Pelagics line up
  |  First Published: January 2010

This is the beginning of the pelagic season here. Visitors from the north ride down the East Australian Current and hopefully will gather around the islands and reefs from Seal Rocks to Birubi Point.

Fishing the reefs in close and out wide around Broughton Island and further north will almost guarantee kingfish, with some big hoodlums cruising the washes and shallows in search of squid, garfish and slimy mackerel.

Targeting big kings can be exciting and frustrating, with the size and power of these fish making them hard to land.

My suggestion is to arm your self with overhead or spin tackle of at least 24kg and make sure that drag is locked up.

A live squid or slimy mackerel, slowly trolled on the surface or from a downrigger, is the best method to connect with a hoodlum.

This is also a great way to target cobia and now that the warm water has arrived, these fish are a big possibility, especially later this month.

Reef fish are always popular at this time of year. Trag, snapper, jewfish and even pearl perch are worth targeting on all the reefs, such as the Tank mark off Boat Harbour, Boulder Bay Wide, the gravel in 40 fathoms east of Little Island plus The 21 Fathom Reef, the Inner and Outer Vs and the Big Gibber.

Around the islands, bonito and tailor will be in the washes, while some snapper will fall victim to floating baits early morning and late afternoon.


The game season is in full swing with blue, black and striped marlin encountered daily.

The continental shelf has been the most productive spot especially for smaller black marlin, with inshore waters hit-and-miss.

Those who are members of or are affiliated with game fishing clubs will be aware of the new tag and release pointscore system. Basically, the lighter the line the more points.

However, I feel that the jury is still out. The lighter the line, the more stress to the fish and usually the fight time is a lot longer, with some marlin totally exhausted once the tag goes in.

Time will tell if this will be the case and with the NSW Interclub Tournament at the end of the month, it will make things really interesting at the weigh station!


Inside the bay, things have really gone haywire with everything from whiting to kingies getting in on the action.

Surface lures have been very effective with bream and whiting going nuts over the flats and oyster racks.

Areas around Mud Point to Lemon Tree Passage have been the best for whiting while the racks behind Solders Point, Tilligerry Creek and Pindimar have been the pick of the areas for bream.

Flathead have been active with most fish now beginning to find their way towards the bottom half of the bay. Shoal Bay, Jimmys Beach and Wanda Head have been the pick of the spots with baits and lures equally effective.

Those that like a little more action should head down to the breakwall at Nelson Bay, where kingies of all sizes have turned up and are wiling to attack larger surface poppers and live baits.

Most have been rats of around 3kg to 5kg with the odd larger fish to 15kg turning up to test anglers’ tackle.

The beaches are excellent at the moment with plenty of sand whiting holding in most gutters.

Live worms and pink nippers are by far the best baits and can be fished on light 1kg to 2kg leaders and relatively light rods of around 9’ to 10’.

All the beaches have been working but those that don’t receive a lot of attention from swimmers and surfers seem to produce better. Try Green Hills at Fingal, Samurai, the northern end of One Mile and, of course, Stockton.

Rock fishing has been a little hit and miss with mainly tailor, bonito and kingies with the occasional snapper. This will change as we progress into next month with the LBG action hotting up.

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