Watching the warm water
  |  First Published: November 2006

If the past several months are anything to go by, predicting what could be happening now will be quite difficult. It could be a feast or a famine in November.

From May to October was one of the strangest outside fishing periods that I have seen. I’m certainly not complaining because it turned on some of the best action I can remember. It really was like jumping in a time machine and being transported back 20 years to a time when there were a lot more fish in the ocean.

Back in May, June and July The Banks produced some of the best kingfish action we’ve had down this way in 10 years. I’ve fished The Banks for quite a few years and it’s been a long time since I can remember jigging 6kg to 12kg kings and getting hit every drop at stages. I lost count of the number of fish we caught and released on jigging tackle.

It was also a great opportunity to test some new jigging tackle and jigs. The new generation of jig-specific threadlines and overhead reels are absolutely awesome and the new-age rods match them perfectly, allowing you to fish 60lb and 80lb braid with 10kg or 12kg drag settings.

I’d always jigged with overhead tackle but after last Winter I’ve decided that I prefer threadlines. They allow the jig to sink quicker and are much easier to jig with. I think the overhead has an advantage when fighting a fish but the top-quality threadlines are devastating fish-stoppers.


As if the kingfish action wasn’t enough, July to September turned on some of the most spectacular yellowfin fun in many years. I spent a bit of time chasing yellowfin 20 years ago and I can remember days when we had fish lined up at the back of the boat just waiting for a cube to be fed to them.

I’ve often dreamt of those days since the mid-1980s and never really thought we’d see them again. I had even convinced myself that it was quite doubtful that my children would ever catch a half-decent yellowfin. It was quite depressing to imagine future generations never having that opportunity.

Well, the past few months have given me hope that the current generation of young anglers may actually have a good opportunity to see and catch a yellowfin tuna in the future.

The yellowfin fishing gave us another superb opportunity to test some new gear and fine-tune some techniques and tackle. With the fish averaging 20kg to 30kg we chose to fish 8kg and 10kg stand-up outfits with light, wind-on leaders and circle hooks. I used my 8kg-10kg stand-up Pacific Composites blank with a new Tiagra 20A and 10kg Tortue IGFA line.

The new A series Tiagra features a ratchet drag quadrant to allow more accurate drag settings and reduce the chance of the lever moving. I’ve lost count of the yellowfin the new 20A has caught in its first three months but I’m very impressed.

We had 19° and 20° water in August and September, unusually warm for the time of year. In August that water was 40 miles out which meant quite a run to find the yellowfin but it gradually worked in closer to the shelf.

You can easily track it by logging onto the CSIRO marine website. Just do a search on Sydney-Hobart and you’ll find the page that shows the ocean currents along with the surface temperature.

Most people I’ve spoken to recently believe that the push of warm water down the NSW coast won’t ease off and it may be up to 21° or 23° degrees by November. If that’s the case you’d better get the marlin gear dusted off early this season because it may be a good one. Last season was pretty poor so we’re probably due for a good one.


The Shoalhaven River will be firing for lizards right about now. I don’t think too many people fish for flathead with bait these days, most preferring to go the soft-plastic route. Why on earth would you bother with bait when you can catch as many or more on soft plastics?

All of the usual haunts from Nowra down to the Crookhaven entrance will be firing by now so get out there and have a go.

Same applies to jewies; there will be some nice fish about at the moment. You can fish early morning or late arvo with soft plastics or even have a go at night with bait.

A week either side of the full moon is good and any deep water from Broughton Creek down to the Coal Wharf is worth fishing if you have a boat. If you don’t, try where the Comerong Island punt is located or even Greenwell Point wharf.

Now should also be a good time to have a look at the local beaches. As the water warms and the baitfish activity increases you can expect to find some salmon and tailor just on sunrise and probably some nice bream and whiting during the day.

You can toss metal lures for the pelagics or use pilchards in a three-hook rig. Beach worms are the go for the bream and whiting.

The further you walk from any car park or civilisation, the better your chances so get out there and get a bit of exercise and fresh air while you fish.

The local rocks will also be firing for blackfish by now. Early Summer sees the odd trickle of warm water in close and with it comes all the floating debris and weed that blackfish love to hang around and eat.

Getting them up on top and visible is as good as blackfishing gets from the rocks. We fish a tiny bobby cork with cabbage baits. Another option is to scatter a bit of bread about and get them berleyed up on top. You can even use a piece of bread for bait if you like.

As you can see, the fishing options in November are expanding by the day so get out there and get into it.

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