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Stay in or go out? Kayaking for big bass in Bellingen S  portsman Heritage 251 with twin Yamaha 200hp M  easuring success in the yak



Features Urban bream tips • Summertime golden tactics • Back to the beach •

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From the Editor’s Desk... You don’t have to be a tournament angler to appreciate what Australian bass angler, Carl Jocumsen, achieved on the final event of the American Bassmaster Elite Series last month. I reckon all of Australia knows by now. Carl won USD $100,000 and secured his very first top-level tournament win over there. He’s become an overnight sensation after a lifetime of honing his skills and nine years of hard work in the USA, learning the habits of a fish species that we don’t have in this country. Frankly, his achievement is bordering on ludicrous. Fishing against a seasoned field of full-time professional anglers, Carl has climbed to the top thanks to a combination of sheer determination and his refusal to give up. Tournament fishing in the US is demanding and expensive – there are high

entry fees, a lot of travel and no guaranteed income – so it hasn’t been an easy journey for Carl. God knows how awful the years must have been living out of his truck and cheap motels, trying to scrape the money together to learn his craft. I reckon nearly all of us would have given up after a tough couple of years. Imagine the stress and loneliness on the road, getting beaten down time after time. All this with no friends or family within 20 hours flying time… it was a hard road. If any of you saw the

replays of Carl catching his last fish, you could see the emotions coming out. The tears washing away the stresses that he’d endured over that time. I challenge any angler or sports lover to dismiss the moment as not profound. I watched it unfold live at 2am and was shedding tears with him, and I’m proud to admit that. We met Carl as a teenage angler in 2000. His first ABT cheque was a $500 win for Big Bass at a BASS Electric event at Lake Moogerah. And we love that he has now taken his passion the highest level

possible on the planet. At the time of writing, Carl is getting married to his American fiancée, Kayla. He’s now living the dream – he’s well funded for the next season and is sharing the journey with his life partner. Congratulations on your success, Carl, and we know that it’s built on strong foundations. If you’d like to follow Carl’s progress, check out www.carljocumsen. com. You can also buy a supporter jersey at wp.fishingmonthly.com.au.

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Anthony Strati shows off a lurecrunching bream from Sydney Harbour.




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Urban breamin’ – conquer the concrete jungle SYDNEY

Anthony Strati

With so many of us living in built-up areas these days, we’re presented

of anglers looking for the same good-sized specimens you’re after. GETTING STARTED If you live in an urban or inner city area and expect to hit the water and nail a big

the ever-reliable advice from old mate on the boat ramp, there is no better time to soak up all the different types of information regarding different fishing techniques and tackle for bream, which

Urban bream fishing is not without its challenges. These fish will use every trick in the book to win their freedom.

This big winter bruiser was hooked just enough to be dragged out from the pylons, thanks to some quick thinking and intelligent rod angling by Brett Habener. with new challenges when trying to fish. Not only are there environmental pressures like re-claimed land and water pollution issues, you also have to deal with huge numbers

fish two seconds in, you had better do the work before you get out there. Research and repetition is key. With the abundance of YouTube videos, magazine articles, forum threads and

Like the pearly gates of heaven! Getting your lure as deep as you can under the boat will have you in the right spot for bream mayhem.

are many anglers’ first fishing experience. Only a few years ago I was a novice to bream fishing in built-up areas, but nowadays I really enjoy it, and I like to share what I have picked up along the way and what has worked for me. Most of the time it’s good to keep your bream fishing techniques fairly simple, but you also need to be prepared for those tough days when you might have to lean on something you’ve seen a mate do or picked up from tournament pros. Everyone has their own style and theories of what works, and this is one of the things that makes fishing so enjoyable. Trying out new techniques and seeing success is always rewarding.

WHERE TO LOOK I live right on the Parramatta River, and when I want to escape the busy rat race of Sydney city, it’s easy to take the boat and go for a bream flick around the Parramatta River and Sydney Harbour. Growing up I was a predominantly a freshwater native fishing enthusiast, so it was enjoyable for me to take on the new challenge of urban bream, which are sometimes finicky and resilient fish. These bream have often seen every type of lure before, and will take some convincing before they make a strike. When you’re urban fishing for bream (or other estuarine species), there is always something new to learn or perhaps even a new way to approach a spot that might not have lived up to your expectations on the first attempt. Just because a spot is productive for another angler, doesn’t mean you’ll easily catch fish there. It’s the little things anglers do differently that could turn an apparently fishless spot into your newest ‘spot x’. Sometimes I have learnt more from fishless sessions than I have on days when

I’ve had a livewell full of sizable fish. Although both these situations have made me a better angler, it’s turning a shutdown bite

rock walls and wharfs. This is great because you can always switch it up and try something new, and it also gives you lots of options

Any bream over 40cm is a prized catch, but when you’ve wrangled it out of 50-year-old wooden structure you value it even more! into a success that is a truly rewarding experience. Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River are absolutely stacked with bream and are very enjoyable to fish. This system is completely structure dominated, with artificial and natural structure ranging from pontoons to moored boats, mangroves, bridge pylons,

if there’s a crowd or the weather turns foul and you have to look for cover. TECHNIQUES Anyone who has been on my boat knows that I can’t go past throwing lightlyweighted plastics. ZMan or Prolure Grubs are my go-to, either in the bloodworm or motor oil colours on a 1/20 - 1/12oz jighead with a no. 1 light gauge hook.


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Sydney is home to some very old artificial structures that have been holding bream for decades.

