Penchant for pelagics
  |  First Published: February 2005

This is a seriously good month to chase a fish anywhere around Batemans Bay, with water temperatures close to their peak and pelagic fish most prevalent.

Kingfish will be attracting huge amounts of interest from the trailer-boat fraternity on the close reefs off Moruya and Durras. Some days, up to 40 boats can be anchored on the One Mile at Moruya, with several pros lead-lining among the flotilla, making for chaotic scenes.

Catching kings on the inshore reefs is a fairly straight up-and-down affair so nobody really obstructs each other but I’d rather seek peace and quiet away from the masses. Places like Broulee Island wide, Burrie Point and Jimmys Island are just a few spots that produce kingies without the crowds.

If you are trolling the coastline, do the rock fishos a favour and give them a 300-metre wide berth, especially at Pretty Point. LBG fishos often drift live baits up to 200 metres wide and infringing boaters may suffer verbal abuse and snapper leads showering on them.

Some big schools of bonito have been around and frigate mackerel should be on the chew by now, keeping the spin brigade happy and the LBG boys tingling with anticipation.

I am sure a willing hammerhead shark or bronze whaler, maybe even a big kingfish, would gobble down one of these baits if you sent one back out under a balloon. It has been a few seasons now since anybody I know of has caught a South Coast longtail but this month is the time to score one. I reckon you’d have to be live-baiting at least four days a week for the next two months to be in with a realistic chance. We see only a few pods of northerns cruise the South Coast each year so a big dose of luck plays a major role in success.


Snapper have been unseasonably close to shore recently with pilchard-tossers doing extremely well. Paul Richards has had many quality sessions on reds from his favourite rock with one stand-out session resulting in 10 snapper between 2kg and 3.5kg. He also lost an estimated 6kg to 7kg ripper at his feet as his mate was too slow with the gaff – I know that pain all too well!

Paul reckoned that the fish hit the afterburners on the first run, taking him deep into the spool. A big red from the shore can take line off a reel faster than few other fish and has to be seen to be believed, especially when hooked on a ganged pillie so close to the rocks.

Estuaries are on fire up and down the coast and should only get better now the holiday congestion is thinning out. Phil Petridis has been doing famously on big bruiser whiting, averaging a dozen to 40cm each outing and releasing a stack of bream and flatties. Catching his own beach worms for bait is his secret to success.

At the time of writing good jewies have been showing up in the Clyde River and Lake Tuross by day and night on various baits but lure casters are not doing as well due to the water clarity. The fish have been averaging 6kg with a 9kg fish the biggest I have heard of.

Some really big jewies have been sighted chasing big mullet in the shallows. Phil saw a huge jew leaving big holes in the river one day as it pursued fleeing 2kg bully mullet.

Speaking of worms and whiting, the beaches are delivering equally good catches of whiting for those willing to catch worms. There is a bit of a knack to catching them but it is worth the effort.

Nice bream are falling to the same worm baits but not in any numbers. Some school jew have been about but I haven’t heard of any big fella‚s lately.

This 11kg mulloway found a 4” Berkley stickbait matched to a Squidgy 7g resin-jig head an irresistible combination. The dirty water should have cleared in the Clyde by now, providing soft-plastic chuckers an opportunity.

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