If you have a bad case of marlin fever then this month is the heart of the season so let’s go get some.
Stripes, blues and blacks are all there following the many schools of baitfish.
Out over the continental shelf in the deep water of the canyons, blues are patrolling for striped tuna, small yellowfin, albacore and mahi mahi.
This is the time to troll lures and if you want a big blue, think big lures. The more commotion you make out the back of the boat the more likely you are to attract a fish to your pattern.
Big blues often turn up from nowhere to scoff a lure so time on the water and distance travelled are often a necessary. But don’t expect frantic action; if you want that maybe you should think about the small striped marlin concentrating on the Twelve Mile Reef.
The beauty of the stripes is just that: At close quarters the colours in these fish spectacularly range from electric blues to subtle purple to golden bronze. They are amazing creatures.
Often schooling in vast numbers, methods to target them vary from live bait to lures and now the more exciting switch-baiting, where anglers troll lures without hooks, teasing the fish to the boat where the lure is swapped with a pre-rigged bait resulting in an instant hook-up.
Blacks are lurking around with the stripes and vary in size. They respond to lures although live slimy mackerel, frigates and small striped tuna produce best.
If game fish are not your scene, plenty of fun can be had fishing the reefs and around Montague Island.
Island kingfish have been responding to most methods from jigs to baits. Leaving the island, try out from Tilba on The Step for sand flatties, which are in good numbers in around 40m to 50m.
South of Bermagui, most of the regular reefs are holding good stocks of morwong, snapper and perch while on the fringes there are big tiger flathead and gummy sharks.
If you don’t own a big boat or if offshore is not your scene, try the estuaries – you would need a couple of weeks to explore most of them.
Bream and flathead are most prolific although most other species are also common. How you wish to target them is up to you. Fish are responding to hard and soft lures but fresh bait is producing best.
The hot spots are the Bermagui River for flathead, bream and trevally while around the bridge and breakwalls there are good numbers of luderick.
Wapengo Lake is firing, while fresh live prawns are providing good angling in Wallaga Lake. Match the hatch and use what is on offer, there are plenty of good-sized prawns in Wallaga. If you are anything like me and would rather eat the bait, prawning is good with the next dark starting the first week in February.
Beaches and adjacent rock platforms are being visited by a host of species. Small pelagics like bonito, kingfish, tailor and frigate mackerel are mainly off the stones while salmon, tailor, large whiting, bream plus even a few mulloway are off the beaches.
The southern beaches of Barragoot, Cuttagee and Murrah have been producing most species while up north, Camel Rock has seen the jewfish action.
The main headland at Bermagui has had most of the land-based action with just inside Horseshoe Bay, around the old wharf, providing plenty of entertainment.
Mystery Bay and Goalen Head have produced their share of action with the odd good kingfish being captured or lost, plus a few sightings of marlin patrolling the coast although there are no reports of hook-ups – yet.Reads: 637