Bream Throwing plastics into vertical structure is a favourite approach for bream anglers everywhere, and there’s lots of structure like that in urban areas these days. Nothing gets the heart racing for light line fishers

few if you want to play with the big boys! The action and delivery of the lure can change from cast to cast, and on any day you should try a multitude of approaches until something works and you can figure out

Regardless of the time of year though, it’s important to adjust to variables such as the weather, tide and current. You can also do research on which spots turn on in different conditions. Being versatile like this is key to

There’s a lot of potential in this shot – old timber, early morning and hungry bream ready to steal your lures. like being connected to a brute deep in structure with your rod bent to the cork, and thinking, “Am I going to land this?” If we’re being honest, you’ll probably lose more of those battles than you’ll win. Still, there’s no glory in owning lures, and you have to be willing to donate a

a pattern. This is particularly important in winter, when the fish aren’t as keen to bite. In winter I slow my lure action right down and work on adapting my approach to the situation, and I have found this to work very well. As the weather warms up, I will adjust my fishing style accordingly.

being a successful angler; it’s the difference between getting a livewell full of fish or the dreaded donut. HOW LONG SHOULD I WAIT? If you’ve seen underwater footage of bream you’ll often notice that the bigger, smarter fish hang around at the bottom of the

schools. For that reason, you want to keep your plastic hard on the bottom if you want to dodge the undersize models and catch the better quality fish. It’s not unusual for me to let my plastic or crab imitation sit on the bottom for 10-20 seconds before I even start to work it off the bottom. Most of the hook-ups come during the long pause on the bottom where the tail on the grub is doing its thing or just as I’ve given it a twitch off the bottom. One of the biggest bream I’ve ever caught in Sydney Harbour was when I cast, let my plastic sink and realised I had to tie my shoe while the plastic was on its way to the bottom. By the time I had pulled tight on the bow, the rod was buckled and I was on! No fancy technique, just let the lure sink and sit naturally. It was enough to bring big blue-nose bream undone. Maybe I should pay less attention more often! TIMES AND TIDES Some of my favourite spots work better on the run-in and some work better on the run-out tide – it’s all about learning the ground you’re fishing. The next time you go fishing the flats for bream, fish on a very calm day with no wind and then try the same

Cranking around broken rock areas between housing estates can provide awesome results. Look for slack water areas and get your lure in there. This fish took a Jackall Chubby. spot with some wind. Wind on the flats can really turn the bite on, and long casts across the wind on the flats can produce solid fish. I usually run a shallow crank for flats fishing, or a dark coloured plastic if there is a lot of weed. Fishing an area with zero wind is particularly difficult if you’re trying to tempt bream on surface lures. Even the slightest breeze can create enough ripple to disguise your lure and convince the fish that it’s a fleeing prawn with a ‘Hi, my

name is Dinner’ sticker on it. On those times where a small amount of rain has fallen the night before a planned trip, I have had more success. My theory is that the water pushing through drains that lead into the river and harbour systems brings a change to the bream’s diet. Swapping from my normal grub style lure to a creature bait can be the difference between a donut and a photo that makes me Instafamous for a day! To page 10



Bream From page 9

TYPES OF STRUCTURE TO LOOK FOR Approaching any of the many bridges in the river is a solid winner. The current

length in the rod also makes it less likely that you’ll pull those small hooks from the fish’s mouths. You can also fish pylons with a crankbait, using the

and Pro Lure crankbaits. My favourite kinds of structure to target with them are rocky edges and moored boats. If the tide is low, I generally flick around moored boats. I look for the boats closest to current zones, and most of the time this is the boats on the outside of the bunch. I throw crankbaits long past the moored block

vertical structure within the Parramatta River and Harbour can also produce solid fish. I approach these spots when the tide is rising because I find the bream will be looking for food such as crabs and small baitfish. The system is boat traffic heavy but this can sometimes work in your favour, because the boat wakes can lift up debris

Cranka Crabs and moored boats go together like salt and pepper. the structure will be ready and waiting to pounce on an easy meal. I’ve had good success in these situations. When it comes to throwing Cranka Crabs or

Lure presentation can be the difference between a quiet day out and one you’ll be talking about for years to come. pushes the bait against and past the pylons where bream are sitting just out of the current, waiting for an easy meal. The best approach is to punch a cast past the pylon and work the plastic with the current and as close to the structure as you possibly can. Personally, whether out of a boat or a kayak, I find using a rod just over 7ft is my go-to for this application because it’s easier to guide the lure right along the pylon from my position, which keeps the lure in the strike zone for longer. The extra

same approach of fishing right up close and along the structure. Crankbaits are an absolute staple in my tackle selection for chasing bream around the city. If you’re new to targeting bream on crankbaits, a long cast with a simple slow roll retrieve is all you need to get started. LURES AND WHEN TO USE THEM The lures I enjoy using the most, and which absolutely dominate bream fishing, are the 2.5” ZMan Grub, the world famous Cranka Crab (heavy model)

crankbaits for bream, a lot of people are dispensing with braid and leader in favour of straight-through fluorocarbon. I have started experimenting with it myself,

A well presented curly tail grub was the undoing of David Phan’s adversary. and position the tip of my rod so I can get the lure right up alongside the boat hull. Throwing crankbaits around rocky edges or

or crabs from the rocks or vertical structure. Some of the resident bream will swim over to investigate, and others that are hiding around

Make sure your trebles are nice and sharp. You’d hate to miss a big girl because your hooks weren’t up to scratch.

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Bream and I’m finding that the extra stretch and low visibility of fluorocarbon is highly useful. As you’d expect, braid is still the better option for soft plastics to give them the action they need.

Regardless of which set-up you’re using, it’s important to use good quality line/leader. There have been times when my leader has gotten wrapped around a pylon and still been going

strong afterwards. If you spend the extra bucks before you go out, you’ll come home with a smile on your face. GEARING UP I use Daiwa J-Braid Grand in 6lb for my braid set-ups, with 4lb Daiwa J Thread FC leader. I usually use one rod length of leader as a minimum. If the bite has really slowed down on that day, I run 2-3 rod lengths of leader to really try to get those bites happening.

When it comes to rods, reels and line, at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference. Experiment and see what works for you. SCENT Sometimes you need to pull out all the stops to have an enjoyable day on the water in the competitive urban jungle. If you find yourself struggling when the bite is slower than it normally would be, or even

Silence is golden. Use natural current as much as you can, and only use your electric motor to correct the drift when you have to. Pre-spawn fish will fight each other for your lure if you get it in the right spot.

Finesse tactics at work – light lines, small jigheads and plenty of patience.

