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Sweating on pelagic action
  |  First Published: December 2004



Some warm water should have arrived by now and if there’s a God, there should be some nice fish about.

With warm water trickling down the coast, anyone who fishes from boats should be sweating on some pelagic and blue-water action. The game boys have already started with some nice mako sharks taken over the past few months along with the odd yellowfin of more than 50kg. December has a habit of producing the odd blue marlin along with some striped specimens and I’m sure this year won’t be any different if the bait schools show up on time.

I’m not the only one hoping that this season will be better than last. There were a lot of disappointed boat anglers last year due to the lack of blue-water species. We had a reasonable marlin season with a heap of fish over Christmas and New Year, but apart from that all-too-brief flurry, things were pretty ordinary. Things have started off reasonably well with some striped tuna during October and some yellowfin, so this could be a sign of better things ahead.

GETTING DOWN

I’ve recently acquired a second-hand downrigger for my boat. I’ve used these in various locations over the years but I’ve never tried one around home in the saltwater. A few mates have swear by them for deep-trolling live slimies or squid for kings and even drifting with an additional live bait set deep for marlin. These things aren’t cheap, up to $700 for one that will take the knocks and corrosion of blue-water fishing.

This Cannon UniTroll HP is of high-impact plastic and stainless steel with an extendable arm and a base that slots into a rod holder so I didn’t even have to drill a hole. I’ve replaced the wire cable with 150lb braid and fitted a 4.2kg weight. The first couple of exploratory trips have been encouraging so expect to see us around The Shallows and The Banks chasing kings with deep livies.

I can also see opportunities fishing deep livies for mahi mahi around traps and even fishing a deep bait while anchored up and chasing reds with floaters.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE

Several years ago I started fishing from an Australis Bass kayak in local creeks and the Shoalhaven River. I’d never fished from a kayak and it was all new to me. It took a couple of trips before I got things worked out and figured out that a net, a towel, a small anchor and a keeper net were required.

Hooking that first fish and discovering that I had nothing to land it with or keep it in caused a few anxious moments but on following trips I had a ball chasing flathead in a small Jervis Bay creek that is now off-limits in a marine park sanctuary zone.

The old Australis Bass has seen service in most local creeks and a few dams. I’ve taken some nice bream on lures but the most fun has been chasing flathead on soft plastics. While my favourite in Jervis Bay is now a sanctuary, the Shoalhaven River has a heap of flats and drop-offs accessible from a kayak.

I’ve been out after work most weeks fishing various locations around Greenwell Point and I haven’t returned home empty-handed as yet. Chucking the kayak on the roof racks takes all of five minutes and I’m usually fishing less than 15 minutes after getting home from work.

With daylight saving that gives me several hours to fish a tide change and I don’t need to worry about fuel, washing the boat or trailer down or flushing motors when I get home. Nice, simple and stealthy.

SUMMER SWEETWATER

I’ve never claimed to be a real keen freshwater angler and must admit that I couldn’t survive too far from saltwater. However, a lot of local anglers like to chase bass and I never give them a mention – sorry. I have tried chasing bass and, yes, it was relaxing and took me into some very pristine and glorious territory but it just didn’t deliver the adrenalin rush that saltwater and blue-water fishing gives me. Maybe as I get older and mellow out I’ll get into it.

Despite the lack of coverage in this column, quite a few local anglers enjoy chasing bass in dams and rivers nearby. Locations regularly fished include Flat Rock and Yalwall dams, near Nowra, and the Shoalhaven River upstream from Grady’s. Kangaroo Valley also fishes well with river and dam options available.

Most of the people I speak to about the local bass scene fish from canoes or kayaks and often fish and camp their way down the Shoalhaven or make a weekend of it up in Kangaroo Valley. One guy I work with has just bought his wife and son kayaks so they can all go fishing for bass and spend weekends together. He was just recently telling me of a 41 cm fish he took up in Kangaroo Valley, so maybe I better get some gear organised and go on my first bass fishing trip in 15 years!

Now is the time many anglers and their families head off on holidays so please travel safely and be careful on the water. Each Summer brings a few tragedies involving boats and many more involving road accidents so take it easy.

TRANSPARENCIES

1

November and December should see some of this. A nice catch of reds on ice.

2

After the rains in October most of the local creeks and rivers fished well. This solid bream grabbed a hard-bodied lure in a tiny creek many anglers wouldn’t even bother fishing.

3

Andrew and Rebecca Finney out enjoying a family day near Currarong.

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