All of the winter favourites are on the chew this month as the weather continues to pummel the coast with high seas and pouring rain.
Timing a fishing trip has been difficult thanks to the sea conditions but when you find a calm window of opportunity the fishing has not been disappointing the keen angler.
Yellowfin tuna are on the shelf and canyons in good numbers with fish to 40kg being encountered. Trolling has been the way to go as the conditions have not allowed for comfortable cubing too often.
Albacore numbers should show a marked increase this month as the water continues to cool down. Last season had a real good showing of albacore in cube trails with anglers making the most of the sporting opportunities they offered by targeting them on light spin gear. Metal lures jigged through the trail as well as surface strikes on large soft plastics worked famously for anglers fishing ‘outside the square’. The size of the fish last season was generally under double figures with only a few 12kg to 15kg fish being captured, perfect for spin tackle. It has been quite a few seasons now since we have encountered a run of big albacore so hopefully this year is the one.
Striped tuna continue to plague the coast in staggering numbers and the size of the fish have really been impressive with the odd specimen reaching a whopping 10kg! To catch an animal like that on spin tackle would be a marathon event. Stripies on spin gear are one of the ultimate adrenaline hits and definitely high on the list of favourites for me.
Of course with all this tuna action taking place there has been numerous mako sharks showing up, especially in cube trails. The size has varied from metre long pups to the odd monster of several hundred kilos. Mako has to be by far the best eating shark in the sea and if you stick to sub 80kg fish you will avoid the supposed high mercury content.
Mako cuts well into steaks and cooks up a treat on the barbeque finished with a bit of tandoori sauce and it also makes a mean fish burger.
With all the rain we have been receiving I expect to see another good showing of jewfish in the river this month. There has been a number of notable captures leading up to this report. Chuck Firth was hoping to catch a tailor for a live bait on light spin and a 20g metal lure off the bridge but instead hooked almost 13kg of jewfish for his troubles. To land a fish like that in such circumstances is a damn good effort. A 10kg fish was also landed by an angler spinning from the shore with a shallow diving hard body lure and a few decent fish have also been hooked and lost on plastics around the bridge pylons.
Last month I reported on an unsubstantiated 37kg fish being landed in the river and I can now confirm that it is indeed true. The fish was landed off the T-wharf near the bridge on a live bait by an angler who purchased a 12 foot el-cheapo combo from the tackle shop that day. According to Anthony Stokman who helped land the monster, it took the guy 50 minutes to subdue it. It almost reached the bridge pylons as well as the moored boats and even came to the surface in the middle of the river at one stage.
The beach scene still remains pretty quiet for jewfish with little to report. I did have a good session off the rocks recently however on spin with a turbo charged 11.5kg fish that gave me a real hard time reefing me into a weed covered bommie after a sizzling 60 metre run. Fortunately it decided to swim back out allowing for an easy steer to the beach.
Around three casts later I was on again, this time connected to a barra-impersonating 8.5kg fish that never really ran too much but more than made up for it visually with numerous jumps as well as spending a stubborn five minutes in the shore dump, refusing to give in.
Snapper anglers have been revelling with hot action on reds averaging 5kg on plastics when the sea has been accommodating. Tony Evans recently nailed three fish in that class with two of those sporting decent lumps on their heads. We might not be able to match South Oz reds in size but we have the best looking snapper here on the east coast.
Phil Petridis has also been getting into some good snapper action too as well as finding some straggling winter kingfish easily winning their freedom. Snapper spinning tackle is no match for kings, especially in unforgiving terrain. You need a fair dose of luck to go your way. Still there is plenty of slimy mackerel around so a live bait should be set on heavy tackle for the best chance of success.
By the time this issue hits the stands I suspect my 4.2 metre PolyCraft will have sold leaving me to once again be back on land. It has been a fantastic boat for me over the years but due to lack of use I have decided to let it go.Reads: 1231