Reels in the 2000-2500 size are perfect for bream fishing, and I use a TD Sol III 2000 LT. It’s paired with a 7’2”, 2-5kg rod which gives me plenty of casting distance, has plenty of low-end power and is also light enough in the tip that I’m not pulling hooks and losing fish.

completely shut down, try rubbing some scent on your lure. It might just be the final trigger they need to latch on. During bream spawning season when their pheromones are through the roof, I have found that scents can make a real difference. If

you’re fishing low and slow, the fish will have time to come right up and sniff the lure, and will maybe even pick it up without properly swallowing it. A liberal amount of scent can be the silent salesman you need when the going gets tough. THAT’S A WRAP Bream fishing is like any craft – the more time you spend doing it, the better you


will become. Keep a log of tides, wind, weather and so forth on your fishing trips to refer to in future. A fishing log gives you the knowledge to make the most of the system you’re fishing. If you see me on the water come and say g’day! I’ll always be happy to share even more info with you, and hopefully get you onto some urban monsters.




The fish are just getting bigger THE HAWKESBURY

Dan Selby dan@sydneysportfishing.com.au

Recent coastal rainfall of around 300mm in two separate events at the

time, and the purple flowering jacaranda trees usually indicate some great flathead fishing. Some croc-sized dusky flathead are usually encountered this month as they prepare for their

5-7” long with bulky profiles a favourite. Live yakkas, tailor and mullet make great live baits and you have an added bonus of a mulloway or two. Don’t be surprised if you get the odd bigger flatty on a well-

Spring is a great time for bigger Hawkesbury mulloway using lures. This prime specimen couldn’t resist a Prolure 105 Fishtail hopped down a boulder-strewn bank. end of September has improved the fishing in the lower reaches. It couldn’t come at a better

breeding. Both bait and lure anglers are in with a chance, with larger soft plastics and vibes around

presented butterflied or slab bait either. Bream have been biting well, with a few bigger fish

Live baiting is a relaxing and often more successful way of encountering the bigger mulloway the Hawkesbury has to offer.

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taking 4-5” mulloway lures as the water temperature started to creep up in early October. Bait anglers will see good results on fresh, frozen or preferably live Hawkesbury school prawns. Finding nice back eddies along one of the rock walls and anchoring within casting range will allow you to feed a berley trail and present lightly-weighted baits into a slower moving section of water which is sure to catch a few nice bream. Give each spot 30 minutes or so to let the berley take effect before trying other likely spots if there’s no action.

As the inshore waters warm, my attention starts to turn to the hard-fighting yellowtail kingfish. They will start to filter into the harbours and bays and take up residence on wrecks, points and reefs throughout Pittwater and Cowan Creek. Arrow squid and southern calamari are favourite baits to get a hook-up, and a close second to squid is a live yakka or slimy mackerel. The headlands will be holding good fish before they start to filter in, so it may pay to have a quick troll with a downrigger or sound around before committing to the more crowded inshore hotspots. Other kingfish options are surface feeding fish, which can be found amongst diving gulls and terns. They are mostly rat kings mixed in with salmon, tailor and sometimes bonito, but every now and then some absolute brute kings can test your light casting tackle out. I like to use small metal slugs retro-fitted with a single lure hook and 3” soft plastic stickbaits rigged on a jighead. These presentations are deadly on these often fussy feeders. A few keen anglers have already set some pots out for mud crabs, but I haven’t heard any reports of success yet. This should change this month, with both blue swimmer and mud crabs becoming active as the water temperature moves up over 20°C. Fresh fish frames from a previous trip are one of the best baits. Try to pick areas of less current to set your pots, especially witches’ hats, preferably out of main traffic areas so they don’t get run over and tangled in other boaters’ props. Mulloway will be biting well this month, with well-presented lures and live baits getting the runs. Areas around Broken Bay such as Juno Point, Middle Ground, Flint and Steel, Gunya and Eleanors Bluff will all produce good fish for those prepared to put the time in with a spread of live and dead baits. Should it remain dry, plenty of fish will be encountered further upstream from Spencer to Wisemans Ferry, where the ravenous school mulloway love to feast on school prawns, tailor, juvenile catfish and herring. Soft plastic lures that represent these common bait items are very successful in the upper brackish reaches. There was a small amount of rain around the Windsor area, perhaps just enough to encourage some bass to head up the rapids at Yarramundi to their summer haunts. Seeing

Anglers should handle bigger flathead with care before releasing them to continue spawning more tasty flathead for the future. Here a rag was used instead of lip grips, as lip grips can damage the jaw. how dry it was leading into winter I’m sure not many ventured down to the salt to spawn this season, so there will likely be good populations in some of the

sweetwater creeks still. I’m hanging out for the first sounds of cicadas, where I’ll be tying on my favourite surface plug and heading to the headwaters!

Bream will be moving shallower and hunting in the intertidal zone for a feed. Note how close the vessel is to the bank.

Harbour fishing hitting its straps SYDNEY

Paul O’Hagan

Sydney Harbour fishing cannot get any better, with a range of quality fish on offer as far up as the Roseville Bridge.

at the mouth of the harbour, giving a lot of anglers the chance of throwing some small metals and stickbaits on light tackle. Fishing in and around North Harbour, there have been some good flathead and bream taken while fishing

areas, as there are days that they will not take lures and the only way to pick up a fish is to put a live bait out on a float. Beach fishing has not changed much over the last while, with some of the deeper beaches like Narrabeen and Curl Curl giving up some good bream and salmon for those fishing with mullet strips and pilchards in the evening and in the early morning. Palm Beach and Manly have been good for whiting in the morning for those using fresh or frozen worms. Catching live worms from the beach can be a lot of fun and a good way to introduce young anglers to the art of picking up fresh bait.

recently had a good drop of rain and has brought the fish into a bit of a feeding frenzy, with a lot of goodsized flathead being taken on soft plastics and small diving minnows. The best of the fish are being taken as the sun goes down at the back of the lake among the weed beds. In front of the caravan park, there is a band of regular anglers picking up plenty of good luderick in the deeper water and for those working the sand flats there are some nice whiting on offer. For the anglers fishing the reefs there have been some great results, with good quality snapper being taken on plastics and floating baits. While creating a good berley

Rod Finlay caught this solid yellowfin tuna, but it was a team effort to land it. Without a break, kingfish have exceeded all expectations and have been available in good numbers all year, with a lot of fish topping the 1m mark. For a lot of anglers and charter operators, trolling live yellowtail, squid or slimy mackerel on downriggers has been one of the most successful ways of getting into these fish, but for others free lining garfish with a small pink skirt on the nose has been working very well. With the harbour full of schools of baitfish, there have been a lot of salmon and tailor working on the surface. Schools of striped tuna have recently appeared

with soft plastics and shallow divers, with most of the fish being taken in the early morning on a rising tide. Fishing from the rock ledges inside the harbour, drummer and luderick are in good numbers for those anglers fishing with weed and bread in a good berley trail. As we move out of the harbour and along North Head around to Blue Fish Point, there is always the opportunity of picking up a feed of fish, with all manner of pelagics working in close to shore. From the shore, it is always a good idea to catch some live bait before making your way into some of these

Arti Johnson hoists up a quality harbour mulloway.

