AFTER weeks of speculation, a few false starts, and plenty of theories as to what has happened to the kingfish at Montague Island, they finally made their first genuine appearance for 2014 last Sunday.
A large school of kingfish was found on the north end of the Island, taking jigs, livies and strip baits.
On Sunday the majority of fish were well over the legal size, but lots of Monday's fish had to be measured, which indicates that there are a couple of different schools of kings in the area, a definite good sign.
These fish appear to have returned to the traditional kingfish biting pattern, that is having a “chew” when : a) a few days after the full moon, b) just before a southerly change, and c) before and during the tide change.
However, they did bite when the water was only 17.5c, and the water still has a green tinge about it. Just goes to show that kingfish are not completely predictable.
Schools of fast swimming large bonito have also been found to the east and north of the island, if you want to target these speedsters just watch for the bird activity and troll a combination of hard-bodied lures and skirts at 5-6 knots.
Don't underestimate the eating quality of bonito, a suggestion is to bleed them straight away, they make great sushi or can be fried or barbecued, and remember to put your fish into an ice slurry as soon as possible.
Some fishers have been successfully mixing their catch, after a session on the kings a quick change of tactics has resulted in great catches of snapper and flathead to compliment the kingfish.
The hardest decision of the day has been what fish to eat for dinner that night? We are certainly at the start of the real fishing season at Narooma.
Local fishing identity Robbo was waiting at the ramp on Sunday to check the weight of kings as they came off the boats, Robbo's electronic lie detector (scales) recorded kingfish up to 7.2kg, a bit smaller than the hopeful fishers thought.
But everyone is a bit out of practice in estimating sizes, it will get better as the season goes on.
If you don't own a boat, or want to fish with a local expert, the operators of the local charter boats will be going out every day that weather allows.
Experience shows that charter boat clients catch more fish.
On the offshore game scene, Scotty down at Bermi Bait & Tackle reports that those went out wide earlier this week encountered plenty of bait and the tide was slower at 1-1.5kts.
There were a number of bait balls with seals but no fish. It was blue water of 20.5 to 21 degrees in 70-100 fathoms and 22.5 degrees inside 70 fathoms.
Back onshore, the estuaries and rivers are fishing very well from up at Tuross down to Bermagui.
The Narooma Ocean Hut Compleat Angler on its Facebook posted a pic of the PB estuary perch caught by local "Hippie Chippie".
“After hours of pursuing a jewie in Tuross last week, and unfortunately unable to succeed, he decided to chase the second most elusive fish of the estuary, this time not only successful, but managing his personal best. Love ya work mate! That’s why you’re known as the guru of inlet fishing.”
Playstation skipper Nick Cowley and fishing buddy Alex Krantz having a great session fishing hard-body lures and soft plastics in Wagonga Inlet.
They got a mixed bag of flathead, bream and even a nice snapper.
This weekend is the Narooma Flathead Challenge with 60 teams descending on Wagonga Inlet for the annual catch and release competition where anglers photograph and then release their fish.
The comp is based out of O’Brien’s Hotel and should bring a good crowd to town.
Club Dalmeny Fishing Club meeting
THE February meet was on over the weekend and Kylie Thomas won the ladies section with a nice 1/2kg Bream; Graham Sawyer took out the men's division with a mix of sand flathead, morwong, nannygai and snapper. Juniors went to Brandon with a nice dusky flathead and Andrew Ayers took out the Lucky Fisho award.
Thanks to all the helpers with the food and kitchen duties and Joey Cootes for his barbecue chef expertise.
Bermagui Country Club Social Anglers’ Club
SUNDAY’S get-together with the hotel fishos was a great culmination of the three day fishing comp. Enjoying the club’s hospitality, the winning points went the way of the hotel members, who hold onto the trophy until later in the year when the return meet will test all members alike.
The raffle was a surprise result going to club member, Shirley Fogwell. CAUGHT UP – AGAIN!
Great white shark killer fined $18,000
A MAN who killed a juvenile great white shark by deliberately striking it with his boat at Sussex Inlet has been fined more than $18,000 including court costs.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said the 40-year-old man from Glenbrook was found guilty of harming a threatened species when the matter was heard in Wollongong Local Court last week.
Great white sharks are relatively common in waters off Narooma and Bermagui, particularly during the whale migration and also around the seals.
“Great white sharks are protected in Australian waters, they are listed as a threatened species in NSW which means it is illegal to catch and keep, buy, sell, possess or harm great white sharks and their habitats,” Mr Tritton said.
It was alleged that the following incident took place in January 2012 at Sussex Inlet:
A shark was seen in the area and was actively pursued by a boat.
Witnesses stated to DPI fisheries officers the 40-year-old man deliberately used his boat to hit the shark several times while herding it into shallow water.
The shark sustained the majority of its injuries from the boat’s propeller. A rope was tied onto the shark’s tail.
A second boat then towed the shark back to a boat ramp. The shark was then hit on the head with a metal pole several times.
The magistrate fined the 40-year-old man $8 000 and costs of $8 865 for professional and $1 238 for witness costs.
The master of the second vessel which towed the shark was also charged with harming a threatened species. He entered a plea of guilty and received a six month good behaviour bond.
Mr Tritton said the fines serve as a warning for persons engaged in this type of irresponsible behaviour.
“This conviction sends a strong message that harming of our threatened species will not be tolerated – everyone needs to know the rules and ignorance is no excuse,” he said.
“Great white sharks are found along the NSW coastline and as apex predators at the top of the food chain, they play an important role in marine ecosystems.
“The low population numbers following historical exploitation, plus their low reproductive rate, long gestation and late age at sexual maturity lead to slow recovery of the great white shark population and demonstrate the need for its protection.”
Information concerning illegal fishing can be reported to the Fisher’s Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536 or via the Department of Primary’s Industries’ website at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au