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An abundance on offer
  |  First Published: January 2010



The fishing scene on the South Coast this month is as good as it gets, with an abundance on offer across all angling fronts.

For those keen to dabble in a bit of float gazing as a blob of green weed bobs below, big schools of luderick are massing along the ocean rocks. There is certainly a bit of an art to successful luderick angling but it isn’t rocket science, either.

Being flexible in your approach is the key. Trial and error is essential to success in getting just the right amount of weight to balance your chosen float. These fish bite subtly and if they feel a bulky float they will drop the bait.

What you want to achieve is a float just visible to the eye in a wave-washed environment but which can also be easily pulled under the surface with minimal resistance by the fish.

Get that scenario correct and you are well on your way to success.

Light mono or fluorocarbon leaders are necessary, in conjunction with a sharp hook around size 1. Modern braided lines, with their ultra-sensitivity, are unnecessary and sometimes even counter-productive, because the fish tend to feel something is amiss when they mouth the bait.

Bait can be anything from the green cabbage weed found on the ocean rocks to the stringy type of weed found in creeks and estuaries. Bread, peeled prawns, nippers, bloodworms and cunjevoi are also good baits to try.

BIG JEWFISH

Shadowing the luderick have been some big jewfish, as Ben Roberts found recently when he placed a cast with a soft plastic next to a large school.

The plastic was crunched in no uncertain terms, resulting in another quality double-figure jewfish hitting the stones. When the fish was cleaned it was no big surprise to see a solid blackfish was the jewie’s last meal.

Some if my recent jew spinning sessions have produced a number of sub-10kg fish and the loss of a significantly larger model after a long fight that ended in a pulled hook after all the hard work had been done. That fish looked to be at least 15kg.

Divers have been seeing some really big jewfish in some unconventional locations, with reports of 30kg to 40kg fish in water barely more than a metre deep. That has certainly got the jewie fraternity buzzing.

Anthony Stokman, fishing with girlfriend Marina Zivkovic, managed to hook and land a lovely cobia around 5kg off the rocks on a soft plastic. Marina promptly released it to fight another day, more concerned with getting the fish back in the water than getting a good photo.

A couple of similar-sized cobes have been caught in the Moruya and Clyde rivers, which is great news for this enigmatic species and hopefully good signs for future encounters.

The estuaries have been alive with all manner of fish. Recently our family has been doing a lot of snorkelling in Lake Conjola and donning a mask and snorkel really opens your eyes to what is on offer.

Big schools of whiting, bream, monster flathead, fan-bellied leatherjackets, octopus, stingrays and tailor are just a sample of what we have been observing.

We even had a seriously agro big blue swimmer crab chasing us out of the water, freaking the kids out completely. That’s something I am sure will stay in their memories for many years!

Andrew Badullovich has been getting some great estuary action, with smaller jewfish on lures being boated, a ripper kilo bream and some fat estuary perch.

Pelagic fish numbers should be swelling nicely, with the addition of frigate mackerel zipping through the washes off the rocks, out on the continental shelf and everywhere in between.

All that is required to catch these fantastic little baitfish are tiny, flashy metal lures cast on light tackle or trolled.

Frigates can be used as live bait for marlin, kingfish, sharks and tuna and as cut bait for snapper, jewfish and bream. They even freeze OK if you want to stock up on some Winter bait.

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