A last flurry of warmth
  |  First Published: June 2004

THE season seems a bit late in my neck of the woods. As I type in late April, the water is still lingering around 21°.

Just the other day while pelting lures off Snapper Point, I had a metre-long cobia follow my lure to within 30cm of the rocks, only to flash its chocolate and cream stripes at me barely a centimetre behind my lure. A few small samson fish, as well as the odd 2.5kg amberjack, have been caught off the stones on lures and pilchards. Strange times indeed.

I expect the temps to drop to about 18° or 19° – still relatively warm for early Winter – by the time this issue is on the newsstands. Bonito and frigates have been thick some days and I expect to see the bonnies stick around a little longer.

It has been a very welcome late arrival from bonito for the high-speed spin boys. The previous three seasons have produced only two bonnies for me but this year I have happily lost count of the number of fish willing to smack a fleeing baitfish profile.

Kingfish have been fairly scarce and it seems the season has turned out a bit of a dud. Ned Cootes scored an 11.5kg king off Broulee on a trolled bonito – it’s the best fish I’ve heard of. Undersized rats have been prevalent so future hoodlum recruits should hopefully grow big and strong.

The Winter snapper run has been slow to start, which coincides with the prevailing warmer water. Big red is playing hard to get but sub-2kg fish are everywhere.

After looking through my meagre diary entries and scribble-encrypted old tide charts, June is probably my most successful month for pinning a good snapper off the rocks. Let’s hope the fish agree.


Beach mulloway encounters are coming in thick and fast from many locations. Divers have been spotting some big brutes in very shallow water adjacent to beaches that I have never even fished before.

Despite the widespread availability of the beach jew, the ‘three-ring circus, complete with clowns and monkeys, brigade’ has once again descended on one particular spot.

Dave Norman was fishing the beach in question with two friends. The boys arrived at 2.30pm and were the first there. The beach only just copes with three anglers.

Three separate pairs of fishos rocked up through the evening and two more anglers looked from above, wondering how the hell they were going to fish. Sixteen rods ended up being set on a tiny little beach!

Understandably, Dave ended up leaving in disgust. Fair dinkum, guys, get real! If you are not there first, have some decency and go fish somewhere else. There is more than one beach on the coast.

A few close friends and I have been fishing five or six locations and scoring jewies of 10kg, 12kg, 14kg and 22kg with not another soul in sight once the sun has gone down. Why would you want to compete with a bunch of other fishos? There is no fun in that.

Tailor have been thick in numbers and in size with 1.5kg fish being average. I have converted a few tailor closer to double this size into jew bait, which usually serves to turn into another monster tailor. Some nights I wish I’d had wire as 26kg and 36kg leaders, along with twin 8/0 suicides, have been going AWOL in the last of the shore dump, with mega-tailor (seen jumping in the moonlight) the culprits.

If the estuary scene is what you are into, then look to places other than the Clyde. The place has been fishing woefully and I am giving it a wide berth until next Summer.

The Polycraft has been dry for five weeks now and I am forgetting the feel of a light bream-spinning outfit in my hand. The only reason I’d fish the Clyde would be for a jew, as plenty have been about in the lower reaches.

My neighbour witnessed eight big thugs cruising in a metre or so of water at 11am around the town jetties, giving the schools of small luderick a good hurry-up.

Wade Eaton and his mate Bob have also been losing the odd one on plastic around boat moorings and at night while soaking big live tailor around the notorious bridge pylons.

The blue-water scene is producing reds to 5kg, big school yellowfin out wide and even a few big blue marlin which are emptying the tuna reels. Some really big bities have been about, too. Kevin Clapson’s 810kg pending world record tiger shark was a big highlight for the area a while back and local lad Justin Lake caught a 280kg whaler solo from his relatively small ocean-going Stabi-Craft. From what I hear, the shark weighed more than Justin’s boat and to land such a critter on your own is a top effort.

The good fishy times aren’t in hibernation just yet. Ignore the morning frost and get yourself out of bed and have a go. The months for complaining are just around the corner – you’ve been warned!

1 -

Tom Bollard scored this 9kg kingfish and several others off Durras with his Dad, Tony, and brother Jack. Top effort for a little bloke!

2 -

Anne Slabberkoorn found a couple of lovely early morning snapper off the Moruya reefs on squid. The big fish pulled the scales down to 7.5kg.

3 -

Keeping it in the family son Jacob Slabberkoorn from Tuross caught this 37kg monster of a mulloway recently on squid at Newcastle on a night off from working on the longliners.

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