Todd Rathgeber caught and tagged this lovely Sydney kingfish. The headland at Long Reef has been very productive for a lot of anglers, with some very good snapper being taken along with a lot of pan-sized ones. Along with snapper, there have been some good battles between anglers and large angry kingfish that take a lot of effort to land and a bit of luck as well. Narrabeen Lake has

trail of pilchards, it’s usually not long before the kings pick up the trail. Further out around the peak and the 12-Mile Reef, the kings have been in good numbers and are being taken mostly by those anglers using large jigs. Jigging around these reefs is a very successful way to get into a kingfish or two but it comes with

a downside, with a lot of anglers reporting that the leatherjackets are in good numbers and are snipping their way through rigs. Yellowfin tuna have been around Sydney for a while now, but with the bad weather and sea conditions the only fish that have been taken have been well beyond the shelf and closer to Heatons. They’re certainly not within range of a lot of the smaller trailer boats. Just recently there has been some good weather and reports of solid yellowfin being very active around Sydney, with fish ranging from 20-26kg. These fish have been taken by some of

the smaller boats, as the fish seem to be travelling along the shelf and are showing up on the surface, chasing baits and giving anglers the opportunity of throwing some large stickbaits at them. As we move through spring, the water temperature will start to warm up and hopefully we should see a bit more activity and maybe an early run of striped marlin. If the striped marlin show up it will make up for last year’s effort, as we missed the fish and it was a very disappointing season for all of our game boats along Sydney. As always, stay safe and enjoy the fishing.

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Productive fishing to be had in the evenings SYD ROCK & BEACH

Alex Bellissimo alex@bellissimocharters.com.au

This is the time of year we’ve been longing for, and the wait is over! All of the species that we really like to fish for are well on the chew. Off the beaches the whiting, bream and tailor increasing in numbers, and mulloway have become a

snapper are getting close to being one of my favourites. I love wash fishing for snapper, because you occasionally get to hook a sizeable fish well over 2kg and they are great sport on 6-8kg tackle. They are a challenge to play out around harsh rock structure, and you often catch other species like bream, trevally, kingfish and more. The run of snapper of late has been great. Fish

for bait should be added to your berley as well. If you want to try something different, try catching a snapper on a lure. I have had good success on Zerek Fish Trap soft vibes in FB (fat betty) and BG (barred grunter), and on the 70mm Live Flash Minnow Wriggly. If trevally are in the berley you have a fair chance of catching them on the Wriggly, or a similar paddle-tail

Thres Lim’s 103cm mulloway, caught on a butterflied yellowtail. It was a very timid fish, which shows the importance of treating mulloway bites with caution. very worthwhile target. Off the rocks the snapper are on, the bream are becoming more plentiful, and luderick and pigs are in good numbers. On top of that, some cracker kingfish and other pelagics can be caught this month. ROCK FISHING A client asked me recently what my favourite species was. I replied that all species have a special place in my heart. I have had great experiences and memories with all of them, although

from 33-47cm have been fairly common, and I have heard reports of fish to 56cm (around that 2.5kg). Using berley will maximise your chances, and your berley mix it can be as basic as cubes of pilchard and wet mushy bread. If you’re using a variety of baits like squid and prawns, try adding some to the mix. Chop them up into small pieces and mash them up in the berley mix to have more variety in your berley. It’s true what they say – whatever you’re using

Deep Gujral with a bag of whiting, bream and dart caught in the evening, after the swimmers and surfers had gone home. A lot of these fish were caught in shallow water, less than 1m. 14


plastic. To cast your plastic further, you can add a small ball sinker, swivel, and 30cm of 8kg fluorocarbon leader, with your plastic rigged on a lightweight worm hook. This rig allows you to sink the plastic down to where you need it, right in that sudsy white water that has too much current to drift. And because the ball sinker is off the plastic, the presentation is more natural and lifelike. A run of kings are marauding the headlands, with fish ranging from undersized rats to some real brutes. A 125cm fish (about 14kg) was caught on a Williamson Pop Pro. I also use this popper, in green and blue colours, with reasonable results. The 130mm model is a sizeable popper that will catch most size fish. I use the 180mm version if I’m after big fish. Another option is live baiting with yellowtail. They can be caught on site, but you will have to get there early. A sabiki jig works well, and if you like you can add a little sliver of pilchard fillet on some of the hooks, or a small piece of prawn. You should also use berley to help congregate the fish in the area you’re fishing. To keep your yellowtail healthy, bring an aerator and put the fish straight into a bucket as you’re catching them. You’ll want a 10-15L bucket with at least 15cm of cool saltwater in it. Another reliable way to catch kingies is with ganged sea gars. This method is used by a lot of anglers nowadays, and it works a treat. In fact,

if you were to have only one method, sea gars would be one of my favourites. Fishing for kings off the ocean rocks is normally done from the deeper water rock platforms with a depth of 6m+. Although you can catch kings in shallower locations, they do prefer the deeper water. Often when you fish these ledges you will be fishing up to several metres off the water, and if you aren’t able to swim your kingy to a low shore you’ll have to lift it out of the water – and this can be disastrous if the king is a large one. You can snap your line and/ or rod if you attempt to lift a sizable king, especially with the heavy leader you may be using on the day. A two-piece aluminium gaff around 4m+ is a great asset when you’re rock fishing for kings, and you should take it on every kingfish trip so you will have no regrets. A good spot to try is Bluefish Headland at Manly, where there is a vertical climb down a rope of approximately 6m. It’s a very open headland so it’s vulnerable to swell from the north, east and south – so great care must be taken! Between south Curl Curl and Freshwater Headland you can fish the north face for snapper and kings. At Mona Vale, the ledge in front of the swimming pool is a reasonable spot for distance casting and wash fishing for snapper.

