By the time you read this there hopefully should be a few yellowfin about. Last year around this time we were getting some reasonable results out wide by trolling lures and cubing.
Most of the action was going on at the Jervis Bay and Drum canyons and even a bit wider some days. Most of the fish averaged 6kg to 8kg but the odd better specimen up to 30kg and 40kg was also taken.
The larger fish were a bit patchy at times but the smaller rats were fairly easy to find and catch. We got most of ours on small pushers and jet heads around 6” and 8”. Pinks and blues were working but our most consistent results came on lumo green Top Guns and JB Lures or CD 18 Rapalas rigged on 60kg leaders and fished on 10kg stand-up tackle. There were also a few albacore mixed in with the ’fin at times and even a few striped marlin in May.
Now is also kingfish time for many rock and boat anglers. The Banks and The Block have been fishing pretty well over the past month with kings to 25kg taken on live baits. A few fish are also getting taken down deep on knife jigs but deep-fished live baits are working much better.
You can drop the baits down with a large sinker on top of the leader or, better still, use a down rigger. We’ve been using a Cannon downrigger for the past 12 months and it’s the best thing I’ve come across for presenting livies to kings around structure. We use a cord to attach the main line to the ball via a rubber band, just as we do with the tag line on our outriggers. Drop the 10lb ball down to the desired depth and hang on.
When a king eats your squid or live slimy, the band breaks and the line starts angling out the back. Slip the reel up to strike and wait for the circle hook to click over the fish’s jaw hinge.
It sounds easy and that part probably is. The hard bit is landing those big kings. We fish 24kg tackle with 9kg or 10kg of drag but that doesn’t stop them all.
We’re also going to experiment over the next month with jigs on a few reefs other than The Banks or The Block. I was talking to a local pro fishers who told me he catches kings on several other reefs when The Banks isn’t firing. I’ve got the GPS marks for a few of the reefs he mentioned so expect to see us out there exploring down deep with jigs and live baits.
Anyone who fishes the rocks or beaches will be having a ball at the moment. The beaches are fishing well for salmon and tailor and the odd jewie is being taken at night by anglers prepared to put in time and effort. Deep gutters on a run-up tide are good and if possible use fresh bait and change it regularly.
There are several beaches that fish well for jew at this time of the year. Shoalhaven Heads would be the pick but Currarong also produces some nice fish each Autumn.
The rocks are also fishing well for bread-and-butter fish like blackfish, drummer, groper, snapper and bream. Some nice blackfish and drummer are being taken around quite a few washes at Currarong and down south. The blackfish will probably start to thin out next month when they move into the estuaries so if you like a feed of fresh blackfish, now’s the time.
A lot of people tell me they don’t like blackfish to eat but I reckon they’ve never tasted fresh ones taken from the ocean rocks. Killed and bled straight out of the water and kept cool, they can’t be faulted. I fillet them, then skin, bone and crumb the fillets before shallow-frying them. Add a fresh salad or steamed vegies and you’re in heaven.
Expect to see some photos of big snapper taken on soft plastics over the next few months. Quite a few local guys are waiting on some colder weather to hit them hard in Jervis Bay this Winter. They’ve got a few spots that have produced fish to 6kg over Summer and Autumn so watch this space. A friendly competition is on to see who can catch the biggest red on a plastic this Winter.
And don’t just think all the action will be taking place in Jervis Bay. I know of a few other sheltered bays and coves that will be getting hit hard this Winter with soft plastics.
(Photo by Scott Sharpe)Reads: 1941