The serious cold weather has arrived and the fishing is getting a bit limited down here this month.
This month and next produce the two slowest fishing of the year and that’s probably lucky, because getting up and out of bed on these cold mornings isn’t easy. There is, however, some incentive to get out there and wet a line.
The cuttlefish will be running by now, which means there should be some decent reds around in close. These are within reach of the rock anglers who fish floaters or even bottom baits, but anyone with a suitable boat can get out there and fish in close with floaters or soft plastics.
If using bait, I guess cuttlefish would be the obvious choice but pilchards or even tuna strips will work. Fishing anywhere around concentrations of dead cuttlefish would be a good idea. I’ll be trying some white and pearl coloured plastics this Winter and it’ll be interesting to see how they perform when the cuttlefish are about.
Our local rock anglers have had a pretty hard time in recent years with Marine Park sanctuary zones, the Currarong bombing range off limits and various track closures south of Jervis Bay. Now comes news that a very small group of greenies is pushing to have the last driving track to a couple of Currarong rock platforms closed because someone drove too far along it and opened it up to reach another location.
The track in question runs from Currarong out to Old Mans Hat and The Eaves and was fenced off recently to prevent people driving out to these platforms. That was a big blow but to make it even worse came news that the fence was erected on the complaint of only one person who notoriously dislikes anglers. When a track that is used by dozens is closed off because one person complains you’ve got to ask questions don’t you ? Interestingly, the fence was only there for a few days before it was demolished by locals and the track opened up.
One angler recently told me that situations like that only make criminals out of honest people who refuse to be locked out of areas they’ve fished all their lives. I’d never condone wilful damage but I can certainly understand how some anglers must be feeling.
I used to be a keen rock fisherman until a few years ago. These days I don’t bother because most of our decent platforms are closed and the remaining ones are often too crowded. It’s a shame because many anglers who visited this area came to experience the exceptional land-based angling at Currarong. These days many of them go elsewhere.
Even local LBG anglers are travelling north in search of game fish from the rocks. It’s not because there are no fish down here, it’s just that the Government won’t let us fish the platforms where we can catch them. With so many areas off limits or proposed to be off limits in the near future I can’t understand why we have to pay for a fishing licence. Most other states have no licence and you can fish just about anywhere.
Some time back I gave local radio program The Big Fish a plug. It airs from 3pm to 4pm on Wednesdays on ABC Illawarra and is hosted by Bonita Brown, a keen fisho who’s pretty handy with a rod and reel.
Several months ago I offered to take Bonnie fishing in Jervis Bay for squid. It took some time to get a suitable weekend but it finally happened. We set off early from Callala Bay and spent an hour or two tossing soft plastics at reds without much luck. We got only a few hours in before the wind picked up so we elected to find some shelter and see if we could catch a feed of calamari over near Red Rock.
The plan worked and we ended up out of the cold wind catching a few squid. My daughter Rebecca loves fishing for squid and usually catches a few each trip when we go but this day she was on fire. I lost count of how many she caught in an hour or two.
Part of the trip was so that Bonnie could interview Bec for her show. Between Bec and Bonnie, poor old Andrew and I spent most of the morning dodging flying squid ink or taking them off the jigs.
It was a very enjoyable session and the crumbed calamari rings were very tasty. The only down side was that it took Andrew and I another hour to clean the boat when we got back. It wasn’t even my boat either – it was a 5m Predator centre console we had for a boat test but it was returned spotless.
By the time you’re reading this there may be a run of southern bluefin tuna off the South Coast. A few local crews have had mixed success over the past few years with fish to 120kg being taken by Juzrah out of Jervis Bay. Last year was a non-event but this Winter may be better after some good fish were taken in Victoria and Tasmania in April. There will be several crews down this way hoping so.
If any of these guys want to know how to go about fighting a large bluefin on stand-up tackle they could do worse than grabbing a copy of Dennis Braid’s Atlantic Giants: The Ultimate Bluefin. Expat Aussie Dennis Braid has honed his stand-up techniques and tackle chasing big yellowfin on the party boats out of San Diego and has he’s travelled the world catching some enormous game fish on 37kg and 60kg stand-up tackle. He manufactures and markets his own range of harnesses, stand-up rod belts, lures and accessories.
On the DVD they fish close to the North Carolina coast in Winter, with a snowfall one day. Bluefin to around 250kg smash the baits quite regularly and Dennis spends most of his time battling them on stand-up 60kg tackle. I doubt I’ve ever seen anyone put as much pressure on a fish than this guy, his technique is absolutely awesome. If you want to learn how to fish heavy stand-up tackle, grab this DVD.Reads: 993