BLUE water and a host of fast fish is what the next few months are all about.
Kingfish have been active inshore for some time, especially around Durras, where divers have been seeing reasonable numbers of rather big fish. Offshore there should be an increase in striped marlin numbers and some big mahi mahi, too. Big mako sharks are also likely to be gliding up berley trails.
The last two seasons have been really quiet on bonito around The Bay, especially off the rocks. Hopefully this season proves to be better as they are a top sport fish and good table fare if bled well. Montague Island was an exception to the rule, with plenty of really big fish caught, mostly by anglers chasing kings. My old LBG buddy Nathan Kirkwood has caught and seen to 9kg and reckons he’s heard of a few double-figure specimens.
Boaties have been doing well on snapper recently. Floating lightly-weighted baits down berley trails has proved deadly on fish to 5.5kg. Morwong, flathead and nannygai are tasty bonuses when floatlining reds, providing the current lets you get within easy reach of the bottom.
On the beaches, bronze whalers will start to dominate the nights, making jewfish more difficult prospects. If you don’t mind losing heaps of hooks to the toothies, a jewie is still a realistic challenge. Bream, whiting and flathead are the daytime beach targets with dart an occasional by-catch on beach worms.
On the rocks small sharks, mainly bronzies and hammerheads, should kick- start the LBG season but kingies will still be a bit of a hit-and-miss affair. Silver drummer have been providing some white-knuckled stoushes lately. Rex Medbury snared a 8kg brute recently but plenty of silvers have been easily winning their freedom.
During my last stint on the rocks I witnessed a big blue groper gracefully cruising between the weeds at my feet without a care in the world. These fish are to good to kill in my book. Many people have justified knocking one on the head, noting that the blues are males. What they don’t realise is that they effectively eliminate the largest female in the school because the biggest (brown) female then turns blue and becomes the dominant male.
Regular visitors to The Bay may notice new faces behind the counter at Harry’s Bait and Tackle. Rodney Stockman, with the help of his parents, Marion and Bill, has been working hard to increase the quality of tackle available. The range of soft plastics is now staggering, in no small part due to Rodney’s addiction to all things soft and squishy. Most successful tackle shops are run by fishaholics and in the few short months that Rod has been at the helm, he has shown that Harry’s is quickly moving in a positive direction.
As per usual in my line of work (takeaway food), the approaching silly season spells the beginning of the end of my ability to wet a line. I’ve been scrooging every penny I can and have bought myself a flash new 4.1-metre Polycraft Challenger tiller-steer that will help to keep my sanity this fishless Summer. Some late-night tinkering with extending casting decks, installing a livewell, bow-mount electric and sounder should keep me grounded. At the time of writing it still has no donk on the back but I’m in no rush finalising decisions. If all goes well I should be ready for some serious breaming come February – God, that seems a lifetime away! Enjoy your fishing this Christmas all you lucky holidaymakers – I wish I could!
Rodney Stockman, the new face behind Harry’s Bait and Tackle in Batemans Bay, with 15kg of bull mahi mahi. Dollies should be prolific for the next few months.
Andrew Turner with over 120kg of striped marlin that was destined for release but unfortunately ended up tail-wrapped after a long fight.Reads: 639