HOPE everybody has bought their thermals by now and are putting them to good use. The last thing you want is a pesky flu or virus; they eat into valuable fishing time!
And if you haven’t fished in a winter’s morning without them, you don’t know what comfort you are missing; clothing layers have nothing on a full body thermal. Most good tackle stores stock fishing specific thermals; once you realize how warm they keep you, you’ll never miss an early morning snapper bite again!
Speaking of snapper, they are still on the chew in close and with the cuttlefish now moving in they will stay this way for a while yet. With this in mind cuttlefish makes a great bait at this time of year. If your into lure fishing try casting a lighter jighead, say 1/8 oz with a white plastic at a cuttlefish if you see one floating around; you never know what big reds could be under it; especially if the birds have been picking at it and making a nice berley trail.
Offshore the water is cooling down and at this stage there’s a lot of 6 to 8kg yellowfin. Most of the larger yellowfin so far has been around 20 to 25kg with only a handful of 50kg plus fish being caught that I know of. The commercial boats started to see the bluefin mid-June with some 100 to 120kg ones coming in. These front runners tend to have big heads, but slender bodies. The bigger barrels shouldn’t be far away and as you read this I expect the recreational boats to be having a crack at them if they swing in close enough, as has happened in recent years.
This year there is a lot of bait just over the shelf and it is looking good for tuna feeding in closer. Bluefin can be fussy and tend to swim in good clean nutrient rich water. Yellowfin are very likely to be found in the same water, but you can also find them in poorer water quality as well.
There has been some nice albacore but not in amazing numbers as yet. There’s also some massive schools of striped tuna getting round, so despite the late start it looks like to be shaping up into a great tuna season. And with a warmer than usual eddy still down our way don’t be surprised if you hook up to a marlin or dolphin fish as has happened to a few lucky anglers.
Off the rocks the drummer are biting and the traditional techniques are working well. Something a bit different if anything is more customers are coming in and using small circle hooks on these fish with great success. Salmon are swimming by as are the tailor. Interestingly the tailor are probably out doing the Salmon at this stage of winter with some good schools and good sizes getting around.
The ocean facing bays are still producing snapper, mulloway and sharks at night. It seems like the bronze whalers are all up and down the coast. There’s still a lot of garfish getting rounded up in these bays by predators such as salmon, tailor, kingfish. One afternoon the garfish got pushed up into the rock pools of South Broulee in masses and people could catch a feed by hand!
The estuary is still fishing very well at this time off the year. Everybody seems to be getting good flathead and some crackers as well over that 80cm mark.
Bream are also playing the game and the illusive mulloway that don’t seem so ellusive when you got fishing legends like Layton Brant, Joel Taylor, Jem Abbot, Daniel Dowley and Coen Davis on their tails. These guys are starting to put in Wade Eaton hours and are coming up with some thumpers. Layton has the lead so far with a 28 kilo beast. But the other boys have caught some crackers now also. Good to see our Clyde becoming the mulloway capital. Good seeing a lot of these fish being tagged and released for research and future growth in numbers. Let’s keep the fishery a healthy one.
Well that’s a bit of a run down on what’s biting, now go put the jug on and warm yourself up before heading out for a fish in your new thermals! I’m telling you, they are toasty to fish in; go get some and get into it!
Complete Angler Batemans Bay