big Beecroft and The Eaves but if you’re in a boat then anywhere along the peninsula from Little Beecroft to Gumgetters is worth fishing with live squid or big slimies.
You can drift or slow troll but most of the guys who regularly get into the big kings use a downrigger and slowly troll in close. Just be sure to give the rock guys a break and some space – they do it tough enough with platform closures and limited opportunities without having boats getting too close to the very few rocks they can fish these days.
If you intend having a go for these kings then get some serious tackle. I wouldn’t even consider anything less than 24kg with 9kg or 10kg of drag and 80kg traces. This year a mate, John Rattenbury, has put a new stand-up 37kg outfit together for continental shelf work but it may also come in handy for some of those Currarong kings.
January is also black marlin time at The Banks and after last season I’m keen to get out there. We caught and released a few nice fish last year and young Andrew came close to getting an 80kg black on 10kg tackle so this season you can be sure to see Hookup out there walking a couple of live slimies on light tackle.
We’ve got some new hooks to trial this year including the Owner Super Mutu and also some of the Mustad Light Gauge Demon circles. Most of the fish we got last year were hooked in the mouth because we didn’t give them long to eat the baits but I’m interested to see how the circle and semi circle hooks perform.
We release all the fish anyway but it’s a lot easier to get the hook out when it’s in the corner of the fish’s mouth. The amount of bait on The Banks in November and December has been phenomenal so this season promises to be a howler.
A couple of months ago I predicted some nice flathead to be on the chew in the Shoalhaven River but it turns out that was a bad call – at least if you live at Greenwell Point or Culburra. The fishing in the Crookhaven has been pretty woeful to say the least.
Most locals and even visiting anglers are blaming the fact that the Shoalhaven cops so much commercial pressure these days with netters from the Nowra and lllawarra regions giving it a right flogging most day and nights. There have been local media reports that up to nine net crews from Wollongong are fishing the Shoalhaven along with those from Nowra and surrounding villages.
It’s that bad that even the pros are complaining about the pressure the river is under along with the fact that none of them are catching much either. When they can’t net enough fish for a living you can imagine how well an amateur with a soft plastic and one hook is going to fare.
It’s bad enough when the average angler can’t catch a feed but when they give up and can’t be bothered even thinking about going fishing, things are bad. All of this on the back of Jervis Bay and Beecroft Peninsula closures and some readers may be able to understand why many locals are very peeved.
What makes it even worse is a recent survey indicating that local anglers spend between $42 and $52 per day of fishing. Visiting anglers pay around $200 per day including meals and accommodation, etc. When local and state governments finally understand how much fishing is worth to the coastal economies they might sit up, take notice and do something about banning estuary netting.
A mate recently spent a weekend fishing at Conjola. He’s done a bit of fishing over the past few years but was drifting about in a tinnie with his young bloke when they polaroided a crocodile of a flathead in knee-deep water. The young fella bombarded it with soft plastics without raising a response.
Dad told him to step aside and watch how it was done with a hard-bodied diving minnow. Nothing, not even a glance from the enormous lizard of their dreams.
They drifted and motored about tossing all sorts or hardware at that fish for half an hour before giving up and deciding to spook it with the net. With nervous hands they slowly worked over closer, only to find it was dead and rotten inside what appeared to be a well-preserved skin.
I don’t do a lot of bass fishing and anyone who reads this column would know they don’t get much of a mention. However, I’ve got a quite a few mates who fish for bass and belong to the local bass club.
They all own tinnies or canoes and spend a lot of time after work over Summer chasing bass in the Shoalhaven River, Broughton Creek, Tallowa, Flat Rock and Yalwal dams. They get some very nice bass, along with the odd EP.
I fished for a bass a few times many years ago and I did find it quite enjoyable quietly paddling along the edges of the river and tossing surface lures into the trees. The strikes are amazing and no matter how much fishing you’ve done they will always be unexpected and usually quite savage.
Some of those late afternoon surface strikes in tiny creeks are enough to give you heart failure and with fish to 45cm being taken regularly, I really should get back into and have a go so I might just do that this summer.
There is some excellent bass fishing on offer down this way and it gets very little coverage. I’ve already been sworn to secrecy, though, so don’t expect to read about any specific locations.Reads: 5418