SOME WARM, but late, water has finally managed to trickle down our way and improve the fishing.
Everyone I’ve spoken to reckons this season is a month later than normal and I’d have to agree when it comes to fishing outside. The kingfish and snapper arrived late and some species, like striped tuna, hardly made an appearance at all last Spring. While these events may seem tragic to many of us and have others scratching their heads and wondering where the hell the fish have gone, they are just Nature’s way of adjusting its clock.
A mate recently pointed out that exactly the same thing happened in 1987, when everything was a month late for some reason. In both cases, a lot of this was attributed to warm ocean currents not flowing down in October and November and some fish never showed up, while others turned up or starting feeding a month later than anglers expected.
I’ve heard theories banding about over the past few months blaming everything from El Nino to the drought and even commercial fishermen catching everything, but the fish are still out there and haven’t all been caught or disappeared off the face of the earth. They have just taken a bit longer to get here, so have patience.
Proof of this was shown to me back in November when we finally got onto some blackfish from the Currarong rocks after several months of fishless trips. Most years the fish are on the chew by October but this was not the case last Spring. Even early November was dead but all that changed on the November full moon and we caught some nice fish. The best fish was a 1.5kg male that Roger Morley landed – his best-ever blackfish after a several quiet months.
So what happens now ? Can we expect the February run of marlin to arrive in March? I don’t know. A few marlin were hooked in the White Sands competition run by Huskisson Gamefishing Club in late November, so hopefully this year should see a ‘normal’ marlin season, if there is such a thing. We’ve got the new boat decked out and my young bloke has his heart set on tagging a few blacks and stripies and I’m keen to get back out there and mix it up with a stick-face.
I don’t go away on holidays with the family much these days. I spend more than enough time away from home with work and magazine assignments, so spare time is spent at home with the family. We are very fortunate to live in a small fishing village that many anglers visit for holidays so I guess any time off I have is like a holiday – but I still have to do the normal chores.
If I were going away this Summer, I’d more than likely pick a location with good fishing, easy boat ramp access and quality facilities like cleaning tables and tidy accommodation. Outside fishing options are a necessity, along with a river in case the weather or seas turn bad. A few decent restaurants and pubs don’t hurt, either. Come to think of it, that sounds like Greenwell Point!
If you are going on holidays this year and own a boat, give it a good going over before you leave. Get the motor serviced and check the batteries and electronics. I know a lot of people who use their boats very little during Winter and when they get dragged out of mothballs they cause nothing but grief when things don’t work. It pays to go over everything and tidy it up or get it serviced before you go on holidays – it will cost more to get it done while you are away and will cause stress and disrupt your fishing.
Same goes for the trailer. Check the brakes, bearings and lights a few weeks before you go, not the morning you pack up to leave. If you are serious about your fishing you’ll more than likely have quality gear so get that checked in the weeks before you leave. This means getting reels serviced, new line if necessary along with tying new leaders and replacing rusty hooks on lures, etc. Take the time to give your gear a good going over and replace or repair whatever your need to.
Safety gear also should be looked at. Check your flares and lifejackets and remember that it is compulsory to wear PFD 1 lifejackets when crossing any NSW bar. I reckon Waterways will be enforcing this over Summer so don’t end up paying a fine that could be better spent on taking the family to dinner.
Most importantly, enjoy the time with family and friends in a responsible manner.
Like many areas up and down the coast, the Shoalhaven has a Volunteer Coastal Patrol organisation largely funded by local raffles and donations. From a fledgling start many years ago, it has grown to take in two rescue craft, with many local volunteers offering their time each weekend to help make boating in our area safer. Like all the others, our Coastal Patrol does a sterling job that often goes unrewarded and even unrecognised.
Recently a mate and I witnessed a strange sight. We had just returned to a ramp at Greenwell Point when we saw what appeared to be one of the local rescue craft getting taken out of the water and put on a small box trailer. Now this vessel is at least nine metres and I couldn’t help grabbing a quick photo before we realised that they weren’t trying to put the boat on the trailer, they were taking a heavy mooring weight out of the trailer before putting it down for a local boat. As you can see from the attached photo it looked pretty strange at the time.
If you are down this way over the holidays, say g’day to the local volunteers and chip in a few bucks for any raffle they are conducting. You never know – they may save your life or tow your boat back home after it breaks down.
It may be Summer but the rocks are still producing some solid drummer for those who go looking. This fish was taken with some bread berley and royal red prawn bait.
Roger Morley with a 1.5kg blackfish taken from a Currarong ledge.
Andrew Finney releasing an 82cm lizard in the Shoalhaven River. It goes without saying that this fish grabbed a soft plastic.
No they’re not trying to winch that boat onto a box trailer. The Shoalhaven Marine Rescue guys were actually unloading a mooring weight off the trailer. They do a great job for little reward or recognition so if you are down our way over Summer, buy some of their raffle tickets and support them.Reads: 440