John Halford’s cracker red caught while wash fishing. This fish took 30-40m of line on the first run. There were some tense moments when it was over a submerged ledge, but John skilfully extracted the fish and washed it up. All of this can make fishing quite difficult, especially during the school holiday period. Sounds off-putting? Don’t be deterred! You just need some back-up beaches to fall back on, or you can just fish at night. Plenty of beach anglers prefer fishing at night, targeting the elusive beach mulloway. These anglers often overlook other species such as bream and whiting – the usual targets for daytime anglers – but you can actually fish for these species in the evenings or at first light. You’ll be surprised of the results. The bream and whiting can often be more

yellowtail and mullet. If you are planning a beach trip in the evening, there are two things you need to do beforehand. First, check for likely gutters on at least two beaches. That way, if the wind and swell changes and makes it quite difficult to fish your first beach, you have a fallback option, and you know where the gutters are after dark. The second thing to do is check for kelp. It’s a nightmare fishing on the beach and sensing the added weight of that wretched drifting kelp on your line. One of the best ways to check for kelp is to stand on a higher vantage point, like the

Chris Nesci with a pair of snapper caught at dusk. That low light period off the rocks can be the best time. If you’re fishing at dusk you should fish the flatter seas. South Whale and North Whale headlands are good for snapper and luderick, as well as kingfish and other pelagics. BEACH FISHING When you fish any of the Sydney beaches during the day you’ll probably face a range of issues due to all the human traffic. Surfers are often in pole position to catch their left or right hander in the beach gutter you want to fish. It’s also common for swimmers to be out of the surf life saving flagged swimming area, and they will stray into the spot you’re fishing. And when the wind picks up, a lot of beaches have wind and kite surfers.

aggressive, and can be found right in close – sometimes just a couple of metres out on the flatter sea nights. At the moment, bags of bream and whiting are being caught both during the day and in the evening. Whiting up to 38cm and bream of similar size are falling for live beach worms, fresh pipis and pink nippers, if you can put in the effort to pump them. Big salmon of over 3kg are showing up in catches, and tailor numbers are on the increase as well. There are also reports of mulloway to near 10kg, with most fish from 4-7kg. The top baits are fresh squid and live

back of the beach. You will see the darker patches in your chosen gutter or in the back of the gutter. You can then avoid that gutter when you return to the beach, which might be after dark. Beaches worth going to are mid Palm Beach, Newport Beach, North Narrabeen Beach, and Dee Why Beach from the surf club to the pole. Good luck! • For rock and beach guided fishing or tuition in the northern Sydney region, visit www.bellissimocharters. com.au, email alex@ bellissimocharters.com.au or call Alex Bellissimo on 0408 283 616.


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With GoFish Nagambie sporting a guaranteed $500,000 prize pool, Aussie anglers are champing at the bit to take home the big bucks! Anglers of all abilities will head to Nagambie Lakes and the Goulburn River in the first weekend in April to reel in some big fish and win big prizes. Of course, GoFish Nagambie is more than just a fishing competition – it’s a true fishing festival, with a range of attractions for young and old. It’s a gathering place for fishos to get together as a community; for mates, families and like-minded individuals to hang out and have fun. Come and join us in the first weekend in April, and you’ll find out there’s no place you’d rather be!

THE $80k COD RETURNS IN 2020 If you land the single biggest Murray cod caught across the competition, you’ll go home with a massive $80,000 cash in your pocket! Every


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competitor who finishes in the top 10 will also take home a cash prize for their efforts. It all adds up to more prizes for more people, which is what this fantastic competition is all about.

GET IN QUICK – BOATS SOLD OUT IN 2019 Entries will go on sale for the second GoFish Nagambie on 14 November at 9am. The open entry price (age 16 and over) is just $160 for three days of fishing and four days of festivities. And as well as having an amazing experience, you’ll also be in the running for a share of the huge $500,000 prize pool. Junior entries (5 to 16 years) are $50, and there’s plenty for the kids to do at the event.


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Drumming up a decent feed this spring time SYDNEY NORTH

Alex Qasabian

We are well and truly into the swing of spring, with big kingfish being caught

all along the northern beach headlands. Live baiting has been getting most of the bites, with yakkas, squid and slimies the best options. If you like lures, don’t be

afraid to throw poppers and stickbaits, and they will be working best at first and last light. Some of the schooled kingfish will be moving further up the systems

Fishing away from the wash doesn’t necessarily put you out of the drummer action, so long as there is still structure below.

Jay Kim with a healthy black drummer taken fishing out of the boat.


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in Pittwater and the Hawkesbury, feeding on the smaller baitfish, so small metals or stickbaits will be the most effective means of getting a hook-up with these fussy kings.

DRUMMER Drummer from the boat can be an intimidating task, with the angler’s main focus being getting close to the wash zone. This is not always the best area to fish, however. Although

the wash does help to bring them on the chew, we have found that casting back a few metres away from the wash in about 3-6m of water will work. That’s as long as there are some good boulder grounds

underneath. A simple sliding ball sinker rig on a 20lb set-up has proven to be effective for getting the bite recently. Using 20lb gear might seem light for a big pig, but it provides just enough power to turn them around away from the snag while still being light enough to get them to bite your fresh prawn. FLATHEAD AND WHITING This warmer water is going to bring flathead and whiting on the chew. A lot of fun can be had on the flats throughout Pittwater and Narrabeen Lake on the whiting. Small poppers and stickbaits have been deadly on getting hook-ups. A lot of hours have been put in fishing for flathead, and vibes have proven to be a very effective lure choice on these guys.

Kassra with a big kingfish taken off the rocks.


