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The season that never was - at least Autumn is here.
  |  First Published: May 2008



After just enduring the Summer that never was, at least Autumn has been producing a few fish.

With a new boat, a heap of tackle and lures, we were looking forward to a productive marlin season this year but it just never happened. We were plagued with bad weather on many weekends and even when the weather allowed us to get out there, things were patchy on the best days and pathetic on the worst days.

I can't remember such a poor marlin season. The Banks never even started to produce black marlin and there were only a handful of fish taken in February and March.

Out wider there was a week or two of sporadic action in March with some striped marlin but it was over as quickly as it had started when the bait moved on.

It was quite disappointing with most boats missing out all together and only a few tagging the odd fish. From what I've heard and read the entire NSW coast suffered the same way with very few inshore blacks and only a handful of striped marlin out wide on most of the recognised grounds.

Let's hope next season brings a few more fish or there might be a few boats up for sale by this time next year – especially if fuel prices rise the way they have been predicted over the next few years.

PADDLE POWER

There seem to be more anglers down this way enjoying their fishing with no fuel costs by paddling kayaks. I work with a few guys who fish out of kayaks and they make some very respectable catches in Jervis Bay, St Georges Basin and in the rivers and dams.

We spend a fair bit of time in Jervis Bay and it's not unusual to see anglers fishing for squid, snapper and pelagics from kayaks spread all over the Bay in what seems a bit of a kayak revolution.

All fishing vessels come with compromises and kayaks are no different. Yes, you have limited room when fishing from a kayak and you are very dependent on weather conditions when fishing in open bays and dams.

You can't stand up when you feel like it to stretch the legs and even fighting and landing a fish is a lot more difficult than if you were in a tinny.

However, the advantages include no fuel costs, being able to go fishing where and when you please without having to organise a crew, being able to launch just about anywhere and getting exercise into the bargain.

I've done a limited kayak fishing over the years but the prospect of being able to fish Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin as well as ducking outside on a good day for a snapper is of interest. It would be sure to open up a few options when the game fish aren't playing.

But let's get serious and look at what's around now, instead of lamenting what never was.

Now's the time to be out looking for a few yellowfin tuna out wide. This time last year there were a few good fish about when the conditions were right.

The water should have cooled down to 19° or 20° by now and there should be some bait around in the form of sauries. We were seeing schools of sauries jumping in mid-March so with an abundance of bait and the right water we may just enjoy a half-decent yellowfin season this year.

While we're out there we night also be inclined to get a berley trail going and have a go at a mako.

ROCKS FIRE

Now's also a good time to be out on the rocks and having a go for the bread-and-butter species. The mornings are getting cooler but the bream, blackfish, snapper, tailor, salmon and drummer will all be on the chew.

Just about any of the Currarong platforms will be fishing well but if you're serious, head south and have a go. I have several mates who've been fishing down south of Jervis Bay in recent months and getting some very solid catches of blackfish and drummer.

Most of the platforms south of Jervis Bay would be worth fishing so just get out and have a look around.

Now's also the time to be out looking for a solid king from the rocks. If LBG is your thing then it'll be worth having a live bait around Currarong, inside Jervis Bay or even down south for a kingfish.

If you want even more land-based fishing, have look at the local beaches. Early mornings and late arvos should produce a few salmon and tailor on pilchards or lures or the odd big bream.

A stray jewie will also be hanging around so don't hesitate to fish a bigger strip bait of tailor fillet or even squid after dark. By now those pesky bronze whalers of Summer will have dispersed as the cold water moves in.

Fish a run-up tide after dark with fresh bait and concentrate your efforts in a deep gutter for the best results.

Catching a decent jewie from the beach is a waiting game but put the hours in and you'll get one sooner or later. The feeling of hooking a 20kg jew in a beach gutter and finally washing it up on a wave in the moonlight is one of fishing's great triumphs and makes all those hours of waiting in the cold worth it.

If estuary fishing's your thing, then get down to St Georges Basin and throw some soft plastics or poppers at the bream.

You might still find a few flathead but the Basin is firing with some thumper bream at the moment. Fish of a kilo and better are quite common and there are also some nice snapper and big tailor on offer.

Just about every serious angler with a tinny down this way is having an absolute ball fishing the Basin. It really has been one of the success stories of legislating to make an estuary recreational only.

If all the above isn't enough to get you out wetting a line, there are also some great reds on offer at the moment. Just about anywhere in close is fishing well for reds with floaters and soft plastics producing fish.

The run up to the full moon is the best time so get out there from May 10 to 19 and you shouldn't be disappointed.

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