Between bouts of some pretty ordinary weather there are a few fish being caught.
We’re still getting some nice blackfish from the rocks, along with drummer and big bream at night. There have also been a few reds taken by rock anglers fishing floaters and on the bottom. The cuttlefish run is well and truly under way, with quite a few being washed up on the rocks and beaches. With the cuttlefish come some big reds so it’s worth getting out and fishing a reddie bait from the rocks and also from the beaches near reefs. There are still a few jewfish from the beaches although these will probably start to slow down soon with the colder water.
Jervis Bay is fishing well with some reds to 9kg being taken around Long Nose Point and Plantation Point. Most of the recognised squid locations are producing a feed of calamari for those prepared to brave the cold and some big blue-nosed bream are also hanging around inside Bowen Island and around Long Nose. Some big kings are doing the rounds in search of slimies and squid, so it’s worth getting out early and fishing a live bait around the Middle Ground or under the cliffs.
Outside fishing, as you would expect, is pretty dead. The odd reddie and mowie is coming in from the reefs and even flathead, but apart from that I can’t even see a reason to be heading outside at the moment. It’s a good time to catch up on some tackle, boat and trailer maintenance, of which I have a lot.
Back in May I mentioned a new boat at the Finney household and since then I’ve been busy. The new boat has progressed, with some electronics along with a live-bait tank and cutting board.
I opted for a Furuno LS-6100 sounder. I have several mates who run these and they all swear by them as the best sounder going for reef work and, after running mine for several months, I can see why. The many features include several that make fishing inshore reefs for reddies, jewies and kings very easy. The LS-6100 is a dual-frequency unit with a 15.5cm (6”) monochrome LCD display that is very easy to read in bright daylight. Display modes include single and dual frequency, along with bottom lock, marker-zoom and bottom-zoom, water temperature and speed and will also take navigation data.
This sounder is what I would call a base- level professional sounder at a reasonable price. So far we’ve used it to find a few new reefs and quite a few fish along, with bait schools. It is very easy read from just about every angle, even with polarised glasses, and I couldn’t imagine going fishing in the new boat without it. There is also a colour version of this sounder with even more features.
The same mates who swear by their LS-6100 sounders also run Navman 5100 chart plotters. I’ve never owned, or even used, a GPS unit before. I’ve never needed one until now and I was quite nervous at the thought of having to buy and operate one. I shouldn’t have worried because the Navman was installed in an hour and I was running it like a pro an hour after that. With easy-to-read menus, this thing is a dream to use and is easily able to pinpoint reefs and bottom structure. Once there, the Furuno takes over and locates structure and fish. The tide and moon features on the Navman 5100 are also very good. I can now go to this screen and have time, moon phase, tide stage and tide height for any day.
We plan to do a lot of live baiting so it was crucial that an effective bait tank be installed. Over Summer we’ll be slow-trolling slimies for marlin but we’ll also be fishing live baits deep for kings, along with fishing the inshore reefs and even the river for jew. I went to John Gough, of Jervis Bay Welding, who produced a well-made aluminium tank with a removable bait board and rocket launcher on top. The tank measures 600mm wide by 400mm long and 300 mm deep, more than enough to carry big slimies for marlin or enough bait for a good session on kings. I fitted a stainless steel scoop and a 500GPH pump to get the water flowing along with a drain, over flow and clear perspex lid that work well.
The bait board fits on top of the tank and is made in 316 stainless steel. It carries a nylon board along with a small tray to carry a bit of tackle or knives and so on. It also has three stainless rod holders and drains via a 25 mm tube into the motor well to keep things clean.
Another item we made up was a slurry bin. I could have gone for a commercial cooler but they are expensive so Roger Morley made me one from insulation foam. We cut the 50mm thick foam to size and glued it all in place before fibreglassing the entire unit and then flowcoating it. The finished unit measures 1000mm x 400mm x 500mm for a capacity of 200 litres. With a sealed lid in the same material, it holds a lot of bait, food, drink and the odd fish. We chuck half a dozen big juice containers full of ice and then a couple of buckets of saltwater to create a brine that keeps everything cold for days. The whole thing cost about $200 and took a couple of days to make, so many thanks, Roger.
Not long ago I wrote an article on seasickness for one of the national fishing mags. It was a light-hearted piece about the funny side of fishing with people who get crook but it also had a fact page that made mention of the Travacalm tablets which were withdrawn from sale when the Pan Pharmaceuticals fiasco came to light. I didn’t get any free product or money to recommend Travacalm in that article – I had been using them for several years and buying them over the counter but I never experienced any side effects. Quite a few friends who also used them reckoned they were a very effective seasickness prevention.
It came as a shock to hear that some people had suffered hallucinations and other side effects, so it just goes to show how little the general public knows about what’s in any medication. If you have any Travacalm lying around the house, get rid of it. Whatever you do, don’t take them – the last thing you want is hallucinations while out fishing, although if they were of leaping marlin or 80kg yellowfin, that probably wouldn’t be too bad. Come to think of it, I did see some pretty good fish while on Travacalm but they weren’t imaginary – unless the photos are, too!
Roger Morley with a fat little winter drummer from Beecroft.
Greenwell Point junior Matthew Smith with his first jewie. This fish went 8kg and was taken from the Shoalhaven River.
The Navman GPS and Furuno sounder on the new boat work a treat together.
Having an efficient bait board is vital to success when baiting and berleying. Being able to cut up berley and baits in comfort makes life a lot easier.
The author’s slurry bin in the raw, prior to laying up the fibreglass and finishing with flowcoat.Reads: 1403