Time for billfish
  |  First Published: December 2009

I love Summer and not just for the warm weather and water. There’s so much happening that’ it’s often difficult to decide what to do or where to fish.

Our Summer fishing usually revolves around game species so when the weather is good, we’re usually out wide chasing billfish or mahi mahi.

Our usual routine is to launch at Greenwell Point and catch some live baits just outside the Crookhaven entrance. There’s usually a heap of big fat slimies there but sometimes you need head out 500m or so to find them.

We use the sounder to find a bait school, then just use handlines and bait with long-shank hooks and a little berley and never struggle to catch 15 baits.

We then normally head out to The Banks or the continental shelf and start fishing. If we’re working The Banks we’ll slow troll with two baits or anchor up and drift a couple of livies back.

When slow trolling we do big laps around the main hump and try to keep some distance from the congregation of boats right on the hump.

If you hook a fish and it runs straight through a dozen boats you can normally kiss it goodbye and cause mayhem, so we much prefer to find a school of bait off The Banks and concentrate around it.

We normally troll one bait on a drop-back off the starboard outrigger and the other off the port corner on a downrigger. This keeps them apart so they don’t tangle on sharp turns and also prevents the same fish eating both baits before it’s hooked on the first bait.

We normally fish 24kg or 37kg tackle on the blacks and tag all our fish. We have fished 10kg and 15kg tackle but we had a few fish get tail-wrapped and die during extended fights so these days we’re happy to get them in and tagged quickly.

We fish 6m traces of 250lb or 300lb Momoi Hard leader tipped with Eagle Claw circle hooks with 80lb braid bridle loops.

Among hazards at The Banks are the occasional bronze whaler eating the downrigged bait and seals eating the outrigger bait up on top. You might get the odd king grab the deep bait but a keeper king is always welcome on the barbie when we get home.


If The Banks are quiet or overcrowded and the weather is good, we often head wider to the shelf, where we target striped marlin from February to April.

We normally start trolling four 8” or 10” lures for striped marlin, one off each corner and one off each outrigger. I like pink and lumo green.

We run these lures on 200lb or 250lb Momoi leaders with two 10/0 hooks at 90° to each other.

Fishing lures for striped marlin can be very frustrating, with missed hook-ups, but it’s fun and exciting. We also run teasers and switch-bait if conditions are suitable.

We normally run along the shelf line or just inside on 80 to 100 fathoms and cover a bit of ground to look for bait schools on the sounder. We mark these on the GPS and if the lure trolling is slow we work back to each bait school and check it out for feeding.

Then it’s a simple matter of dropping a live bait down to the correct depth.

This is probably the most effective way to target striped marlin out wide but trolling lures or switch-baiting is a lot more fun.


We also mix things up and have a quiet family day on Jervis Bay. We pack some lunch and have fun swimming and snorkelling or dragging the kids around behind the boat on the doughnut.

We finish off by catching some squid for dinner. These days are always special and the crumbed calamari with a few beers for dinner makes it all worthwhile.

Of course there’s a heap more to do down this way over Summer.

Like chasing bream and flathead in St Georges Basin or even some flathead or jewies in the Shoalhaven River, or maybe some late-arvo bass up further.

Or how about some bream and whiting from the local beaches or blackfish from the rocks? Both these options are easy and can involve the family and can be made into a great day if you pack some food.

If you don’t own a boat and would like to have a fish around Greenwell Point then why not hire a tinnie or a kayak from Anglers Rest, adjacent to the main trawler wharf and spend a day or half-day exploring and fishing?

You can duck back to shore and have some fish and chips for lunch or even a swim at the pool. You can duck back to Angers Rest for an ice cream and new owners Simon and Liz are happy to point you in the right direction if you hire a tinnie or kayak.

Things will be a bit crowded over the holiday period but if you get out early or late you can avoid the crowds and find some water and fish to yourself.

Whatever you decide to do, make a point of exploring this wonderful part of NSW and taking advantage of what’s on offer. You won’t be disappointed.



Christine Finney with a nice squid taken around Culburra.


Graeme Todd with a trevally taken on a mini jig at the South West Hump out near The Sir John Yong Banks.


John Rattenbury caught this 2kg snapper on a soft plastic off Culburra.


Andrew Finney tight to an 80kg black marlin at The Banks last season. Hopefully this summer they’ll be back around.

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