The bass are well and truly on, and it doesn't matter where you're at – it's a bass fest.
For the past 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 until 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 become 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 bellies or tails. You could throw a half-eaten sausage with a hook in it and jag one.
Downstream, the Nelligen area has seemed a bit quiet compared to last year. 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 four inch plastics will get you a PB flattie and the new four inch Nemesis from Berkley in Gulp and Powerbait have been flathead candy, tempting big bream as well.
Massive whiting are being caught on the beaches. On the sand flats, any surface lure works so long as you're fishing the last two hours of the run out.
The estuary has been turning on a great mulloway show for the past few months and it's expected to continue.
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 snapper. A lot of boats are finding it hard and you have to move around in the summer months. You can get them in close in 40m or out beyond 60m.
If you are trolling from place to place, there is always that chance of a kingie. 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. 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. 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 onto 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. Switch baiting is 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. Nine and a half inch Moldcrafts are 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 pull some drag and swim off, never to be seen again. It also happens with soft-headed lures but I have seen it more with hard heads and hooks. I can't but think maybe it is unnatural enough to shy marlin off. So I use soft-headed Moldcrafts. Even if I'm wrong I'm fishing with confidence, and sometimes that is what it takes to get fish and enjoy your fishing.