Arm-stretchers from the bar
  |  First Published: July 2004

JUMPINPIN is a place for young bream and whiting to grow in sheltered waters away from predators, and many fishermen have been telling me most of the ones they’ve been catching are throwbacks. However, most also tell of the one that got away – and the stories just keep getting better.

We all use light line at the ‘Pin because heavy stuff is overkill and just not very sporting. So inevitably when that freak fish comes along and hammers your bait the chances of landing it are remote. I recommend you take an extra rod with heavier line just in case and rig for big fish. But as Murphy’s Law would have it, the big fish usually take the bait on the light rig anyway!

Taking a landing net is another lesson many have learned the hard way; it’s a heartbreaking experience watching a big fish swim away.

Some of the ones that didn’t get away have been large jew. The best I’ve seen recently was a monster of 62lb. Try stopping that on your light gear! But funnily enough, this fish was caught on 20lb line at the top of South Straddie.

A lot of big fish are lost in this area and we can’t put it all down to jewfish. Tailor to well over 5kg have been caught off the beach, at the bar and as far in as Tabby Tabby Island. Greenbacks of that size are extremely powerful and have large, sharp teeth that cut through most monofilament lines quite easily.

Speaking of large sharp teeth, I think we’ve all lost a fish or two to the pesky Noah’s Ark. These scavengers are everywhere throughout the ‘Pin system and well into the rivers, and they can sense a fish in distress from a long way off. Sharks are a lot of fun to catch but if you’re not well prepared, with heavy line and a wire trace, they’re going to win more times than not.

We had a 40lb Spanish mackerel weighed in not long ago which was caught at the bar. These are usually not around all year, mainly over the winter months from the first cold snap onwards. Smaller mackerel and tuna – longtail, bluefin and yellowfin – also account for some bust-ups around this time. Prehistoric-looking flathead to over a metre long are very hard to land and must be released. They’re there all year but are more common in September.

Amongst the tailor there are some big trevally lurking, and these can steam off like a freight train and take your gear with them. We’ve even had yellowtail kings and black kings (cobia), dolphinfish, grunter bream, milkfish, a 5.5kg snapper, stingrays and Australian salmon, all caught within the ‘Pin bar.

So next time you’re out there and pondering what the hell it was that just knocked you off, you can only guess because it could have been anything.

There are plenty of bream, whiting, flathead and tailor available in July, and with these perfect cool, clear days it’s a great time of year to fish.

If you’d like any advice or need to order any bait, come in and see us at Gem Bait and Tackle, give us a call on (07) 3287 3868 or email --e-mail address hidden-- Catch you next month.

1) Gavin Umstad with a 40lb Spanish mackerel caught at the bar. Winter is the best time to target these fish.

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