Mad Makos
  |  First Published: June 2008

Ever had a favourite species in a particular form of fishing? For me it has to be gamefishing for mako sharks, and now is a great time to pursue them.

The attraction for me is the unpredictable behaviour of these sharks whether they are on a line or in their feeding manner. You can be burleying for tuna and the first indication one is around the boat is when this steely black eye is looking up at you. They will take lures on the troll, live and dead baits in burley trails or jigs intended for kingfish. And once they are hooked they may come rocketing out of the water in a series of spectacular somersaulting leaps, tear line off the best game reels in uncontrollable bursts, or just sulk all the way to the boat like someone with a bad toothache, what ever occurs they are one fantastic fish to target.

Tuna are around in good numbers in both yellowfin and albacore, and the preferred way to target these species is to burley. Cubes of mackerel, whole or half pilchards, drifted back will account for most takes, while a live bait may produce the better fish. Makos are a common by-catch while chasing the tuna so I would recommend you have a shark bait in the water at all times.

Unfortunatley, not everything goes to plan when fishing for mako and you may have to revert to trolling for tuna. This may be due to bad weather or just as a means to cover some water to find where the fish are. Once you’ve located the tuna, and if they are concentrated, try burleying to see if they will respond.

The tuna this season have been in as close as 20-fathoms with the Four Mile and Six Mile reefs holding fish. Run your lures out early as you may be surprised as to where you might find them. If nothing else, striped tuna may be there, giving you fresh bait for days of burleying.

Up at Montague Island, kingies and bonito are feeding on passing schools of sauries, as are a few tuna. Trolling live mackerel, small bibbed and bibless lures will account for most. And casting poppers on some heavy weight spin gear will supply some interesting and spectacular action.

On the bottom around the Island, snapper and morwong are the main captures at present, while back towards shore out from Tilba, sand flathead and the odd gummy shark are regular catches.

The close in reefs south of Bermagui have good stocks of snapper hanging around them that can be targeted in various ways. Soft plastic lure fishing is popular close to the shore, while anchoring and burleying is popular on the slightly deeper reefs. Leather jackets are still a problem so you might have to move around a bit to avoid them.

The deeper Twelve Mile Reef has seen some nice trumpeter being caught and in the mix are mowies, snapper, ocean perch, and some huge jackets. You can also burley for tuna and sharks at the same time to cover more options.

Onshore rock fishing is firing in the form of some very nice drummer and some good groper thrown in. The main rocky headland is producing best with baits of cunjevoi, red crabs and cabbage weed. Early mornings and late evenings are best, and also keep a spin stick handy for passing schools of salmon and bonito.

Salmon are frequenting the beach providing good angling on the high tides. There has also been lots of small jewfish this season, and you can also expect to encounter gummy sharks, schools of bream and tailor of a night.

Sadly, the estuaries are going quiet with the best fishing occurring around the entrances of most systems. Luderick are the main stay with some excellent captures coming from the breakwalls around the bridge in the Bermagui River. Bream, trevally and the odd flathead are being taken in the warmer water of the rising tide.

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