“HERE one minute, gone the next”; that seems to be the pattern for bluefin tuna fishing for the last few weeks.
The real challenge has been to work out where they will be, just some of the calculations which need to be considered by fishers include: Where were they last seen, was it a reliable sighting and did anyone catch any? Was there any current? Has anyone seen the latest Sea Surface Temperature charts? What's the weather going to be like? What colour lure will they take, what did they catch ‘em on last week? Do I need to get pilchards for cubing? Is my esky big enough, or do I need a fish bag? Do I have enough fuel in the boat? Do I head east/north or south?
Thursday was the last good tuna bite in the current cycle, again with tuna landed up to 100kg. Weather was excellent on both Friday and Saturday, but the tuna didn't play the game until late in the day, when plenty of fishers had already gone home. Goes to show that persistence is sometimes the key to success.
One of the key cultural issues with tuna fishers has been the willingness to call in nearby boats when feeding tuna are found. This is not one of those things you have to do, but it is the right thing to do. Now that Channel 22 provides radio coverage over our entire area, it is easy for boats to be able to communicate what is happening and where.
Tuross and Potato Point reefs have had very mixed results over the last week, it is only a matter of time before the better fish move into those reefs around the 60m mark
Good sized sand and tiger flathead have been taken in the 30m line due east of Glasshouse Rocks, the crew on 'Gaffa 2' bagged out in an hour and a half on good sized flatties.
There are massive schools of small Australian salmon chasing slimies offshore at the moment, boat fishers targeting live bait off the Surf Club have caught salmon on bait jigs. Remember the bag limit for salmon is five per person.
If you don't mind a bit of travelling, a report has been confirmed regarding good sized snapper north of Batemans Bay. These fish have been caught mainly from the shore around Durras, local experts have been getting the best results near reef using a combination of berley and very small cubes of pilchards or slimies. Some of the better snapper have been caught floating whole pilchards down the berley trail, on a falling tide.
Tip of the week: Join a local fishing club, you will meet great people and improve your fishing knowledge. Local fishing clubs are: Narooma Bowlo Fishing Club (4476 2433),Club Dalmeny Fishing Club (4476 7770), and the Narooma Sport & Game Fishing Club (4476 5202).
Joke of the week: Have you seen the new fishing website? No, it’s not online yet.
Fishing soap box: We are still waiting to see which option is adopted for the new/revamped Narooma boat ramp. Good thing that fishers are a patient lot.
Unreal bluefin action
CATCH of the Day (Aug. 7): There was more unreal bluefin tuna action off Narooma on Wednesday. Skipper Nick Cowley from Charter Fish Narooma had a school of bluefin under his boat Playstation yesterday.
The fish ranged from 40 to 60kg and he was catching them on jigs, poppers and cubes or just about anything.
He and his fishing mate landed and kept four fish and released many, many more fish!
“Jigging for bluefin tuna today at Narooma, almost every drop resulted in a hook up fish between 40-60kg, on a Daiwa catalina 5000 size reel, awesome fun!” he wrote on Facebook.
He posted a couple of videos of the hot action on the bluefin tuna, including one fish that took over 250 meters of line first run on a jig.
Scott Bradley from Bermagui Bait & Tackle said the fish were breaking up into patches, which made them harder to find and could also signal they were ready to move on.
However, fish were caught this week in water as cold as 17.5 degrees and who knows what the current would bring in the next week.
The more boats on the water, the easier it was to find the fish!
NSW Government to stock prawns in lakes
NSW Marine Fish Stocking Program will see about four million juvenile eastern king prawns stocked in 10 locations along the coast during 2014-15, starting this summer.
Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has announced that fish stocks along the coastline will receive a major boost with the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government implementing a new marine fish stocking program to enhance recreational fishing opportunities.
“This program will see widely sought-after Eastern king prawns stocked up and down the NSW coast, from Eden in the south up to Old Bar near Myall Lakes,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Plans are also underway to initiate Mulloway stockings in the future. This will require collecting wild caught broodstock and acclimating the fish to hatchery conditions before being ready to spawn.
“This program of stocking of fish and prawns in estuarine environments follows on from previous research trials of stocking mulloway and prawns, which evaluated ecological aspects and effectiveness of marine stockings.
“These successful stockings provided essential information for a comprehensive environmental assessment and development of a management strategy for implementation of an ongoing marine stocking program.
“This new program will build on the successful freshwater native fish and trout stocking initiatives in rivers and impoundments which have been boosting recreational fishing opportunities during the last 50 years.
“The NSW Government is proud to support the recreational fishing industry, which generates about $1.6 billion in expenditure to the NSW economy each year and creates about 14,000 jobs.
“This marine stocking project is another great example of how money raised through the sale of the recreational fishing fee is being invested back into projects and initiatives that directly benefit recreational anglers.”
The following 10 locations have been identified as potential stocking locations for Eastern king prawns this summer: Curalo Lagoon, Wallagoot Lake, Nelson Lake, Lake Tabourie, Burrill Lake, Lake Conjola, Swan Lake, Narrabeen Lagoon, Wamberal Lagoon and Khappinghat Creek.
For more information, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/info/stocking/marine
Apply now to improve fish habitat
GRANT funds totalling over half a million dollars are available for individuals and community groups wanting to improve fish habitat in our region, through the NSW Government’s Habitat Action Grants Program.
Member for Bega, Andrew Constance said fishing clubs, community groups, local councils and individuals can apply for grants of up to $40,000 to improve fish habitat in their local area.
“These important grants are dedicated to looking after fish habitat and rehabilitating natural environments that have been degraded,” Mr Constance said.
“Community projects have provided fantastic results for habitat improvement in our region including $24,260 in funds to Eurobodalla Shire Council and the Tuross Fishing Club and other volunteers who have undertaken fish habitat restoration works along the bank of the Tuross River at a popular fishing reserve. Works included erosion control, consolidation of vehicle access, replanting (220m) and weed control (8 ha).
Previous funded projects included: removing invasive weeds and re-establishing native vegetation on our riverbanks; opening floodgates or improving road crossings to remove barriers to fish movement; re-snagging waterways; and bank stabilisation works.
Applications for Habitat Action Grants are open until September 19.
For more information about the program, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hag or contact a Department of Primary Industries’ regional officer on 6626 1107 or 4916 3817.