Largest-ever native fish breeding program The NSW Government is embarking on an ambitious plan to create a modern day Noah’s Ark as it kick-starts the State’s largest ever fish breeding program, ahead of what is expected to be a horror summer of fish kills. Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall recently

over 2.5 million native fish each year. “Last summer we saw millions of native fish species perish, and all indicators are this summer is going to be even worse,” Mr Marshall said. “Our native fish such as the iconic Murray cod are precious, and that’s why the NSW Government is getting on the front foot

$10 million Fish Rescue Strategy we’ll now be able to breed around 2.5 million native fish species each year. These fish will grow in a network of hatcheries across the State, and will mean we’re in a position to restock our rivers with millions of native fish when conditions improve. “ Wi t h soaring temperatures and record

A rescued Murray cod is released into a pond at the Narrandera Fisheries Centre. Image courtesy of NSW DPI. inspected the NSW Government’s flagship fish hatchery at Narrandera, where efforts are underway to breed millions of native fish species, including Murray cod. Mr Marshall said more than 100,000 Murray cod had already been bred this season, with additional investment to allow the Government to breed

to protect them ahead of deteriorating conditions this summer. “In the past few weeks the Government has managed to breed more than 100,000 baby Murray cod from just 20 of the species that were rescued from Menindee earlier this year. “Thanks to additional investment as part of the NSW Government’s

low rainfall, we can’t stop mass fish kills, but we can ensure we preserve and protect our native species and save them from an ecological disaster.” As part of its Fish Rescue Strategy, the NSW Government is also undertaking fish rescue and relocation efforts, and deploying aerators to key areas of the State’s river system. – NSW DPI NOVEMBER 2019


Too many November options in Botany Bay! BOTANY BAY

Gary Brown gbrown1@iprimus.com.au

So you’re thinking of going for a fish and you can’t decide what to target and where to go. In this month’s report I will give you a few ideas! Kingfish, tailor and salmon numbers should start to increase as the water warms up and the baitfish schools start to enter the bay. Keep an eye out for feeding birds and slimy mackerel and yellowtail schools. Try trolling the area that I call ‘the horseshoe’ in Yarra Bay with deep diving hardbodied lures that can dive to 2-3m. If the birds are feeding, I would try casting a few small metal lures around 5cm and once they have stopped feeding, I would start working 10-15cm soft plastics along the bottom for flathead. By now the bream numbers will also have increased throughout Botany Bay and the rivers and creeks that lead to it, mainly due to the increase in the prawn activity. That is why I will tend to mainly use peeled Hawkesbury River prawns

A beautifully conditioned dusky flathead that was caught on a vibe while fishing deep just off Towra. on either the running ball sinker down onto the bait or the running sinker down onto the swivel and a long leader of fluorocarbon. If you prefer to use lures, I would dust off those small surface lures and work the shallows, edges of the mangroves and rock bars for bream and flathead. I have a number of different types that I use; the Lucky Craft

Sammy 65 and NW Pencil, Pro Lure SF62 Surface Pencil, the Squidgy Bug and the ZMan 2.5” SlimSwimZ rigged on a TT HWS jighead. Silver trevally should be worth a shot at the end of the third runway, the oil wharf, the drums, Trevally Alley and at the end of the old runway. Bare Island and Henry Head could also be productive. Peeled prawns,

fillets of pilchard, pink nippers and tubeworms are worth a shot. Whether you are fishing from a boat or on the shore, the humble leatherjacket

habitats ranging from deep offshore reefs to inshore bays, rocky foreshores, harbours, rivers, creeks and estuaries. They prefer areas with plenty of cover in the form of rocks, weed, kelp, wharf and bridge pilings, wrecks, cockle and muscle beds, boulders, breakwall and weed beds. Leatherjackets have a very small mouth that is surrounded by a soft tissue of flesh that hides a row of very hard teeth. This is why I use small long shanked hooks (number 8-12) so that they can inhale the small piece of bait and the hook point and barb at the same time. When targeting estuary leatherjackets, I will always use a single hook paternoster rig that has a sinker weight that is heavy enough to put a slight curve in the rod tip. Once I have baited up, I will fold over the bail arm, allowing the sinker to hit the bottom. When the sinker has hit the bottom, I immediately wind

If you can’t buy any worms for bait, you will have to try and get your own and if you don’t know how to get them take the time to watch Scotty Lyons’ video on YouTube. Search for ‘Hook and the cook’ to go to his channel, and then scroll down and you’ll see his beachworm video. The local close offshore reefs and gravel patches would be worth a shot for snapper, morwong, tarwhine, pigfish and leatherjackets. Rock fishers will also start to find that even though the luderick and drummer numbers may start to drop off, bream, tailor, bonito, kingfish, salmon and trevally numbers will start to increase. Either suspend your baits under a small bobby cork or fish as light as the conditions will allow. Coalcliff Point down past Stanwell Park beach is a good place to fish during the month. As it is a low ledge, you will need to keep an eye on the swell conditions.


The Ned Rig with assist hooks does it again on the bream around the pontoons.


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would be one of the easiest fish to catch and clean, and to top it off they’re not bad to eat. Over the years I have the caught six different types of the 36 leatherjackets that can be caught: the brown-striped, chinaman, fan-belled, six spined, toothbrush and the yellow-finned. Leatherjackets are found in a wide variety of

up the slack and allow the sinker to put a slight curve in the rod tip. It is then just a matter of waiting for the leatherjacket to bite and then striking upwards to hook the fish. Off the beach from Maroubra in the north to Stanwell Park in the south, you should give whiting a go with either live beach or tubeworms.

Are you having trouble rigging your baits and having them stay on? If so, I have made a video that may help you. Head to tackletactics. com.au/rigging-guides and check out what type of rigs I use and how I rig different baits. Don’t forget to keep those photos and reports coming in to gbrown1@ iprimus.com.au.

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This little kingfish was the result of a ZMan 3” SlimSwimZ worked in amongst the feeding schools of fish.

Rain flushes out the systems top and work them slowly down the drop-off. You could also try using live poddy mullet for bait.


Gary Brown gbrown1@iprimus.com.au

By now the Port Hacking River should have started to fire up, as the flush of rain that we have been experiencing over the past couple of months will have done wonders to the system. Luderick are still coming in for both land and shorebased anglers. Fresh green weed or cabbage will produce the better catches. Try the southern side of the baths at Lilly Pilly, the northern side of the flats at the entrance to South West Arm and the old Fisheries Point on the run-out tides. On the run-in tide I would try the Ballast Heap, the western end of Jibbon Beach, Cabbage Tree and Windy Point. Make sure that you have a small and steady berley trail going. Flathead will start to move around the Port, and I would dust off those soft plastics, blades and big hardbodied lures and start chucking a few about. Just about any of the drop-offs will start to produce a few fish. At the top of the tide I would cast them up on the

Of late there have been a number of flounder being caught in the Port Hacking on bait, soft plastics and blades worked near the weed beds.




