The heat is on
  |  First Published: December 2008

Water temperatures have increased dramatically, offshore, in the estuaries and up in the sweetwater sections. Combined with school holidays, it’s party time and fish are at the top of the guest list.

No matter what type of fishing you enjoy or what species you wish to pursue, it’s all good and should stay that way for months.

Offshore, marlin numbers are increasing as they follow the now prolific bait schools.

As this season has already shown, fish are where you find them, with yellowfin tuna being captured in 12 fathoms 200m off Bermagui Headland.

Look for the signs, as for this day most of the game boats went straight past the obvious gannets circling and diving on a bait school. They indicated to one seasoned skipper that fish were in the area, resulting in multiple hook-ups.

Although this instance occurred very close to shore, the same scenario can happen out to and beyond the continental shelf, with the Twelve Mile Reef being most prolific for striped marlin at present.

Trolling lures in the early part of the season will account for many hook-ups and, more importantly, indicate where the fish are concentrated, thus allowing different methods like live-baiting or switch-baiting.

Blue marlin are regular January visitors over the deeper canyons. Lures are by far the best way to locate blues and other fish including albacore, yellowfin, striped tuna, mahi mahi or even spearfish.

The bait schools may consist of slimy mackerel, pilchards, yellowtail, whitebait, striped tuna. mack tuna or frigate mackerel. This bait also attracts kingfish and bonito at Montague Island or along the coast, where they are joined by salmon and tailor.

Baitfish don’t always stay on the surface and when they go deep, bottom species have their chance to feed. Tiger flathead often have yellowtail or slimies inside them when cleaned, so find the bait an be sure the flathead are not far behind.

Most other forms of reef fishing are also quite fair at present with the southern complexes producing good snapper, plenty of morwong, some gummy sharks and the odd kingfish.


The beaches and estuaries are primed and fishing well.

Schools of salmon are providing plenty of entertainment on most beaches. A simple paternoster rig with a pilchard will account for most, while lures may provide faster and more energetic action.

Bream, whiting and mullet are also around.

The kids can really have some fun in the estuaries. The warm water has the fish fired up and with abundant food supplies, anglers are finding it pretty easy going.

The estuaries are so good this season because of the number of prawns around. Nearly all the systems have their share, so if you are visiting the area, get geared up to take the kids prawning – you won’t be disappointed.

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