Warming up at last!
  |  First Published: September 2004

HOPEFULLY some warmer weather and water should be on the horizon, bringing with it a few fish or at least making those that are around a bit hungrier.

While October is one of my favourite months for quite a few species it never hurts to get in early and have a few practice sessions before the flathead, kings, jewies and reddies get serious.

September usually produces some reasonable jew in the river and from the beaches. Over the past few seasons there have seen some spectacular captures on soft plastics in the Shoalhaven River and anglers down this way are at the leading edge when it comes to jew on plastics.

Several months ago local specialist Gavin McCallum took a 21kg jew – the biggest I know of on a plastic from the Shoalhaven. Quite a few from 15kg to 18kg range have been taken over the past few seasons. I don’t think we have any more fish available to us down here than anywhere else, it’s just that there are probably more anglers putting the time in and producing more fish, generating more experience and knowledge.

While it sometimes gets easier the more fish you catch, it still takes dedication to consistently take jew on hardware. Steve Starling was one of the first to see the potential of jew on plastics and his initial work on the Shoalhaven several years ago was ground-breaking. His enthusiasm and ability to find fish are based on dedication and a thirst for knowledge that you don’t often see.

Next month some big lizards will be on the move in the river and in St Georges Basin. Soft plastics will be the hot lures again this Spring with most experienced anglers keeping their favourite shape, colour, scent or technique secret.

Last season I had reasonable success with gold 80mm and 100mm Squidgies and garlic scent but some of the Spike It scents also worked well. Another little gem on the lizards was the Avocado Squidgy Wriggler dipped in garlic scent. I’ll be out chasing those big lizards next month but I also envisage spending quite some time tossing larger plastics at jew this month just to practise, find new spots and hone my techniques.


The dreaded westerly winds are almost over for another Winter and a few kings should be on the move around The Banks and The Mud. Last season there were very few decent sessions by pros and amateurs alike. We spent a few mornings out wider with live baits and jigs and barely raised a king.

Surprisingly, some very good fish were taken from the rocks around Currarong. From October on you can expect to hear of kings being taken in close around Currarong Bommie, under the cliffs or out wider on The Shallows, The Banks or The Mud.

I’ll be trying different locations and techniques to make the most of any kings that show. I’m toying with trolling live baits deep in close along the cliffs where rock anglers can’t access and doing a few drifts out around The Shallows with live slimies down deep. Some nice fish were taken deep doing both last Summer.

If the fish show at the Banks or The Block I’ll be keen to drop some jigs that I bought last year and never got the chance to try out.

With luck there should be some reds around now. Like the kings, snapper were as rare as hens’ teeth last season. This Winter produced a few fish in close so this might be a sign of things to come.

Snapper should be starting to breed when it gets to around 17° or 18°. Most of the inshore reefs should be worth fishing along with close along the Currarong cliffs. The Shallows produced a few reds last season but even this normally productive system was patchy and you really had to be there on the day.

Out from Gerroa also fishes well at this time. There are some big gravel patches with scattered reef and a big drop-off out wider where some very nice reds are caught.

Last season I started fishing handlines for reds when using floating baits and that was a real eye-opener. I’ve always used a rod around 2.1 metres with a BaitRunner or Thunnus threadline and gelspun line, which I thought did the trick well enough.


But since being introduced to handlines (at the age of 44!) I’ve discovered a whole new world of fishing floaters. The handline advantage is that you can feed line out at any rate your bait drifts away or sinks and feel everything at any time. A fish has only to breathe on the bait for you to feel it and hook-ups are very simple and amazingly direct.

You can feel everything the fish does and you really know it if a good red takes a run and the 8kg or 10kg mono cuts your fingers. You also appreciate just how much stretch most mono lines have.

My boat is just about set up now and I’m happy with the total package and looking forward to using it this season. It’s a great sea boat and the 115 Yamaha four-stroke purrs and sucks a measly amount of fuel. The Navman Tracker 5100 GPS, Furuno LS6100 sounder and GME 27 meg radio perform faultlessly. The whole boat seems to work well and as soon as those reds and kings show up we’ll be out there.



Andrew Finney with an average kingfish from The Banks.


Some pelagics like this salmon should be starting to move around with the warmer water and baitfish activity of spring.


Reds like this will on the cards this month and next. Fresh floating baits in a berley trail are the keys to success.


Handlines and floating baits for reds is pretty basic but great fun and a challenge after the hi-tech gear. You feel everything when using a handline.

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