It’s just a matter of catching a few and keeping them alive. I am currently using an Alvey clear plastic trap and

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By now the Chinaman leatherjackets will have started to congregate on some of the close inshore reefs, and two at a time like this is quite common. Jibbon Pont, the Balconies, Little Marley and Garie points are worth a visit for salmon, tailor, bream, trevally, drummer and luderick on a rising and falling tides. Pilchards, garfish and peeled prawns will do the job. Just remember to fish as light

retrieved for winter maintenance and relocated about now. The close reefs off the point at Kurnell, the Balconies, Little Marley and Burning Palms would be worth a shot for trevally, snapper, morwong, kingfish, pigfish, slimy mackerel and




remember to check the NSW Fisheries regulations, as you need to have certain details attached to the bait trap. If you don’t have one, you could try using a clear glass bowl with fly screen over the top or a size 12-14 small hook and bread for bait and berley. As usual, there will be plenty of leatherjackets in the Port Hacking River. Rock walls, drop-offs, reefs, weed beds, wharfs and pontoons are the places to start looking for a feed of leatherjackets. Size 12-14 long-shanked hooks with small pieces of prawn, squid or pilchards are good for bait. Just remember that small is best. If you are going offshore to chase the leatherjackets, I would suggest that you increase your hook size to 1/0-3/0 longshanks and use whole prawns, small strips of squid, pieces of pilchards or pilly tails. The beaches in Bate Bay are starting to produce a few good bags of whiting and bream, with the odd big dart as well. Find the gutters and you will find the fish. Beach and tubeworms seem to be the best baits. If you don’t have any, I would try either small strips of freshly-caught squid or small soft plastics and blades. Blue spot and the odd dusky flathead have been coming in for those drifting the bay with pilchards and

You don’t have to use a heavy outfit in the estuaries to catch a feed of leatherjackets. A 2-3kg outfit will do the job nicely. squid. The back of Shark Island, the breakers off Wanda Beach and inside the heads at Jibbon Point are some great places to try. The John Dunphy Reef is producing kingfish, snapper, morwong, sweep and leatherjackets on a rising tide. You could also try drifting around the edges for flounder, tarwhine and flathead.

as possible, or suspend your baits under a small bobby cork. Offshore will have started to heat up by now and mahimahi, kingfish, amberjack, bonito and marlin should be on the chew. If you are not quite sure where to go, you should check out the NSW Fisheries web page on FADs. They are normally

leatherjackets. On your way to your favourite spot I would run a couple of lures out the back for salmon, tailor and bonito. Skirts and metal lures would be the best lures to troll. Don’t forget to keep sending in those photos and brief reports to gbrown1@ iprimus.com.au and you could see yourself in the magazine!

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A royal welcome for our kings PITTWATER

Peter Le Blang

them as well. These fish aren’t hard to catch or spot when feeding. The best lures

have been your standard metal lures of 10-15g with a medium retrieve required to


The last month has been great fishing wise and the coming month should see it improve even more. Along Pittwater we are catching squid, kingfish, salmon, flathead, flounder and bream just to name a few. These species should be easy to catch in the coming months and should also increase in numbers. Bream are showing up all over Pittwater, with the best area at the moment being on the Pittwater side of West Head and amongst the weed beds in front of Palm Beach. Both of these areas have seen some great captures on both bait and lures. The better baits to use have been the humble prawn or a small strip of fresh fish flesh such as yellowtail. Anchoring and fishing in a berley trail with light gear has seen great fishing, and of course minimal boat noise in the shallow water has been required for success. Tailor have been busting up on the surface at the mouth of Pittwater and there have been salmon amongst

Good eating size flathead such as this one can be caught in the Palm Beach area.

get a hook-up on most casts. Don’t forget to let the odd cast sink to the bottom to tempt some of the other species under the working school. In the deeper water you will have a chance at kingfish, mulloway, flathead and even bream all feeding on the scraps that sink to the bottom from the melee happening above. Squid have been quite easy to catch lately and fingers crossed this continues. All the usual areas have been seeing squid being caught, but it is important to remember to only take a few and not to think that getting a bag limit of 20 is needed for the day. These small squid will be more valuable in the coming weeks when they grow larger and if left alone until then, will only attract more fish. Catching a heap to freeze for your next fishing trip is pretty pointless, especially if you are going to try and tempt mulloway and kingies, which prefer live baits. There is the odd thumping squid still left to be caught as well, and these ones are marked for the dinner table with the heads kept as bait for other species.

Big squid like this one always bring big smiles. The best area by far at the moment is along the weed bed between Barrenjoey and Palm Beach Ferry Wharf. Smaller jigs in the 2.0 size have been the better size and the natural colours are still

working well. An aggressive retrieve with pauses will see you get 3-4 squid pretty quickly if you are fishing the right area. Other areas that are also seeing good squid are West

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Head at the bait grounds, on the ocean side of Barrenjoey Head and the Careel Bay area over the thick weed beds. Kingfish are being caught at different areas of Pittwater and it’s amazing to see them being caught in

Other areas to try are The Supermarket, The Kingfish Highway and along the western side of Pittwater. Keep your eyes on the water for panicking baitfish, as this has been a great way to find where they are feeding.

Another kingfish caught downrigging from The Supermarket. different areas from one day to the next. The numbers of fish haven’t built up yet, but if you want to target them, downrigging is the best way to find them. One of the better areas has been around Scotland Island. Downrigging live small squid and small yellowtail is a sure fire way to find a few hungry fish.

