So many options
  |  First Published: March 2003

This month a keen angler has too many options on which species of fish to target. The water temps are usually at their peak and the holiday madness is long gone.

Chasing an estuary or beach mulloway could be worth a shot because some real beasts have been turning up of late. As with most mulloway successes, specific techniques and the freshest or live bait are usually the only choice.

However, this is not always the case. A Victorian visitor and an ACT tourist recently found out that pilchards, light line and no trace can account for 25kg and 28kg jew, much to the disdain of local fishos.

The 28kg fish in particular was most unfortunate, being captured off the breakwall on 8kg line, two-and-a-half hours into the run-in tide and was captured with relative ease. Mad-keen jewie fisherman Justin Lake happened to be there seeking bait and assisted in gilling the fish for the lone angler with no gaff. It must have been tough to drag up his dream fish for someone else!

Justin reckons the two hooks and 45kg trace lodged in the fish’s gills from a recent encounter may have had something to do with the jewie’s lacklustre performance. Still, it is good to see such fish are still around The Bay and I’m sure those tourists will be back with high hopes next Summer!

Estuary fishing should be approaching a peak towards the end of the month, with stud bream in the oyster racks a big drawcard for the lure-tossers. I lost a real corker in the racks the other day that would have easily eclipsed my personal best on artificials. It snapped one treble and straightened the other boatside, away from the racks, after all the hard work had seemingly been done. We got a good look at her but a photo would have been nice.

Mini-cobia have also been showing up in the river, stealing live baits intended for jewfish. Local floor tiler Ed Hill has caught three at the time of writing and several other anglers have run into the odd one. I’d love to hook one on the soft plastic silly gear while chasing bream – that sure would be fun!

Kings aplenty

In the ocean, kingfish should almost be guaranteed on live baits and lures over the next few months. According to Phil Petridis, good mate Mick Fletoridis and ‘Saint’ have been having blinder days on Durras kings using metal jigs to snare fish to an impressive 16kg in substantial numbers. The king is back, so it would seem. Hats off to a rare success in fish management!

March is a good month on the rocks for kingfish, especially if that little ball of energy, the frigate mackerel, shows up. Kings cannot refuse a live one panicking in front of their noses.

I really enjoy spinning for frigates and this year I am going to throw white Squidgy curly tails at them to try something different. In the past I have proved the worth of a slow retrieve with the tight action of the Halco 30g slice (silver treble replaced with a bronze one to reduce the visible length) out-fishing the super-fast slug spinners on most occasions. One morning I caught 16 frigates on the slowly-retrieved Halco while my three companions managed only one each.

Speed is not everything and I reckon the subtle action of the Squidgies might go one better. I can, however, see one drawback (which isn’t really a bad thing) – how am I going to keep the bonito, rat kings and salmon away from them? I’ll let you know the results in a couple of months.

Photo captions.


Justin Lake, right, Peter Fantella, left, and friend with a 28kg jewfish for one very lucky Canberra angler. A trace hangs from the fishes gills from a previous encounter.


Huge long toms have been quite prolific in the Clyde lately, surprising bream spinners and flathead trollers when they rocket out of the water trying to rid themselves of their spiky meal.

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