A propensity for pelagics
  |  First Published: March 2005

Cranking a metal lure at break-neck speed and having it crunched by a hungry pelagic off the rocks is what March has always been about for me.

It’s the ‘money month’ when, if ever there was a guarantee of a small to middleweight tuna or kingfish to be captured from the shore, this would be the time to lay your cash down.

Your pelagic ‘bet’ could see a payout in the form of bonito up to 5kg, mack tuna to 7kg, striped tuna to 4kg or the numero-uno live bait, the frigate mackerel. There’s also the odd tropical oddball like small samson fish or an outside chance at a rat yellowfin or longtail tuna, so there’s a big list of line-burners.

Rampaging rat kingfish will no doubt try to bury you into the sea floor, too. Availability of these species waxes and wanes from season to season and the best way of finding out what’s on is to get down to the nearest deep-water platform and pelt metal until your arms fall off.

Mix up the retrieve and the size of your lures until you start getting bites. We have had days where mack tuna wouldn’t touch a lure bigger than a 20g Raider and other days when frigates hit only big 65g lures.

Running depth of the lure also makes a difference. I remember one week on bonito when the lure had to be popping the surface to get a hit. Then the next day the only way we could hook one was by using a slow, erratic retrieve really deep and risking getting snagged on the bottom every cast.

I also have some fond memories of mates getting clean spooled several times in one day by northern blues while spinning for frigates with micro Crystal Eyes slugs – fun times indeed.

Of course, you could always expand the species on offer by jigging an array of softies down deep. The list of species that will smack a 4” stickbait is too numerous to mention but snapper, jewies and kingfish are the pinnacle.


Estuary fishing will still be in full swing for the next few months and if recent reports are anything to go by then this month will be a beauty. In the Clyde River all the local boys have been having a ball surface-luring big agro bream from the rocks, mangroves and oyster racks throughout most of the system. Smak Skywalkers, Squidgy Bugs and Sugoi poppers are doing the most damage.

Whiting numbers are still great and they are averaging 40cm for those in the know. School jewfish continue to defy the nets with fish between 6kg and 13kg sporadically showing up. A Wagga tourist was seen capturing a fat 6kg jew at 8am at the bridge on freezer-burnt frozen carp fillets and he lost a bigger specimen on the next cast!

In the deep water Wade Eaton scored another nice jewfish on a 4” Berkley stickbait in a new location to christen Ben Roberts’ 2004 BREAM grand final prize boat, much to Ben’s disdain. To the disbelief of some anchored bait-soakers beside them, Wade released the jew after a few pics.

Ben has had an interesting introduction to life as a boater. His maiden voyage in the new rig was mostly to run in the new motor on a run up to Cockwhy. Avoiding an overtaking ski boat, Ben pitched himself clean out of his seat in what could have been an ugly incident. A driveway reversing incident a few days later topped off a harsh introduction to boating but he’s been catching heaps of good fish to balance out the mayhem.

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