Amberjack ambush in August
  |  First Published: July 2009

This past month saw some good patches of weather which gave me the opportunity to do quite a few charters back to back and again the fish didn’t let us down. Good numbers of plate size squire around 40-45cm in 85-90m of water but it’s been amberjack and Samson fish that have really turned it on and kept my clients entertained.

Finding the bait schools in 65-75m of water and dropping a livie on a paternoster rig has been doing the damage. Most of the AJs and Sambos have been solid fish in the 8-12kg bracket but we have boated a few fish around 18-20kg.

As I mentioned last month this time of year I normally spend most of my time on charters chasing knobbles. But when I tell clients there have been good numbers of back breaking AJs around across the bay, most want to take up the challenge.

Some locations are full of undersized amberjacks and Samson around 65-70cm in length. With the size limit of 75cm, these fish have got to go back over the side, which is a real shame because they are quality-eating fish. But if you take the time to sound around and find the bait schools you’ll find the bigger fish.

The only down side is along with the amberjacks there’s large numbers of sharks that hit the live baits as well as the hooked fish. The ones I’m seeing mostly are bronze whaler sharks in the 6-8ft range and they’re hunting in packs with sometimes three or four sharks chasing a hooked fish to the boat.

On one trip in early July we watched the sharks take amberjacks around 10kg whole, at the side of the boat. The one saving grace is we have been getting multiple hook-ups and have managed to get some of the hooked fish to the boat. I can’t understand where the experts get their facts and figures from about sharks; if you talk to just about anyone in the profession sector, they’ll tell you shark numbers are on the increase. But what would we know? We’re just the ones out there seeing it.

Livies are definitely the key to sticking the hooks into an AJ at present and for a change they’ve been a lot easier to find. The squire have been consistent lately on the wider grounds around 35- and 42-fathom reefs as well as Deep Tempest. It’s again good to see the number of squire taken on bottom bashers but floating is still taking the better fish.

The 33-fathom line is also producing good fish by float lining but at the beginning of July snapper hadn’t moved into this area yet. Shallow Tempest has produced some good spangled emperor and mulloway from the kelp beds, but if you get into a patch of mulloway only take enough for a feed.

The next month should again see squire and snapper stay on the menu along with amberjacks and kingfish.

Ryobi Safari 5000 reels

When I’m doing a product test I like to give the product a solid workout before doing a report. About nine months ago I put three of the new Ryobi Safari 5000 jigging reels on the boat and after a solid season of jigging I am impressed. These reels are quality gear, with a very comfortable, large power handle, 12kg of drag and a very competitive price tag around $400. The retrieve rate is 4.9:1 which is great for jigging and its overall performance is outstanding when you put it up against its far more expensive rivals. So if you’re in the market for a new jigging reel, one of these is definitely worth a look.

Until next month, enjoy your fishing, take care on the coastal bars and if you’d like to join me on charter (max 5 persons) give me a call on (07) 38229527 or 0418738750.

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