It has been a year since that incredible run of southern bluefin tuna along our part of the coast line. Let’s hope we get the ‘blues’ again this July.
When, where, how or if these fish may come to shore is never really known until the time and when it happens you just have to be ready to go. Last July saw them wide over the 1000 fathoms with fish ranging from 30kg through to the largest caught at 186kg, but most fish averaged in the 90kg.
Most were taken on a wide range of lures and, more often than not, every lure in the pattern was eaten with explosive strikes resulting in multiple hook ups. Whether or not we see this action again this July remains to be seen, however all indications are there for another great season where hopefully more records will be broken.
Other gamefish are also likely to be around as the water temps are staying at 23ºC up until the end of May; yellowfin, albacore and mako sharks would definitely be on the short list.
Long liners have also encountered many numbers of broadbill this season so for those that wish to stay out at night may find themselves attached to one of these elusive fish.
Winter is a great time for bottom bouncers. Go out early and let the sun warm things up, and hopefully so will the fish. You will have the pick of the days as calm weather is a regular occurrence.
Most reef species for this area are available with nearly all the well known spots producing. Snapper have been particularly good this season with plenty to be found, although the sizes haven’t been extremely large they are still very tasty.
In the calm, try anchoring and berleying to bring up the bigger fish, or even use soft plastics over the shallow close in reefs will produce. These conditions will also allow you to fish very wide with the aid of electronic reels. The very deep water over the Continental Shelf will produce some of the best table fish our waters have to offer in the form of blue eye trevalla, ling, harpuka, perch, cod and many others.
Back closer to shore, there are plenty of flathead for those with smaller boats. Out from most beaches the sand flatties will dominate while the tigers will be found wider.
Cold wet sand doesn’t appeal to most people in winter so beaches often don’t get the attention they deserve. However, they do have some very appealing qualities that you might have overlooked: Most of our winds are offshore at this time of year so there is very little break to contend with, and these calm conditions allow anglers to sight fish schools of salmon that patrol the beaches. A handful of lures and a light spin rod is all that is required to provide any seasoned fisho with hours of entertainment.
Another method on the beach is to bring the fish to you by using berley, striped tuna is the best. If you find a deep gutter close to adjacent rocks you’ll find allsorts of species appearing. Even in the middle of the day these fish will feed, especially when daylight hours are short.
Rocks are another popular place to fish when conditions are calm with those hard pulling drummer being top of the list. There are some nice groper, quite a few bream, trevally or you can also use the same lures for tailor and salmon.
In the estuaries luderick and bream are the main species available with the luderick hanging around the rock walls, the river boat ramp or the bridge pylons. Most are taking green or cabbage weed, while nippers may produce over the sand.
Bream react well to berley whether in an estuary or on a beach. The southern yellowfin bream are still here in numbers where they are reacting to a well laid berley trail in the lower parts of the estuaries and providing great winter angling.Reads: 1006