For the most parts June is a pretty dismal month on the fishing calendar but there area few little rays of sunshine that keep the optimistic fisho out there trying.
The main one is the fact of knowing that towards the end of the month the giant cuttlefish will start to breed if the water cools sufficiently, and that means the big reds, and lots of little ones too, will be on the hunt for spent cuttlies.
There are plenty of cuttlefish out there over the shallow reefs already just waiting for the moment, so gathering a couple for bait in readiness for the main season is always a good idea. A dead slimy mackerel or yellowtail fished very close to the bottom on a squid spike will usually attract any cuttlefish that are about.
They are not like your average squid; these molluscs can grow well in excess of 10kg so fairly robust tackle is needed to get them up to the boat. Then there is the ink factor. Squid can make a bit of a mess with their ink, but a big cuttle will cover you and the boat in a thick, sticky, black mess if it gets a good shot away. So you must be careful or wear the consequences.
Then you have to factor in the potential of a possible bite from the beak of one of these creatures if you get your hand in the wrong place. Just imagine the damage a beak twice the size of a white cockatoo can inflict – and they do bite.
If you are lucky you may find the odd early floater which will save you going to all this effort, but at this time of the year if you are going to be successful cuttlefish is the bait and will be for the next six to eight weeks.
It is not just the snapper that have a taste for the lumps of firm, white flesh. Bream, trevally, leatherjackets and kingfish all line up for a feed and it is the No1 bait for big jewies on the beaches at this time of the year.
Speaking of big jewies, there are some quality high tides during the evening this month so get out and have a look. The northern beaches seem to be the pick again and it will probably be a bit chilly but getting dragged up the beach by a metre-and-a-half of golden muscle beats sitting watching the box every time. Isn’t it amazing how you warm up when you hook a big fish?
There are still a few pesky whaler sharks about even at this time of the year but when things are slow, even a shark can be a welcome change.
If you set your sights a bit lower, there are plenty of bream on most beaches. Pick a good gutter and most mornings there should be some willing takers. Throw in the odd tailor and salmon and there is still some fun to be had on the sand. The best bait seems to be fresh slimy mackerel fillets and, you guessed it, cuttlefish.
The rocks are much the same, with bream in the shallow bays around Bellambi, Bass Point, Shellharbour and Kiama, while the deeper ledges have some silver trevally starting to show if you apply a bread and tuna oil berley.
Also on the deeper ledges there are a few salmon and even some bonito taking whole pilchards and crystal eye lures.
Most of the washes along the coast are holding some solid drummer. Try fishing some cunje or royal red prawns under a small bobby float about the size of a 50c piece and set the stopper to a metre or so off the bottom and see how you go.
The estuaries are very quiet with only a few bream around the rocky areas of the lake and a few in the feeder streams, so unless you are one of those who fishes the lake daily and has an intimate knowledge of the movements of these fish, give it a miss.
Offshore it is a little better with a few more options. There are small snapper over most of the reefs but finding where they are on the day can be a challenge. When you do find them, marking the spot on the GPS is a good way to find them again on the next drift.
Flathead are quiet but there have still been a few fish taken on the right day, while the odd mowie and trevally should be picked up on the edges of the reef.
The main species filling out the boxes have been leatherjackets so keep a few long-shank No.4 hooks in the box for these guys. Throw in a few sweep and the scene is complete.
Putting the anchor down and adding berley in the shallow bays in the mornings will produce good catches of bream, a few trevally and even the odd decent red. Royal red prawns and tuna pieces are the baits of choice.
Put the anchor down over the shallow reefs in 10 to 20 metres, then berley and you should be rewarded with some decent snapper. The quality and quantity will get better as the month progresses.
And there is only one bait – cuttlefish. There will probably be hordes of slimy mackerel and yellowtail attracted to the berley so a slab of either of these will score fish as well but it doesn’t stand up to the pickers as well as a piece of cuttley.
Put out a slimy as free-swimming live bait and put one on the bottom, which should cover the possibility of any kings or jewies in the area.
Trevally should be increasing in numbers around the islands. The eastern side of Toothbrush, the northern side of Pig and the eastern side of Gap are the best spots to start looking.
These areas will have salmon in the washes so a few pilchards cast into the foam should score a few fish along with the odd solid tailor.
The kings will be a bit scarce but live baits trolled or drifted around the islands or The Crankshaft area of Bass Point could get results.
Farther offshore, June has long been a good month for yellowfin tuna but you have to pick your day and keep your ear to the ground for any info of their whereabouts – and as always watch the weather.
I just have to shake my head in bewilderment when it comes to the folk who have been gathered together by the Government as members of the consultative committee for the new Batemans marine park south of this region.
One gentleman on this committee, from the greens, no less, stood in front of a news camera and stated that he would prefer the leaders in relation to marine reserves to lead rather than take any notice of public opinion on these matters, no matter how overwhelming.
His credentials were not forthcoming but as for his comment, any politician who takes scant regard of overwhelming public opinion generally is not a politician when the next lot of votes are counted.
With a committee made up of consultants such as this, I fear the worst for anglers unless we voice a loud opinion.Reads: 440