Reds lead the charge
  |  First Published: October 2009

This is a great month to get out on the water and chase a few fish. The water is warming, the days are getting longer and fish activity is steadily increasing as the ocean begins to shift into
ummer mode.

And superb action is happening at present with snapper at the forefront from the shore and out to sea.

A recent trip to Bendalong resulted in some sensational fishing for Michael Williams and Murray Cooper, with snapper to 7kg taking their soft plastics.

Thinking outside the square, the boys deliberately fished barracouta schools that were working densely balled-up bait. Underneath the mayhem, snapper could be easily seen on the sounder as solid arches.

Getting the plastics through the couta unmolested was the hardest part but a big snapper was often the reward. The boys caught over 50 couta and extracted 15 snapper, with Michael’s personal best 7kg fish the standout. This fish had a huge cuttlefish tentacle hanging from its mouth, as can be seen from the accompanying photo.

The action took place in only 20m of water so you certainly don’t need to head to the horizon to score big. Choice of plastic didn’t seem to matter; they used three different brands, sizes and colours.

Bait anglers plying their trade in depths of 40m to 70m wide of the Tollgate Islands (beyond the sanctuary zones) have also been highly successful on snapper to 5.5kg.
harter boat operators and rec anglers have reported good numbers of snapper.

Off the rocks, Ray Smith has been fishing hard to land his first big land-based snapper, thanks to a new pair of distance casting outfits and an almost unhealthy level of dedication.

Ray’s efforts to achieve success at any new form of fishing is mind boggling. Throughout the prime
inter season he hooked and lost a number of big reds but finally shook off the monkey with a pair of stunning snapper to just shy of 8kg at a time of the year when most rock fishos have packed away their 13’ honeycomb weapons until next year. Ray has patience and dedication in truckloads and again has been nicely rewarded.

The offshore scene should be firing for tuna as the currents begin to push south again.

Oddly, albacore to 10kg have been frequenting the 40-fathom zone with reports of boats scoring 25 fish a session on trolled lures.

lbacore traditionally are very shelf-orientated but the fact that some large schools of yellowtail are inshore may have some bearing on why the fish are so close to land. Good numbers of school yellowfin have been present but their numbers have been scattered through various depths.
hispers of southern bluefin are still on the grapevine so a run beyond the second drop-off could reap big rewards if a big fuel bill doesn’t faze you.

Depending on the push of the currents, we could also see the first wave of striped marlin this month. Last year we had some great action on billfish prior to the longliners taking huge numbers of fish from Jervis Bay and Batemans Bay –a barbaric practice that needs to be stopped.

Hopefully the run of stripes is good again this season because they are an awesome experience, particularly when in packs. Being part of a multiple billfish hook-up is a truly adrenaline-charged event.

Plenty of good charter boats offer reasonably-priced marlin and tuna packages and it is well worth doing at least once in your fishing career.


In the estuaries it is big bream time with plenty of angry oyster munchers inhabiting the racks.

November is when I have suffered more demoralising wipe-outs in the racks than any other time of year.

The fish just seem to be on steroids, taking drag off reels that defies logic.

Earlier this year I sold my boat and as the estuary season hits full swing, I am really feeling the loss so mates beware, I will be bumming a few rides soon!

One aspect of fishing the Clyde that I really miss is popping plastics in the upper reaches for big estuary perch.

The lead-up to
ummer sees fantastic surface action on perch that often stretch the tape to almost 50cm.

Over the next few years perch numbers and size should really boom, now that estuary netting has ceased, thanks to one good aspect of the Batemans Marine Park.

Huge numbers of big perch often died in pros’ nets, only to be discarded to float belly up with the tide.

The ‘boof’ of a surface strike from perch really quickens the pulse and the action takes place pretty close to the boat. Their big tails throw a good deal of water, making the spectacle highly visual, and more than makes up for their modest fighting capabilities.

Bass, too, should be getting active in the creeks and hold equal surface appeal.

Lack of rain may be a governing factor as to where the fish will be concentrated. It has been a dry couple of months so you shouldn’t have to head deep into gorge country to find some fish.

But if the heavens do open up, the fish will certainly be seeking the uppermost reaches.

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