Despite the inevitable crowds there are still plenty of fish to be caught.
St Georges Basin is fishing well for bream and flathead but you might have a little trouble finding a spot to fish this month so get out early for best results.
A few mates have been out chasing bass at Flat Rock Dam after work mid-week and doing well on reasonable fish in good numbers. A few guys have also been taking nice bass up between the ski park and Gradys.
There'll be a heap of flathead about outside so the bottom drifters should be having a great time of it. Out wider, those pesky leatherjackets are still causing some pain but there are a few nice reds and mowies to be had if you can get down to them.
Out even wider, the marlin will be here by now with blacks at The Banks and stripes out along the shelf line.
Once again, you might have trouble finding a spot at The Banks and you can expect a few delays while launching anywhere down here in January. To keep things flowing smoothly ensure you have the boat ready to launch before joining the ramp queue and after retrieving move well away from the ramp before unloading and preparing for the road.
The rocks should be firing with blackfish on the chew and a few pelagics to keep things interesting. There may also even be the odd small black marlin inside Jervis Bay for the LBG guys.
It would also be worth having a live bait out for a king along the front at Big Beecroft or The Eaves. With any luck there'll be some bonito and small kings about for the spin guys also.
As I write there have been a few yellowfin and the odd albacore with some boats catching a few and many others missing out. The yellowfin were so patchy that we trolled for a while each trip but after an hour or two we pulled up and started berleying for a mako.
The guys on Reel Quick put a lot more effort into finding tuna and caught the odd fish on a few trips but even they were disappointed at the lack of fish. The jumbo tuna were virtually non-existent and even the 20kg to 30kg fish were few and far between.
Despite the lack of fish, Craig Stuckey on Reel Quick managed to land a 54.6kg bigeye tuna on 37kg stand-up tackle. You don't hear of too many being landed by gamefishers. The guys were trolling for yellowfin but had a couple of larger lures out in case an early season marlin happened along and the fish took a much-chewed JB Pink Chook.
The same day Craig landed his bigeye we caught a 132kg mako on a Rapala X-Rap while trolling for tuna over the back of The Banks. My son Andrew grabbed the 24kg outfit and 20 minutes later we had a few more scratches on Voodoo including a couple of beauties on the outboard leg.
The Rapala was pretty chewed-up, along with the 150lb leader that snapped just as we got the first flyer into the fish. That unlucky mako also had a longline hook in the corner of its mouth.
I’d been looking for a nice, light outfit to hold while cubing for yellowfin when a mate in Wollongong showed me a little custom jig stick he had with a Tiagra 16 loaded with 50lb braid that looked perfect.
I decided to go with a 1.78m Shimano T-Curve Deep Jig 200 rod. I trimmed about 100 mm off the butt to bring it back to a more comfortable length for stand-up fighting with a gimbal belt rather than jigging. It’s a light stand-up 50lb outfit perfect for cubing and tagging school yellowfin and albacore but also doubles as a neat trolling outfit for stripies, yellowfin and albacore and can even be used for fishing the bottom for reds and mowies while on the drift.
I run a one-metre double in front of a bimini twist and small Sampo snap swivel to which I can clip a cubing or live-bait trace or any one of my yellowfin or albacore lures. It's a very versatile little stick which packs some punch.Reads: 1828