It might be clichéd but the fishing just seems to be getting better and better with the warm weather at present.
The past few months have been very good to most fishos down this way. November saw some of the best albacore fishing I can remember, with hundreds of fish tagged and quite a few taken to eat. The old albies are pretty good tucker and I must admit we kept a couple for a feed each trip.
Sadly, that wasn't the case with everyone. I heard of several boats getting pinged by Fisheries for going over their bag limit (five tuna in total per person, only two over 90cm) and a few others who were proud to claim that they'd caught 20 or 30 albacore in one day and kept them all.
It's a sad indictment on our sport when stupid individuals just can't help themselves and have to take as many fish as they can when they're about in numbers. What anyone would do with 20 or 30 albacore other than waste them, give them away or sell them is beyond me.
In among the albacore was the odd school yellowfin from 15kg to 30kg, which made for some interesting fishing, especially if you were fishing with light tackle.
There were also a few bigger ’fin mixed up with them. I heard of a couple of fish to 60kg taken off Jervis Bay on lures and cubes.
When the water out wide rose to 21.5° there were a few striped marlin showing. Our first marlin was raised in early November but the same day Carol Goodger, fishing on U3 out of Shellharbour tagged one of 70kg that was Shellharbour Gamefishing Club's first marlin of the season.
Within a month, most of the regular boats had raised or tagged a striped marlin.
By the time you read this the billfish season will be in full swing with blacks at The Banks and stripes out wider. There were a few solid blues hooked in November so I reckon if you went real wide and trolled big lures you'd be on for one of them also.
In closer hasn't been too bad, either, with some nice reds for anyone who puts in the time, along with some good flathead at the backs of the beaches.
We were getting some nice reds back in early Spring but my snapper rod and soft plastics haven't been touched since the yellowfin and albacore turned up. Hopefully we'll do a couple of close-in trips for a feed with the kids.
I also want to get out and chase some blackfish from the rocks this Summer. Many people ask me how watching a bobby cork or float from the rocks can be interesting compared with hooking a marlin. I don't know how to answer that one.
I was brought up chasing blackfish from the rocks at Kurnell in Sydney and it must still be in my blood. I can do it for hours and never get bored or lose interest. Those feeds of blackfish in breadcrumbs make it even better!
If something more sedate or safer is in order, the estuaries are probably worth a go. Pick somewhere a little out of the way to avoid the holiday crowds or you'll go mad.
Anywhere from Nowra to Crookhaven Heads will be worth a throw for a flathead and go up further to Gradys if you want to try at a bass or perch. Early mornings or late arvos are even better if you want to avoid the boat traffic and crowds.
As you would expect, St Georges Basin is also firing and well worth a visit although you'll be dodging the influx of boat and anglers until the end of January.
If family boating is in order, how about a trip on Jervis Bay? Some great squid fishing is also to be had along with dozens of places to pull up and have a picnic or swim.
There should be some kings around Long Nose Point and some reds in the washes around the entrance.
If the weather's a bit ordinary we often plan a marlin expedition in JB. January is marlin time in the Bay so anywhere from Long Nose and the Middle Ground over to Point Perpendicular is worth soaking a live bait.
One word of advice: Give the LBG anglers on The Tubes as much room as you can. They work damn hard for a day's fishing and to spend years of fishing to hook a marlin from the rocks.
To have it cut off by some moron in a boat is a little annoying. There's no need to go anywhere near The Tubes if you're in a boat, so keep well clear.
If you get a few nights free to fish, have a look at chasing a jewie in the Shoalhaven River. It's a good way to get away from the boat traffic and this time of year is well worth a go for a jewie on squid heads, live bait or plastics.
Find some deep water and fish the tide changes if possible.
Another option is to fish the beaches. The further you walk, the more the chance increases of having the place to yourself and you'll get some exercise into the bargain.
Early mornings and late afternoons are worth a go for a tailor or salmon and during the day have a go with beach worms or pipis for a bream or whiting.
If you're visiting, don't be afraid to ask the locals for a tip or two.
Most of us are quite approachable and more than happy to give a few pointers if you're a serious and responsible visiting angler.
You can also wander into the local tackle shops and ask from some info when buying a bit of gear.
Andrew Finney and Brad Braddick with a solid albacore from the Drum Canyons off Currarong. This fish ate a Rapala X Rap 20 on 8kg tackle.
A double hook-up on albacore off Jervis Bay. Late last year produced some of the best albacore fishing the South Coast in years.
Christopher Neville with a solid trevally on a soft plastic from St Georges Basin.Reads: 1469