Ocean speedsters dominate
  |  First Published: February 2008

This month is all about ocean speedsters and sizzling drags as the warm currents hit peak temperature.

I suspect the run of school yellowfin tuna will continue to impress with numerous crews finding an abundance of fish around 15kg to 30kg taking all manner of lures. The hot spots have been along the continental shelf and various canyons, with the Tuross Canyons causing the biggest stir.

Grapevine rumblings of the odd 70kg fish crashing through lure spreads would dictate not going too light with tackle in your quest for tuna, not to mention the potential for marlin action.

Local angler, Darren Reidy managed to wrangle five 30kg-plus yellowfin on a solo run to the shelf and still managed to be back on land in time for a late breakfast!

Kingfish are showing up in good numbers on the usual reefs like Moruya and Durras. Most have been either side of the legal 65cm, with the odd 8kg fish raising hell in the berley trail.

Boats in search of snapper have been faring quite well this Summer with reds of 1kg to 2.5kg abundant. While most of the snapper have been in deeper water, divers also report some nice fish lurking near the shore so even if you are confined to fishing from the rocks you are still a chance of hooking a few.

Other speedsters likely to be cruising the rocks are bonito, frigate mackerel, kingfish, salmon and possibly tailor. Arm yourself with a few metal lures, gang-hooked pilchards and some small live baits and you should have a good chance.

Hammerhead sharks will be highly likely to be visible cruising the surface if small tuna, salmon or tailor are present in decent numbers and are an absolute blast to catch off the rocks if you are that way inclined. The majority of hammers are generally 20kg to 40kg so 10kg or 15kg game tackle is quite a good option rather than a 24kg outfit capable of beating a marlin.

A mono trace of about 40kg, long enough to ensure that big tail won’t break the main line, and a short section of wire to the hook is all that you need to stay connected.

I usually use a light-gauge nylon-coated wire for hammers with a Flemish eye crimp and I like to run a two-hook rig because they have a nasty habit of biting frigate mackerel in half and not coming back for the head.

However, you can get away with no wire if using heavy mono leaders like Ande and set the hook quickly because their teeth are relatively small. No wire is a good option if you intend on releasing what you hook.

Hammerheads make pretty good table fare if well bled. Crumbed or battered and fried is the way to go and the flesh freezes well if you cling wrap small portions.


Bream in the estuaries have been firing with some really big bruisers cruising the smallest, hardest to reach little creeks. To target these fish, use the run up to high tide to get right in among the mangroves and use surface lures or resin heads or unweighted plastics.

Plenty of the bream being encountered are over a kilo so be prepared for some fireworks if you hook one.

Estuary perch have been prolific with some quality specimens being released. Jason Wheeler recently captured an obese 52cm model above Nelligen.

I expect estuary perch to be one of the most notable fish to benefit from this marine park. In years to come I am tipping the Clyde to be one of the best perch fisheries around, now that nets will no longer decimate their numbers.

This month is also a top one to do a bit of beach fishing with whiting a big draw card. Learn to catch beach worms and fresh whiting fillets will be ensured.

All of the big beaches along the coast hold good numbers of whiting at this time of year.

Some nice jewfish have been putting in a show after dark if the salmon and tailor are around. Bill Thompson recently scored a ripper around 15kg. Fillets of salmon, tailor, slimy mackerel or fresh squid are just some of the baits worth trying.

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