Rains set up the season
  |  First Published: October 2006

It may be slightly late news now but Lake Wallumboola at Culburra was opened back in late August for the first time in 10 years.

I can remember the previous occasion, when we had some unbelievable fun with bream on fly. This time hasn’t been any different with some nice fish taken around the entrance. There were also some solid bream and salmon on the ocean side of the lake when it was open. It will probably be closed by the time you read this but it’s good to know that the old lake still holds some good stocks of bream. A good flush-out wouldn’t have hurt it one bit.

The late Winter rains didn’t do the Shoalhaven River any harm, either. The mild clean-out improved fishing no end with some nice bream and jewfish being taken just about all the way from Nowra to Crookhaven Heads.

Some of the jewies have been solid fish to 10kg and quite a few are being taken on lures. Some big bream are also around along with some good catches of blackfish around Greenwell Point. The next month or so will also see the flathead fishing pick up. Best bets are live poddy mullet or, better still, a handful of soft plastics.


The fishing out wide will start to fire in the next month or so as the weather and water warm. The water has been reasonably cold over the past two months but my young bloke was swimming in 19° water over the continental shelf in July. I don’t condone such behaviour but he said it did break the boredom.

At that stage the water was just cooling down enough for a few yellowfin. Most blue-water anglers were hoping for some ’fin back in May-June but the water was just too warm. A few fish showed in by July but they were patchy.

Some of the yellowfin were pretty solid with the average around 20kg to 30kg and the odd bigger fish to 60kg but it was a shame that the weather didn’t always make it easy to get at them.

Most boats that got out caught fish but they had to travel wide. Daniel Bennett from Predator Charters’ Canyon Runner got some good fish, on the best days landing up to 10 yellowfin to 50kg in up to 1000 fathoms wide of Kiama. The fishing just got better in August with some of the best yellowfin action down here in a long while. Most boats were getting several fish each trip on trolled lures and cubes.

Cubing is definitely the go if you are after that big fish. Light traces and tackle go a long way to improving your chances but it’s always a juggling act to match tackle to the fish.

There should also be a few makos around in the next month or two. I’ve never done a lot of shark fishing but my young bloke and his mates are all keen so I might go along for the odd trip. I certainly wouldn’t mind tagging a solid mako on 10kg or 15kg tackle or even cubing for a yellowfin while they berley.

I’ve always believed that you’ll never hook a yellowfin on a cube while drifting with shark baits out on wire traces and berleying with a pot, there’s too much noise and metal in the water. That theory was proven wrong in July when Ben O’Donnell from Shoalhaven GFC hooked and landed a 59.5kg yellowfin from Outcast while they drifted and berleyed for sharks. Outcast has been fishing for only months but has already accounted for a 458kg tiger shark and Ben’s record yellowfin so expect to hear more about this boat over the season.


I’m spilling the beans on some tactics and ploys that some anglers are planning for the upcoming gamefishing season. Most of these were divulged in detail at a recent presentation night, some by people under the influence of alcohol, so let’s have a look at what we can expect to see this Summer.

Several young local ladies are keen to get involved in gamefishing, two of which are my daughters, Elspeth and Rebecca. Bec, 11, did one trip to The Banks last Summer chasing marlin and she saw a few hooked. Her first trip out wide was in August almost 35 miles off Kiama when we got four yellowfin around 25kg and now she’s hooked. Elspeth, 17, has been doing a bit of video and photography work with me over the past 12 months so I’m sure she also wants to experience some of the great action. Several other women are talking about getting out there and that sounds like a great idea.

The other scoop I’m hearing of is an increased interest in light-tackle fishing. Over the past few seasons a few local boats have dabbled with 8kg and 10kg tackle and Paul Aulsebrook, who fishes on Dad’s Boat, holds the Australian record for a 108.5kg black marlin on 8kg, taken off Jervis Bay in March 2005. Friendly rivalry between a few local boats was recently fanned by Ben O’Donnell’s 59.5kg yellowfin on 8kg NSWGFA record claim.

I’ll be out having a go with the light stuff this year but I think I’ll be concentrating on using it from a big boat that can back down on a fish and not out of my boat, which is hopeless in reverse.

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