A big pulse of warm water pushing down the south coast, bringing huge schools of bait fish, has resulted in a huge surge in game fishing in the past week.
Marlin have been especially active, taking lures and live and dead baits, mostly wide offshore beyond the 100 fathom line. Last weekend a competition staged at Batemans Bay saw 95 fish, mostly striped and black marlin, tagged and released in just two days. Veteran anglers say it is the best run of billfish they have seen for years.
Plenty of sharks, including makos, blues, hammerheads, bronze whalers and tigers, also have been sighted.
Offshore anglers worked hard for a feed of flathead this week but caught some nice snapper, morwong and gummy sharks. The best fishing was in early morning.
Top baits for the snapper included pilchards, carp from Lake Burley Griffin and large king prawns. The best snapper were taken on lighter gear, while fluorocarbon leaders were useful.
Kingfish were patchy, with some nice fish at Montague Island and The Banks on knife jigs and live baits in the early morning. Heavy boat traffic at Montague put fish down to the deeper layers during the day but some schools resurfaced late in the afternoon and fishers had fun trying to stop the fish on 6kg and 10kg tippet. The best fish landed on fly weighed 8kg and took nearly an hour to land.
Beaches bringing fish
Beach fishing was productive right along the coast, with good reports of salmon, bream and whiting on lures, pilchards, prawns and beach worms. Best fishing was during the run-in tide, with the salmon out wide and the bream and whiting mostly close inshore. One angler fishing Tuross Beach was delighted with his catch of six salmon and an 8kg mulloway on bait.
Holidaying anglers are still enjoying some good estuary fishing. Most have been able to catch enough bream and flathead for a feed and more specialised anglers have done well with whiting and blackfish.
Flathead have been relatively easy to find on soft plastics in Wallaga, Wagonga, Tuross and Durras, but many of them are just under the 36cm legal minimum size and should be returned immediately.
Some of the whiting this year are of spectacular size. One fish measuring nearly 50cm was caught in the mouth of Tuross on a beach worm bait.
Falling water affects Burrinjuck
Falling water level in the reservoir has put some of the fish off the bite but some anglers have still done well. The water has dropped to 58 per cent capacity, but good temperature and visibility means there is still a chance of a good fish on bait or lure. One angler caught 18 golden perch on worms near the Slaughter Yards and others were taken around flooded trees on lure and bait.
Vale John Dunphy
We farewelled a friend and colleague of many years last week when John Dunphy died aged 72 in Japan, where he was being treated for cancer. The long-term head of Shimano Australia until his retirement last year, John was a dominant figure in the international and Australian fishing tackle industry. The NSW government has proposed constructing an artificial reef in his memory at Port Botany. He will be missed.