Frigid westerly winds have forced anglers to increase layers of clothing to stave off the icy chill but those who have braved the elements are coming up trumps on some quality fish.
On the beaches, tailor continue to provide thrills that even the most average of fisho can tap into. A running sinker to a 15kg trace and a gang-hooked blue pillie is all that is required. If the fish are really on the job, then throw a 40g Raider around. You’ll not only save on bait but you will quite often outfish the ubiquitous pilchard-tossers on most occasions.
I’ve preached the subject in past reports and here’s another chapter in the lure-vs-bait debate. You be the judge. Brother-in-law Rob and I were gearing up for another freezing night chasing jewies that have been conspicuous by their absence. The gutter is the best we have fished all year and full of bait (salmon and tailor), the same as the previous evening.
First cast with the Raider and three cranks of the handle and I’m on. the 2kg Fireline hums off the little bream reel before the fish relents to the pressure and a fat kilo tailor skids and kicks up the beach, to be converted into slab baits. The next cast is a carbon-copy of the first but the tailor is much smaller. The big brewing drum on the modified golf buggy is quickly removed and filled with salt water. Soon the barely-legal chopper is swimming with five similarly-sized mates and a swag of others to 2kg have been released.
A little over one hour has past and the Raider has accounted for close to 40 fish, mostly between 1kg and 2kg. Three anglers to the left, using pilchards, have caught two fish and Rob (also using pilchards) has caught only one! I’m not saying you should give the bait away, occasionally the bait does win on the day just mix it up and see what is firing, especially when the fish are chasing smaller baitfish than blue pillies.
That was by far the best tailor session I have ever experienced. Almost every cast resulted in a fish. Even if one shook off the lure, another quickly loaded the rod up, sometimes in full view barely metres from the rod tip. With such hot action in the dead of Winter, I reckon the tailor should bite consistently for the remainder of the year.
The cuttlefish spawning run has not started as I write but will definitely have kicked in by the time this issue is in your hot little hands. As I type, the dolphins have been patrolling the Durras and Malua Bay ledges with menacing intent, just waiting for nature to take its course. Some good reds are getting caught despite the lack of cephalopod ‘floaters’. Once the dolphins start to pop the cuttlies, snapper fishing should kick up a notch.
Other fish likely to be on offer in August are the ever-reliable rock blackfish, bream off the beaches and rocks, salmon and silver trevally. Offshore anglers are finding some big sand flathead and mowies on the wider grounds, along with some straggling yellowfin tuna. Southern bluefin tuna have also been figuring in longline captures, so a wide drift may also pay dividends. It might be damn cold but it is still worth having a go – just remember the beanie!
Fat blue groper like this 10kg specimen enjoy a feed of cuttlefish just as much as the snapper.
Dave Norman with a typical brace of Winter beach jewies. Numbers have been down this season but the tailor are thick, so persistence should pay big rewards.
Murray Cooper with a lump of a rock blackfish that also took a fancy to a strip of cuttlefish.Reads: 536