The science is in - fish don't feel pain. Anglers resume your pastime. Animal-rights activists retract the propaganda.
Reversing the previous popular view that fish do feel pain, a team of seven scientists conducted extensive research to determine if the nociceptor responsible for pain in humans does they same thing in fish.
The first discovery was that there were very few nociceptors in fish mouths. But it was also found that the fish brain does not contain the highly developed neocortex needed to feel pain in the first place.
The conclusion reached by Professor James Rose from the University of Wyoming in the US, and published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, was that fish did not experience conscious feelings or pain when hooked.
Rather, fish demonstrate an unconscious reaction to being hooked. The new research also referred to another study that showed fish that were caught with a hook and then released resumed feeding and normal activity immediately or within minutes.
Certainly, I'll never forget the small wrasse I caught at The Spit, which was hooked deep, inverted part of its stomach, but was feeding in my saltwater tank that same day.
So the whole fish-feel-pain issue has reached its conclusion. That is not to say fish welfare doesn't matter, but the findings do support the view that angling isn't a cruel practice.
The greatest sports fish of all, the black marlin, has arrived. Small black about 20 kilograms are cruising within cooee off the coast.
Try places such as Broken Bay Wide, Esmeralda, Long Reef and straight off North Head to inside The 12 Mile. Even the skipper of the Palm Beach ferry said he spotted a free-jumping marlin as he crossed Broken Bay on Friday.
Another species making waves is kingfish. Forget those summertime rats, there are some seriously solid metre-plus specimens being taken in Sydney Harbour and Pittwater.
A few jewfish are mixed in with them. Terrigal skipper Scott Thorrington says reef fishing is firing, with snapper to 6kg and oodles of morwong. Kingfish are quiet on the local reefs, but marlin are being sighted.
Two small black were caught in just 20 metres of water off Whale Beach. Sharks are about in big numbers, too. Hammerheads and makos are cruising behind the beaches and headlands, where mackerel tuna, bonito and frigate mackerel have arrived.
Narrabeen Bait says the beaches have been good for whiting to 40cm on live worms and jewfish to 10kg last week. The local lake yielded flathead to 76cm.
Sydney Harbour has big kingfish in the lower reaches, plus flathead on the spin.