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Cover your options
  |  First Published: March 2005



Despite March being one of the best fishing months of the year, things have been a bit patchy down here of late so they’ll need to improve.

The fishing has varied from day to day and week to week over the past month – at least on the outside scene. With variable weather patterns and ocean currents that seem to run hot one day and then slow down for a few days, I guess it’s understandable that results will be up and down.

The best solution is to just get out there and do your best on each day and take what comes.

However, it always pays to have a back-up plan if the main game isn’t going your way. By this I mean covering a few options, like being prepared to jig for kings if the marlin aren’t playing or chase squid if the inshore reefs aren’t producing snapper.

Covering a few bases never hurts and it has saved the day for us on more than one occasion. Options like drifting for flathead and chasing squid are usually pretty reliable so they are always worth looking at if things are slow.

Another good tip when planning an outside trip is to get an accurate weather report so you can be sure it will be possible to actually fish where and for what you want. It’s not much use deciding to look for a marlin at The Banks and then find a 20-knot southerly blowing when you get outside the heads. You would have been much better off getting a weather report and maybe fishing Currarong Bommie or somewhere else that is sheltered from a southerly.

I usually call the local Volunteer Rescue on 02 4447 4466. You’ll get a 24-hour recorded weather report on that number and it’s usually quite accurate. Another report I often use is a print-out from a website that lists wind and swell patterns obtained from ocean buoys around the place. The site is www.buoyweather.com and you just go into your local area and select the virtual buoy.

The print-out gives swell and wind direction and size/strength predictions for the following week and is also quite accurate and very useable.

Getting a weather report before fishing outside is critical not only for your own safety and those who may have to attempt to rescue you when it all turns pear-shaped but it’s also important for your fishing prospects.

Only a fool puts his boat in and heads outside without knowing what the weather is going to do. At best you may find yourself having to head home into a stiff breeze after fishing all morning down south – when you could have headed north and come back with the wind behind you.

Knowing what the weather is going to do should also play some part in where you fish and what you fish for. It’s pretty stupid planning to fish The Block, 12 miles out, if a southerly change or howling westerly is predicted. The worst-case scenario of not getting a weather report is nightmare material. Punching back home in strong winds and rough seas is bad enough but when it’s that bad that the boat is at risk of capsizing, waves are coming over the front and smashing windscreens and you are in serious fear of loosing your life – well that’s not fun at all.

I’ve been in that situation a few times and every time we had neglected to get a weather report.

OUTSIDE THE SQUARE

A couple of months ago I suggested that with the impending Christmas holidays it would be well worth thinking outside the square and fishing odd times to avoid the inevitable holiday crowds. The amount of boat traffic in our local river during good weather is phenomenal and has to contribute to putting fish down and spooking them during the day.

I’m not sure how many anglers took that advice, although we did see a few out at night and early mornings and in most cases they had avoided the crowds. A number of local anglers from McCallums Sports store were out early a few mornings. John Nowlen and Gavin McCallum took the opportunity to wet a line before work and fished the river before it was bombarded with boat traffic and after it had been quiet for 10 or 12 hours.

It must have worked because they scored a few jew on lures at a time when most holidaymakers were struggling to get any more than a few flathead. In their usual secretive fashion they didn’t say too much or let on until each capture a was a week or so old.

The best session was shared by Gavin and Wes Murphy, who took four fish to 10kg on soft plastics. They wouldn’t divulge where but I did see them peppering one particular piece of structure between the Comarong Island ferry and Crookhaven Heads on a few occasions so I can only assume that was the hot spot.

TRANSPARENCIES

1

Most of the local creeks are producing some solid bream on lures and fly at the moment.

2

Salmon like this 3kg specimen are quite plentiful along the beaches and headlands now.

3

The rocks around Currarong have been very quiet for blackfish over the past few seasons but head south of Jervis Bay and there’s a heap of fish from most platforms.

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