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Jewies go soft
  |  First Published: December 2002



Jewies go soft

In my December column I mentioned I was yet to catch a jew on lures but just a few days after I sent off that story, a couple of mates and I landed seven fish in one night on big soft plastics.

The lure most of us used was the 15cm (6”) Storm Wild Eye Shad. The fish landed ranged from 4kg to 13kg. All were taken after dark and it was very exciting slowly working soft plastics back, only to have them slammed just metres from our feet. You can bet I’ll be doing a lot more chasing jew on lures this Summer, and even next Autumn.

Apart from the jewies, the fishing has been pretty ordinary and most of this seems to be due to the drought and extreme weather of the past six months. It has been a long time since the South Coast has experienced so many strong Spring westerlies and they left some pretty poor fishing.

Some very slimy, cold water moved inshore in October and November and it is going to take a lot of nor’-easters to push in some warmer water. This should have happened around Christmas. Let’s hope so, because that slimy green stuff put the dampers on inshore fishing areas and even Jervis Bay and the Shoalhaven.

Before that nasty water entered the river we experienced some great flathead fishing with lures. I spent a morning with Chris and Adam Baker tossing soft plastics around and we landed around 20 lizards in several hours. The fish averaged around a kilo with nothing bigger than 55 cm. We had a great time with double hook-ups on just about every size and colour of plastic you can imagine. We even landed a sizable flounder on a small grub tail.

Outside fishing has been patchy but is on the mend as that green water disperses . Those who have ventured wide have been rewarded with the odd marlin along a few yellowfin.

Some reasonable sharks have been around and, once again, the guys aboard Magic have been into makos over 150kg on 15kg tackle. They’ll be chasing that 450kg tiger this season and I reckon they’re a big chance. They hooked fish to almost 500kg last year but lost them right at the boat after fights of more than five hours.

Beecroft Range

It’s not breaking news but the closure of Beecroft Range will have another negative effect on this region after we had 20% of Jervis Bay Marine Park made off-limits to fishing in 2002.

Beecroft Weapons Range is a large piece of land on the northern side of Jervis Bay, running right up to the township of Currarong. On its southern boundary are camping locations such as Honeymoon Bay, along with Long Beach and Target Beach. You can also add the Inner Tubes, The Docks and The Outer Tubes to these locations. On the coastline that runs north from Point Perpendicular lighthouse are locations that local anglers fought long and hard to keep open and out of sanctuary zones.

Much of this land is also used as a Navy bombing range and is regularly closed and blasted with all manner of hardware by ships miles out to sea. A large part of this land is a minefield, if you’ll excuse the pun. There are dirt tracks running through it that are used most weekends by anglers to access locations such as The Drum and Drumsticks, Diamond Head, Devils Gorge, The North Gorge, Crocodile Head, The Ladders, etc.

In September 2002, word got out that the Department of Defence was reviewing public access to Beecroft Weapons Range due to serious safety concerns. Since then several public meetings have been held where anglers have had a chance to put their views on options to reduce safety concerns.

This land is littered with unexploded shells that have been lobbed there since before World War II. Who knows what’s in there but with public liability being what is these days, I can see how the Department of Defence would be worried about some clown digging something up and then having it blow up in his face.

They say that this unexploded ordnance can’t be removed because it will cause significant environmental damage, so the easiest option is to lock everyone out and leave all the unexploded bombs there. Not bad, considering this land isn’t all that far from Currarong or Point Perpendicular lighthouse and that it forms the boundary of a marine park and also has considerable cultural significance.

No decision has been made yet but I’ll keep you posted.

Bones in paradise

One of the good bits about being a fishing writer is the chance to visit some exotic locations from time to time. Over the past few years I’ve fished New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu but just recently I enjoyed the best trip ever.

The destination was The Cook Islands. Fishing off the main island of Rarotonga was red-hot with marlin, big dolphin fish, wahoo and yellowfin. But we travelled north to Aitutaki and had an even better time.

Aitutaki is a large coral and volcanic outcrop – the most picturesque location I’ve ever travelled to. Inside the outer reef is a lagoon 12km by 15km full of the bluest water you could imagine. My main purpose was to find and catch bonefish and help develop a fishery that has remained virtually unheard of until now. We took fish to 3.7kg on fly over some of the best-looking flats I’ve ever fished. Keep an eye out for the Cook Islands bonefishery.

TRANSPARENCIES

1

Daniel Sefton with a Rarotongan yellowfin that ate a trolled popper.

2

Mark Finney with one of seven jewfish taken in one night on soft plastics.

3

Adam Baker with a Shoalhaven River lizard taken on a Storm soft plastic.

4

Land based fishing at The Drum and Drumsticks may soon be off the agenda. The Department of Defence is looking at closing Beecroft Range due to public safety concerns about unexploded ordnance.

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