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No time to slow down
  |  First Published: June 2003



Winter used to mean a slow-down in fishing for me. Gone are the warm-water marlin, pelagics and flathead and it wasn’t long ago that June to August were for limited fishing, a fiddle with tackle or boat maintenance. This Winter is going to be different.

I’m going to spend time fishing Jervis Bay for those big Winter snapper that come in to feed on cuttlefish. JB has a reputation for producing thumper reds with 10kg fish not uncommon. Locations like Plantation Point, Longnose Point and the northern and southern headlands all fish well over Winter for those in the right spots. Add some berley and floaters of squid or cuttlefish and then sit back and enjoy a cup of thermos coffee while waiting for that howling reddie run.

Most of the locations that fish well over Winter are pretty rugged so heavy tackle is sensible. After being skunked several times a couple of years ago by big reds at Plantation Point, I’ll be fishing 15kg braid.

Another great Winter option in JB are those big winter kings – isn’t it funny how most fish in Winter are all ‘big’? With a bigger boat, I’m planning more trips out to live-bait without having to worry about weather that was just too rough in my old 4.3-metre tiller-steer tinnie. I’ve got a few new big-king locations so you can bet we’ll be out there with live slimies or squid.

We’ll also be putting in some effort out at The Mud. The Mud is just inside The Banks and has a reputation for producing big Winter kings. We’ll be out there with some lighter tackle and live baits.

This month I’m hoping to still be fishing the local beaches for jewfish. This year has been one of the best for jew with some great fishing in the river and on the beaches. Just about everyone I speak to has been getting them on baits and lures in the river and from the beaches on bait. Fish to 20kg have been common and they will still be around from the beaches this month for those prepared to put up with the cold and soak a fresh bait in a likely-looking gutter.

If the possibility of big reds, thumper kings or solid jewfish doesn’t help you shake off the Winter blues, give up fishing and take up knitting or watching football on TV every weekend.

Beating the cold

The worst bit about fishing in Winter is having to put up with being cold and uncomfortable. I’ve spent some terrible times on the rocks, in boats and standing on the beach at night shivering and wondering how stupid I was to be out. The best way to stay comfortable is to wear the right clothes and, depending on how cold it is and much you feel it, this may mean thermal underwear or just a thick polar fleece and a raincoat or spray jacket to keep the wind from cutting into you. Staying warm and dry is half the battle so get the right gear. This may even include a polar fleece beanie and fingerless gloves. You lose 30% of your body heat through your head.

As the weather gets colder it’s important to make sure you have food and warm drinks. Sandwiches and biscuits or cake are easy to put together before a trip and so is a thermos of coffee or soup. I often take both and even some Cup-a-Soups which are dead easy to make. It’s amazing how keen you can be after a cup of hot coffee, a sandwich and some warm clothes.

Beecroft progress

The past six months have seen some big changes to the Beecroft Bombing Range at Currarong. This area has provided exceptional land-based gamefishing over the past 30 years with yellowfin tuna to almost 80kg and marlin over 100kg. Paradoxically, this environmentally and culturally significant coastline comprises the northern boundaries of the Jervis Bay Marine Park and also takes in a bombing range where the Navy, Army and Air Force practise blowing the crap out of stuff.

Recently the Navy has chaired meetings to discuss with interested parties the options for access to Beecroft Range. I’ve reported earlier their concerns about the dangers of unexploded ordnance. To the Navy’s credit, it has attempted to find a safe and sensible solution to appease all users, including bushwalkers and rock anglers, while keeping our safety a priority. At the time of writing a decision hadn’t been reached but hopefully we won’t have to be locked out of too many rock platforms. I’ll be doing a report when the decision is made so stay tuned

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TRANSPARENCIES

1

If you want some family fishing fun in Winter, try chasing squid. Rebecca Finney caught with this on Jervis Bay.

2

Now’s the time to be out chasing a jewfish from the local beaches.

3

Put the time early mornings and late afternoons and you’ll still in with a chance to find nice bream. This fish came from Currarong.

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