The marlin season here has been reasonable so far with some blacks at The Banks and stripes and the odd blue out wide.
Jervis Bay has also been producing some nice blacks for the LBG anglers and a few have also been taken off the front ledges, which is great to see.
The LBG guys do it the hard way and any marlin caught from the rocks is a very significant capture that has more than likely involved a lot of hard work and sweat. Quite a few fish over 100kg were taken, which are good fish from a boat let alone off the rocks.
We spent some time this season sounding out bait schools with our new Furuno F585 sounder and 1kW transducer. That unit has proved invaluable for live baiting for marlin and it’s lived up to every expectation.
The picture clarity and definition are outstanding and finding bait schools and even marlin feeding on them in 200 fathoms is dead simple. While it wasn’t cheap it has well and truly earned its keep.
Despite the good run of marlin we’ve been confined on the odd occasion in close due to the weather.
We take our game fishing seriously and it hurts to get blown out by weather and rough seas when we only get three months of billfish action.
Every weekend counts so we try and get out whenever the fish are there and the weather is good.
If it blows up we usually go for the option of preparing gear, doing a bit of boat maintenance or I catch up on some writing.
But one option we all enjoy over Summer is to head out into Jervis Bay for a day of squid fishing, swimming and a picnic.
It’s a great opportunity for some fun with the family and that JB water is just fantastic to swim in. We’ve had some unbelievable days out there when it’s been blowing a southerly or stiff nor’easter.
Most times it’s a hard decision and cause of some debate whether we swim, picnic on a beach, drag the kids around on the biscuit or fish for squid. At the end of the day we usually fit it all in and the family time is just great.
About eight years ago I was spending a fair bit time spinning the rocks out around Currarong or tossing small metal lures at pelagics out of my Quinnie 435 Top Ender.
Back then, one of our main targets was bonito. They were just about everywhere in close and inside Jervis Bay and we had some great fun tossing metal lures at them and even caught them on saltwater fly.
Then, for no apparent reason, they simply disappeared from the inshore scene.
We still caught them out around The Banks in Autumn and Winter while jigging for kings but the inshore run of bonnies just never happened and we could never understand why.
They obviously hadn’t been fished out or disappeared altogether because we still caught them out wider so it was just another unexplained fishing mystery.
This Summer and early Autumn the inshore bonito turned up again and were as thick as thieves most days.
They really are great sport and we were pleased to see them about in numbers in close again. Let’s hope they don’t shoot through for that long again.
On the subject of absentee species, last Spring was one the worst yellowfin and albacore runs I’ve ever seen.
Spring 2008 went down in history as one of the best on record with more albacore than I can ever remember seeing. We actually got sick of tagging them a few days.
I can only assume the ocean currents that tuna follow just didn’t get down here or in close enough last Spring, so here’s hoping that this Autumn we see a few yellowfin or albacore show up once the marlin bite has tapered off.
I’ll also bet there are quite a few South Coast game fishers hoping last year’s southern bluefin run is repeated this Winter. We got a few smaller bluefin up to almost 50kg last July but if they turn up this year we’ve got a few techniques that should work.
I’ll be keen to see one over 100kg and my dream is to catch one over 100kg on 24kg stand-up tackle.
The author with a Jervis Bay squid, taken on a weekend when the weather dictated that marlin fishing wasn’t an option.
The South Coast inshore scene has been dominated by a large influx of bonito this year. After many years’ absence inshore, it was great to see some bonnies about for the lure tossers and trollers.
Craig Owen tight to a good red on a soft plastic. Now’s the time to be out fishing the inshore reefs for reds with bait or plastics.
April is still not too late to hook a striped marlin out wide.Reads: 1954