Friday, 23 January 2015
Ok, we will start from the back to front. Bass! Oh my wordy yes. The bass are well and truly on and it doesn’t matter where you’re at it’s a bass fest and plenty of PB’s being broken.
For the last couple of months the black and purple Ausspin lures Spinnerbaits weighted at 1/8 have been doing the damage and still continue at the back reaches of Batemans Bay. Over January and up till now you can throw anything at them and get fish. In the soft shell cicada department the tiemco have a great natural colour range and a great surface action to tempt the bite and have been a favourite among anglers.
Small Chubby and minnow divers are also running out of the shop, colours being small black or gold or both with orange belly’s or tails. As I said you could throw a half-eaten sausage with a hook in it and jag one.
Downstream The Nelligen area has seemed to be a bit on the quieter side in comparison to last year. It seems the better part of the fishing in the Clyde has been from Big Island out to sea. Spring started with big flathead, tailor and whiting and this has continued throughout summer.
A couple of weeks after the big rain we saw the bream come out to play and they are still on the chew. Bigger 4 inch plastics will get you a PB flattie and the new 4 inch Nemesis from Berkley in Gulp and Powerbait have been flathead candy and have been tempting big bream as well.
Massive whiting are being caught on our beaches and 35cm to 45cm fish are becoming common in the catch bag. On the sand flats any surface lure works as long as you are fishing the last 2 hours of the run out, a bit of breeze always helps and with the barometer on your side you can’t go wrong. Outside of that technique is always worms or nippers that will see you on the score board.
The estuary has been turning on a great mulloway show for the last few months and is expected to continue. During the big rain and onslaught of traffic it went a bit quiet for a couple of weeks. But since then and up until now mulloway have been a regular occurrence in the estuary. John Hilyear and Josh Baddock have been going head to head on biggest jew. But it looks as though Josh finished with one of the best mulloway caught in the Clyde for 2014 that I know of.
Inshore boating has been up and down with some good catches of snapper, the odd king, big mowies and plenty of squid around.
Not everyone is scoring on the snapper department. A lot of boats are finding it hard and as I said in the last issue you have to move around in the summer months. You can get them in close in 40m or out beyond 60m. Look around for them. As you do this you could also bump into a floor full of flathead which is always a nice meal. And if you are trolling from place to place there is always that chance of a kingie.
Kingie’s are not quite holding off here. But big schools have been swimming through and blacking out the odd sounder. Jervis Bay has been holding some nice fish and anglers have been having some fun on the surface with them also. Montague Island is on and has its off days as it does. But its holding fish and they are mostly small at this stage. The squid around the Bay have been plentiful. Great bait and great dinner if you lucked out on the snapper.
A little further offshore we saw the Dolphin fish come out to party in Spring but there is no sign of them during the early stages of summer but I expect them to start showing up soon and hoarding the FAD east of Burrewarra Point. What seems to be more of a possibility at the FAD right now is black marlin. We had a nice little run of blacks last year compared to previous and this summer is already looking better. A couple of boats have caught some around the FAD and blacks have been spotted swimming around boats in the snapper grounds. One of the most feisty fish you could hook on to this summer.
Further offshore and just inside the shelf is marlin. They have come on quite well and a lot of boats looking for these majestic creatures have had several hook ups or landed some already. The season is looking to be a good one. We spoke about switch baiting last issue and how it was the most successful way to hook up and stay connected. This is because you have managed to get a circle hook pinned into the corner of the marlin’s mouth.
How do we do this? Well first of all you will need to run lures without hooks. Because this can be a tricky process I would suggest running two medium sized lures and no more to keep things simple. I find 9 ½ inch Moldcrafts being my favourite. They are big soft things with soft heads and I find marlin love chasing them down and playing with them. There has been occasions when I see a marlin hit a hard headed lure or a lure with a hook in it and then pulls some drag and swims off never to be seen again. It also happens with softheaded lures but I have seen it more with hard heads and hooks and I can’t but think maybe it is un-natural enough to shy marlin off. So I use softheaded Moldcrafts and even if I’m wrong I’m fishing with confidence and sometimes that is what it takes to get fish and enjoy your fishing.
Added to the mix is a teaser. Just two good sized Moldcrafts and the boat is sometimes enough to raise a fish. But again I’m more confident having more commotion out the back and I think it can get you more attention from nearby marlin. I like to run a strip of plastic squid with a bird and or glitter teaser floats. There’s quite a few different set ups as long as there is a party out the back to raise fish it doesn’t matter too much.
The next thing is to have skip baits ready to go. These are large sized slimey mackerel, small striped tuna, small bonito, small salmon even some people have even skipped maori wrasse. One of the biggest blue marlin caught out off Bermagui was on a maori wrasse skip bait.
To rig up a skip bait its best to see it then to read it, so go and find it on YouTube and find the simplest technique that suits you. Now once you raise a fish the first thing to do is have your crew on the same page and working together on the boat with allocated tasks so people aren’t running around head butting each other when a fish is up and people are excited.
One member can bring the teaser in and then another is on the lures ready to whind in. Once the teaser is in bring in the lure or bring it close to the boat and have it ready to put back out if the fish needs teasing up some more. The ideal situation is to have the fish interested in one of the lures and a crew member already dropping back a rig skip bait on tackle that is going to cope with a 60 to 120 kilo fish.
Once the skip bait is back towards the lure the fish is chasing start to pull it in and have that skip bait on the nose of the fish. Once the fish takes the skip bait, let the fish have it so the bait can get inside the marlin. When you think the marlin has downed it then put the reels drag into action and let the circle hook do its work and come up, around and lodge into the corner of the mouth of the marlin for a definite hook set. Then hang on!
This sounds relatively simple but a lot can go wrong and marlin can be up and gone and back and looking around the back of the boat. So there is a lot of feel to it as well. It’s your job to keep the fish up and try and keep its focus directed at one lure and then onto the skip bait. Then there is the timing to set the hook. Practice will make better and experience is paramount.
It’s a case of starting the technique and fine tuning it and you’ll get better, smoother and increase catch rates. You won’t always catch every fish you raise, but you’ll catch a whole lot more than on trolling hooked lures!!!
Once you are confident with switching you can confidently switch with live bait as well. So basically that’s it. Keep it simple, everybody onboard has to be clear with their tasks and then stick with it and hone your skills. Then you will probably develop your own way or what suits your boat. The fish are out there this summer. Get out and enjoy it!
By Anthony Stokman