THE PAST month has been quite good for fishing compared with February, which was dominated by strong offshore currents that hampered most efforts.
At one stage the current was running south so strongly that most fish trap floats were dragged under, The Banks and Shallows were boiling and even The Block could be picked out by the moving water. The Block is surrounded by 100 metre-deep water and comes up to about 85 or 90 metres so you can imagine how fast the current was running. We fished the weekend that the current started running hard early in February. The water was 23° and cobalt blue but clear and there wasn’t a lot of bait around. We drifted and slow trolled live slimies most of the day and never turned a reel. Boats out at the continental shelf didn’t fair much better either.
There seemed to be more marlin around in closer, where there was some bait. Several fish were landed from the rocks including a few from The Tubes and one howler from The Eaves that went 130kg, possibly the largest land-based marlin ever caught. You’ll hear more about this.
I’m unsure if the strong current had any effect on the beaches, river or rocks but the clear water and lack of baitfish didn’t help. Everything seemed to be biting very shyly and most successful anglers went down in line class and trace size, whether chasing marlin or blackfish. Guys fishing light traces produced a few good fish so keep this in mind when the water is clear.
Recent events around here have quite a few rock anglers hopping mad, if you’ll excuse the pun. A substantial length of rocky coastline was included in sanctuary zones when the Jervis Bay Marine Park was drafted. Local rock anglers lost the area between Crocodile Head south to Point Perpendicular lighthouse, along with locations inside Jervis Bay and on the southern side.
Not long after that, the Defence Department figured that it probably wasn’t a safe thing to have people driving and climbing all over a live bombing range so almost the rest of the Beecroft Peninsula was closed. The tiny bit left these days takes in Big and Little Beecroft, Old Mans Hat, The Eaves and Moore’s Gorge. Inside JB you can fight for room at The Tubes and that’s about it.
Just prior to last Christmas, Booderee National Park, on the southern side of Jervis Bay, suffered some bad fires and was closed for most of the school holidays. This included camping grounds, walking tracks and roads. Most anglers accepted the inconvenience while the damage was assessed and repaired.
At the start of February, Roger Morley and I headed down to Booderee, paid our $10 park entry and were given a piece of paper that outlined which areas were closed. You guessed it – the road to Moes Rock and Stony Creek was still closed, almost two months after the fires. We simply turned around and went home.
It would have been nice if the guy at the pay station had told us that most of the park was closed before he took our money. I wonder how many other people have paid for park entry in recent months and then found out that most of the grounds, beaches, tracks and roads were closed.
I have also heard mutterings that the indigenous owners of Booderee National Park would like to use the fires as a reason to keep it off limits as long as possible. Since it was handed back to the traditional owners, quite a few tracks have been closed to limit access for rock anglers and the current road closures several months after the fires seem a bit suss. They claim some of the tracks are still dangerous but how could it take several months to assess and clear any burnt or fallen timber on a few kilometres of road ? We were told that it wouldn’t be open until Easter but the local paper ran a story saying it would be open in two weeks. I’ll keep you posted.
• My 12-month project refurbishing a Cruise Craft boat is nearing completion. Everything I’ve fitted is still working perfectly and the Furuno LS6100 sounder is the most functional sounder I’ve ever used. The latest work involved a stainless steel rocket launcher and a canopy. The rocket launcher was manufactured and installed by the guys at Crafted Stainless in Huskisson. We ended up settling for two bars going up and across behind the cabin with six rod holders angled backwards and fitted with plastic inserts and a plate on each side for mounting outriggers later. Crafted Stainless can be contacted on 02 4441 7292.
We decided to run a canopy forward to the windscreen and Paul Bodley, of Culburra (02 4447 3285), made a high bimini with a clear extension with a full-width zip so it can be opened up to allow breeze through.
The Shoalhaven River has been producing the odd school jew on lures.
Andrew Finney with a solid flathead from The Shoalhaven. This fish grabbed an 80 mm Squidgy Fish in blue and silver.
St Georges Basin has been fishing well, with bream and flathead quite common.Reads: 1002