JUST when we thought that we had worked out the patterns for fishing at Montague Island, the fish change the rules. Before this week the kingfish and bonito had repeated their long term patterns, they consistently had a bite before a southerly change, but this week the anticipated weather change was very disappointing.
A few legal kings were caught trolling skirted lures on the southern end of the island, but by Tuesday a school of 55cm kings had appeared chasing bait fish, and the good kings of the last few weeks have temporarily gone - the full moon is on the 15th and things should improve just before and after this.
A couple of small amberjacks, striped tuna and dolphinfish were caught late last week around the southern end of the island, again these were taken whilst fishers were targeting kingfish, at least one fisher was surprised as to how good dolphinfish tasted when deep-fried.
The Marlin offshore have again been active with fish over 100kg taken most days around 'The Kink' and further east. A few fishers have ventured out wide chasing bluefin, but their efforts have been unrewarded at this stage, they should be on any day now.
Trying to catch a feed of flathead has proved difficult lately due to the massive schools of leatherjackets. One spot worth a try is in about 20m of water due east of Narooma Golf Course. The trick here has been to start your drift and when you start catching jackets, head straight back up the drift.
There are plenty of pencil sized slimies offshore in about 15m of water due east of the surf club.
Snapper and mowies are being taken on most offshore reefs at the moment, it is encouraging to see plenty of pinkie snapper around 20-25cm, by next year these should be excellent table sized fish.
Tip of the week: If you have live bait left over after a day’s fishing, try placing them into a container with holes in the bottom and cover with salt. Leave them in the salt for one or two days then freeze in zip bags, this will give you some excellent bait for your next trip.
Joke of the week: One day, two guys Joe and Bob were out fishing. A funeral service passes over the bridge they're fishing by and Bob takes off his hat and puts it over his heart. He does this until the funeral service passes by. Joe then said "Gee Bob, I didn't know you had it in you!"
Bob then replies "It's the least I could do. After all I was married to her for 30 years".
Paxevanos – big jewfish on at the Clyde
OFF the back of a very busy autumn looking after tourists, some South Coast charter boat operators are looking forward to winter when things quite down and they can so a little fishing for themselves.
Anthony Stokman from the Complete Angler in Batemans Bay is one such person.
Anthony is looking forward to the possibility of another good bluefin tuna season, but in the meantime reports warm weather species are there for the taking.
You see the East Australian Current continues to push down so it’s looking like the warm waters are going to hang around through winter like they did last year last year.
Sure there will still be that inshore drop down to 14 or 15 degrees, but the offshore water may stay quite warm. Last year marlin were being caught in June and a massive blue marlin being was weighed in at Bermagui in August…don't be surprised if we see this again this year.
Meanwhile some decent kingfish have finally made an appearance, but they are hit or miss.
Good spots to include Durras, Moruya, Ulladulla and Jervis Bay. A good strategy is to chase snapper and flatties until the kings turn up…it’s an each way bet.
Stand out species end of summer and throughout this autumn is definitely the dolphin fish. The FADS up and down the coast have been holding large numbers and plenty of fish mostly around the 80 to 90cm, but with some little rats and a few bulls amongst them.
With the FAD’s fishing so well, Anthony was keen to remind anglers about FAD etiquette.
He remembers the days when he rushed out to a FAD with only lures in tow. Two other boats already there were setting up for a session with livies, so he thought he would do a couple of quick passes, try his luck and move on
This obviously this didn't make the guys very happy and for good reason; he spooked their fish, and had he caught a couple they would’ve been more upset. First in is first served.
But karma got him back immediately because when he returned with livies he picked up two dollies quickly before another boat came and did what he did earlier and the fish shut down immediately.
The problem with motoring passed with lures is that it can push the fish down if they are a bit shy.
There's days they are on the bite big time and motoring by with lures out the back can produce fish, pass after pass. But if the fish have been holding there for a few days or more and have been getting a lot of traffic they tend to get pushed down by the engines.
So if you arrive at a FAD and people are quietly drifting by and catching fish with livies and you don’t have any livies or bait-think before trolling!
The best approach is to find the direction of drift and park well away from the FAD and drift by it.
Berley can be very helpful in raising fish and livies are always going to be your best option.
Other options include jigging lures or hard bodies. This can be a lot of fun on light gear. Just don't be the clown dragging lures through five to 10 boats who are drifting quietly by. They are not going to be impressed and nobody will be catching fish.
The other thing to remember is once you do a drift by the FAD and you are some distance away from it, don't be surprised if you hook up.
When things are going smoothly and people are quiet the fish can be up and on the bite for some area around the FAD.
But when you feel you have drifted out of the action. Start your engine and motor quietly out and well around the FAD and start the drift again. So slow and take your time and be quiet and everybody will catch fish instead of none.
There are still striped marlin getting around and there have been some great days in the last three weeks.
There has been some tuna poking around as well, including some sightings of what would be long tail tuna by diver; so now is the time where you could get one of these tasty speedsters from the deeper rock platforms.
Snapper have continued to stay in close over the last few months delighting experienced rock fisherman. Boats fishing the shallows out to 15m's depth have also succeeded in reasonable catches of snapper using light gear, especially on the last bit of the high tide when it coincides with dawn and dusk.
In the estuary the big news of late is the giant jewfish Wade Eaton put Joel Taylor into.
Wade and friends have been putting some serious hours into catching these fish, with good success, but nothing so far has matched the beast they caught near the Princess Highway Bridge.
Their signature grunt ‘Arrggghh’ will be sounding for some time yet.
Author Australian Fishing Basics