There’s heaps on at the moment with game fish out wide, reds and kings in closer, the river firing with flathead and jew and some decent bread-and-butter species from the rocks and beaches.
February really is one of the best months of the year around here so now’s the time to be out there having a go.
The game fish scene is all go at the moment with striped marlin and mahi mahi out wide along the continental shelf and the canyons. Slowly-trolled live baits and skirted lures are both working on the beakies. There is a heap of bait out there now so spending some time hanging around this with baits or lures in the water is the obvious choice for a marlin.
Working the traps along the shelf line with deep live baits or trolled lures is the best way to find some mahi mahi. There are some nice fish to 10kg being taken so don’t think it’s all light threadline tackle and small lures stuff.
In closer, The Banks is fishing well for black marlin with live slimies accounting for fish to 120kg. There’s also the odd nice king to be had with deep live baits.
Once the boat traffic slows down after the holidays, the river will be back to normal and producing some good fish. It fished well over Christmas despite the tenfold increase in boat and PWC traffic.
Some days it was absolute bedlam with dozens of boats drifting in the main channels fishing while dozens of others were racing about at 30 knots trying to get somewhere else. The scene at Greenwell Point and Callala ramps was quite comical unless you were sitting there trying to launch or retrieve a boat.
Even so, most anglers who had a bit of an idea caught a feed. Some nice jewies have been getting taken on bait and plastics, particularly around the full moon.
The local beaches also produced a feed for visiting anglers with whiting, bream and tailor common. Once again, it was a matter of getting up early to beat the crowds or walking for some distance to find a gutter or school of fish to yourself.
It’s still a bit early to be seriously thinking about jewies from the beaches but I did hear of a few fish to 10kg over the holidays. I guess with that many baits in the water each day it would stand to reason that at least one or two jewies would get caught.
The rocks will continue to fish well for the next month or so. There have been some nice kings out around the Currarong LBG ledges and now would be a good time to look for a marlin in the Bay. There have also been a few salmon, bonito and rat kings getting caught by the spin men out there before sun-up tossing metal lures.
Most of the lower platforms have been fishing well for blackfish with quite a few schools of fish moving around on the surface, making ideal bobby-cork targets. When the fish are up on top we fish cabbage baits about a metre under a small bobby cork with 2kg and 3kg traces. It’s great fun and they don’t taste too bad, either.
Last month I told the story about a mate who spent half an hour tossing lures at a dead flathead. This month it’s your turn to have a laugh at my expense. Back in late November I fished one day of the Huskisson White Sands Game Tournament. It was a three-day competition but I had to work on the Friday and the Sunday was called off due to bad weather.
The Saturday didn’t look like it was going to a be a great day but it turned out quite fishable and some nice yellowfin to almost 60kg were taken on lures.
I fished on Enforcer with a rounded-up crew of misfits and we found bait as soon as we arrived at the Canyons. Despite spending a fair time working those big bait schools we never turned a reel and our tally for the day was a lone striped tuna.
I had 15kg and 24kg outfits in the water with one of my favourite yellowfin lures on the 15kg stick, an 8” JB cut face lure in green with a lumo skirt which has accounted for a few fish in the past 12 months. We ran it from the long corner and I was actually quite surprised when it hadn’t gone off after a few hours.
About lunchtime things were still slow so I decided to catch up on some sleep. I woke a few hours later and noticed a different lure on my 15kg outfit but didn’t really think much of it.
It wasn’t until were back at Huskisson that the story came out and didn’t I cop a razzing! Apparently while I was snoozing that outfit got hit a few times with the rod going down and the lure pulling out straight away. After the second or third missed hit the guys decided to check the lure and discovered it had no bloody hooks in it !
They weren’t too happy and neither was I when I found out that I was down a $25 two-hook shackle rig that had come loose. They reckon I was trying to save money on hooks and put the lure in the water without them but I checked them the night before so I know they were there.
I inspected the shackles on all my other lures the next day and was surprised to find several of them were loose. A trap for young players and hopefully one I won’t fall for again!
I spend a bit of time on the road with work each week and most of this involves travel between Nowra and Wollongong. The drive is enjoyable with glimpses of ocean and estuary at various sections.
Whenever possible I try to be on the road between 3pm and 4pm of a Wednesday so I can listen to The Big Fish on ABC Illawarra radio. The Big Fish is a program with interviews, quizzes and covers all topics piscatorial.
Host Bonita Brown interviews various tackle shop proprietors up and down the coast and inland for fishing reports and there always seems to be a non-stop stream of witty characters with fishing stories and funny tales.
Bonita is an avid angler who fishes with some of our best-known angling identities. What’s even more interesting is that she records the audio from her fishing trips and mixes it with music and interviews to create some very innovative radio entertainment.
After listening to The Big Fish for the past 12 months I recently met Bonita at a game tournament. She is a keen angler and a great personality with a passion for radio and fishing.
Most of the keen fishos I know are regular listeners so tune to the South Coast fishing action and news. The Big Fish also has a website where you can post comments relating to fishing and photos –www.abc.net.au/illawarra/afternoons/features/fishing.htm . Email your photos to --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 657