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Snapper, kings warm the heart
  |  First Published: August 2006



August is a month of strong westerly winds and pretty slow fishing but there are a couple of things worth doing.

Every August we get some good snapper fishing over the inshore reefs. In years past we’ve drifted with lightly weighted floaters or anchored up and fished floaters down a berley trail. The fish haven’t been huge but we normally end up with half a dozen of a kilo or two with the odd 3kg specimen.

Now is the finish of the cuttlefish run and there are usually a few still floating about, which is probably why the reds are about in close. It wouldn’t take Einstein to work out that cuttlefish would the best bet for a bait selection right now.

A few of the locations we fish are 10m to 15m deep so you can bet we’ll also be giving the soft plastics a go this year. I’ve been fishing 9g and 11g Squidgy Fish heads with either Squidgy 110mm Flick Bait tails or some of the new 5” Gambler Super Studs.

August is also the time to be out looking for some kings at The Mud and The Banks. The past few seasons haven’t seen too many big Winter kings show up but every year we live in hope. They are about and we got into some reasonable fish back in May and June at The Banks.

The Mud fishery in August and September is fickle and very dependent on baitfish, the right water temperature and current. When it all comes together you can expect a few weeks of kings of 20kg-pluswhich will grab live baits fished deep with sinkers or on downriggers, but targeting them with deep jigging tackle is much more fun and usually easier.

I’m fully armed this year with a couple of new outfits. The rods are Shimano T-Curve 400s, one with a Stella 10000 with 65lb braid and the other has a Trinidad 40N and 85lb braid. I’ve had a play with the T-curve jig sticks and they are absolutely awesome. The 400 models are rated for 24kg to 37kg work and will seriously pull the kinks out of either line class.

The Stella 10000 and T-Curve spin rod is an absolute mind-blower and I still find it hard to believe that a threadline outfit can actually pull that hard. As you can see from the attached photo I don’t prescribe to the softly-softly technique when it comes to jigging kings. We’re fishing 10kg to 12kg of drag over the Stella and last weekend I actually straightened out a snap swivel. It looked like a paper clip when it came back.

The poor old kings don’t know what’s hit them although that may change if those big Winter models show up.

The Williamson jigs have proven very effective on the local kings. At The Banks we’ve been fishing 200g to 300 gram Abyss knife-style jigs and also the Benthos model, which is just a long, slim fish shape. Most of the blues, greens, lumo and purple colours have been working well.

We fish these with a single Owner assist-style hook on kevlar cord off the front of the jig. I’m fishing a short 50-turn Bimini double in the braid and looping it to a 2m Goodger wind-on leader in 130lb fluorocarbon. Goodger Tackle is making jig-specific wind-ons these days with 200lb Spectra loops and 100lb, 130lb or 150lb fluorocarbon. They’re just the shot for deep jig work but they also work well for trolling lures for yellowfin and are perfect for cubing. Mark Goodger is pretty guarded about what materials he uses but these latest fluorocarbon and Spectra models are the best I’ve seen anywhere.

Heavy jig tackle puts that much pressure on terminal gear that I’ve had to rethink everything I’ve learned over the past 20 years. Tackle and leaders that have served me well fishing 24kg stand up gear just won’t take the rigors of heavy, deep jigging.

Deep jigging has been gaining momentum over the past few years and there is now a heap of hi-tech tackle that is awesome to fish with. It’s also very expensive so if you have the odd $2000 or $3000 lying around, check it all out. The good stuff includes the new breed of super threadlines from Shimano and Daiwa, along with rods from both companies. Shimano are just about to release a new range of Japanese jig sticks and Loomis have just released a couple of new ones. Some of this tackle is very serious and I’m looking at even fishing some of it for black and striped marlin this Summer.

WHAT THE?

In an ironic twist, the South Coast phone book came out back in June. It normally sports a photo of local destinations or people on the cover but this year they have a photo of someone fishing. What an absolute joke! What they should have had was a photo of a Marine Park sanctuary zone sign saying that fishing is not allowed.

Let’s hope no one looks at the phone book and seriously expects to visit the area and go fishing anywhere they like. That cover photo should have a big red circle and line through it warning that recreational fishing isn’t considered important, valuable or viable by the state Labor government or the Greens that they pander to.

Facts

GO THE CROC

You’ve probably all seen those plastic clog shoes called Crocs being worn around somewhere. I first came across these up in the Gold Coast last Winter, where they were in a lot of surf shops. I didn’t take them too seriously until last Summer when I saw a few locals wearing them and even a few mates raving about them.

Bobby Russo was one of the first down this way to see the fishing potential of Crocs. When I finally got around to having a look at them I was quite impressed with the design. I have no idea what type of material they are made from but it’s lightweight, doesn’t rot, is impervious to saltwater, squid ink and fish blood and doesn’t get smelly with foot odour – the perfect material for fishing shoes!

Crocs are very comfortable and I now own two pairs and my wife and daughter own some, too. They are a fantastic boat shoe in Summer and can be worn with socks in Winter. They are rarely off my feet these days and are well worth checking out. In Nowra the local agent is Direct Bikes at East Nowra shops.

Rebecca Finney wearing her pink Croc shoes while squidding in Jervis Bay.

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