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Prescription for pragmatism
  |  First Published: May 2004



FOLLOWING the doctor’s instructions, I had not eaten in 24 hours and as I sat in his waiting room, I was so hungry I could have eaten a pilchard.

I rummaged through the ratty, outdated magazines which, to my horror, seemed to consist mainly of glossy gourmet cooking publications. I contemplated eating a picture of a chocolate mud cake before loudly pointing out to the nurse behind the desk the irony of having only food magazines in a room full of starving patients. She glared at me with steely eyes as I considered what raw squid and bait prawns would taste like. I frantically dug deeper and struck gold: A 1994 Harbord Tackle Supply catalogue!

There I found a series of brilliant articles by Steve Starling on how to become a more successful angler. Rather than dealing with the best-sized hook for certain fish, Steve encouraged readers to look beyond the obvious at their chosen fishing locations and not to get to fixed regarding calendars and fish movements.

Just because a certain species of fish might move up the coast in, say, May in years gone by, doesn't mean this will be the case again this year. Water temperature and weather can vary greatly from year to year and must be taken into account far more than the calendar. These articles were so good I even considered taking the magazines home with me. The wrath of Nurse Dread stopped me.

Yep, certain conditions appear to be able to turn the fishing off like a switch. An example was March along the Central Coast. We appeared to have incessant easterly and north-easterly swells which had an adverse effect on the fishing. As I write in early April, the fishing has improved enormously and fish seem back on the bite again.

It never ceases to amaze me how fish can go off the bite for months without any real effect on their health. All the fish I'm catching now look like they haven't fed for a month and their gut area has shrunk considerably.

Jewfish, kingfish, flathead, bream, it's all the same. I liken fishing in the Broken Bay area over March this year to fishing the same area of water in the middle of Winter. Historically, March is brilliant for fishing and the point I'm trying to make here is that time of year is irrelevant to the fish, what is more important is the prevailing conditions.

Even though the water has reached 24°, the easterly swell to shut the fish down completely. However, the way the fish have been biting over the past few days indicates they want to slap some weight back on. Hopefully our weather patterns will settle back to ‘normal’ and the good catches will continue.

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Michael from Kamtech with a jewfish caught in truly tranquil water.

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