Flathead are being caught along the drop-off between Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach, with the run-out tide the easiest tide to fish. By fishing the run-out tide you can start in the deeper water and the tide will see you dragging your baits up the drop-off into the shallower water. This method is very easy for

adults and kids too, as your sinker will always be puffing up the mud and attracting the attention of fish. If you wish to cast soft plastics, Careel Bay and Mackerel Beach are the better areas to head to. Just remember to cast ahead of your boat for best success, and we have been using the double rip technique with great rewards. For the mulloway fanatics, Flint and Steel, Juno Point and the pressure wave between Juno Point and Elanoras Bluff have seen some good captures. Fresh caught squid, yellowtail or tailor fillets (please make sure the tailor are of legal length) have been the better choices of baits to use. The better time to target these silver ghosts has been the change of the tide. An hour before until an hour after the tide will give you your best chance. If you are able to pick your day, try to get the change of tide around dusk or dawn to give yourself the best chance possible. I hope this report sees you all excited and dusting off your fishing gear to join us on Pittwater or for a charter! • Our Business Harbour & Estuary Fishing Charters is up for sale. If you have always dreamed of fishing to make a living, here is your opportunity. If you want to join us on a charter or are serious about joining the charter industry, give me a call 0410 633 351 so we can discuss details. • Peter Le Blang operates Harbour and Estuary Fishing Charters, phone 02 9999 2574 or 0410 633 351, visit www. estuaryfishingcharters.com.au

Harley Fuller from Coledale broke the plug on his thong fighting his biggest carp on the NSW South Coast while his brother Bede cheered him on. NOVEMBER 2019






Kingfish: reigning in the royal tackle busters When it comes to fish that pull hard, kingfish are right up there with the most brutal line-busting and tackle-destroying thing that swims. While they can grow in excess of 50kg, anything over 10kg is hard work and with anything over 20kg you are in some serious trouble, no matter what gear you’re fishing with. They have a wide distribution. They can be caught by anglers fishing 200m or more of water and at the same time by land-based anglers inside bays and estuaries. Their fighting quality coupled with their willingness to eat anything from live baits to surface lures and jigs, make them an exciting prospect and accessible to practically all saltwater anglers. Perhaps the most challenging environment to catch them in is the shallow reefs in less then 30m of water. In these places they seem to know every little feature of the reef and will beeline straight towards the most gnarly drop-off or bommie

move in. Then, position the boat so your baits will drift back towards likely kingfish territory. Prime examples of areas you should be looking for is places like offshore islands and headlands with shallows bays or coves holding garfish or close by shallow bommie reefs or points holding schools of baitfish. For this style of live baiting I prefer to use a slimy mackerel or yellowtail as bait, as they tend to quickly take the float into the strike zone, more than a squid or garfish would. They also tend to move back and forth slowly, which means they will cover a lot more ground for you. I generally run two rods when fishing this method, one with a bait suspended around 1m under the float and the other around 5m under to cover the water column. The slimy is gently pinned just behind the head and above the lateral line with a single Black Magic KS hook in a 7/0-8/0, depending on bait size. I use 80-100lb fluorocarbon leader to 80lb braid on a 20,000 size reel with a stack of drag over it to have any chance of stopping the larger fish. For

When kings get to this size, it takes serious effort to land them.

As you’re trolling, try to systematically cover the ground you’re fishing and pay close attention to your sounder for schools of baitfish and keep an eye out for bust ups or bird activity. Anywhere that looks like there is a bit of action should be given looping and zig-zagging passes through until you a satisfied the area has been sufficiently worked. With both of the above methods, it can often pay to have a couple of casting spin rods rigged and ready with a stickbait or popper. You never know when or where that big bust up will happen, and sometimes it can be right next to the boat or

gives you a good chance of finding the fish. It also gives you the ability to use the boat as an aid to try drag a fish away from structure, or to drive on top of it to cut the line angle down, limiting the chance of a bust off. When fishing this way I use the same leader and braid size as previously mentioned, but bridle rig my live baits through the nose, which allows them to swim freely and last much longer while being towed. The KS range is

Even small kings pull like trains!

Once you’re hooked up, the fight is on. in a bid to stream roll you. Without a doubt the most effective method to catch kings, especially the big ones, is live baiting. Depending on where you’re fishing and what you’re using, there are a few different approaches. If you are fishing shallow reefs in 5-10m, an effective technique is to suspend and drift baits under a float and drift them back with the wind or current. Spend a bit of time before you anchor working out what direction your baits are going to 24


this style of fishing, you can’t skimp on gear, as any weakness will quickly be found by a hoodlum king. The KS range of hooks will never let you down, being super strong and razor sharp. Black Magic fluorocarbon trace will give you the best chance of surviving the often unavoidable contact with the reef from a big king. The other very popular method that you can use in this depth of water and deeper to around 25m, is to slow troll live baits around the same kind of environments. This covers lots of ground, and

again perfect for this style of fishing, with size depending on bait size. The only exception to this is when I run live squid or cuttlefish, which are lethal on kingfish. For these, two 6/0-10/0 KS hooks snelled together with one entering where the body meets the head and exiting through the underside of the head section, and the other, which takes all the weight and strain, is placed through the last few centimetres at the rear of the squid. I like to run two rods

when fishing like this, with the boat just in gear. I have one around 15m behind the boat and the other around 30m, with one completely unweighted and the other with added weight to get a little deeper. This can be easily done by attaching a sinker with an elastic band around 1.5m up your leader. The size of the sinker will depend on the depth as well as current, so use anything from a number 3-10 sized snapper lead. A downrigger is another great option, especially when you get deeper than 20m.

Squid are one of the best king baits available.

within casting distance, but can often be all over by the time you get a bait to it. The key is having a rod rigged and ready to deploy in a matter of seconds when this opportunity presents itself. Simply blind casting around is also worth a try. The surface activity created from a popper or stickbait while at anchor, or on the troll, can often rev-up shut down fish. While it’s not hard to do while at anchor, to do it while trolling requires an extra angler constantly throwing a surface lure on a forward angle ahead of the boat. I’ve had a lot of success doing this using the Ocean Born range of surface lures, especially the Flying Poppers in both the sinking and floating variants. These are the perfect size to represent a slimy mackerel or yellowtail, which are both the staple of a kingy’s diet. The green mackerel and bunker are perfect colours to match the hatch and the lures themselves are easy to work. They also come pre-rigged with 6X strong treble hooks, so they are up to the task straight out of the box.

the best by test...

Robert Bigg, 50lb Tough Trace KLT® 7/0 bottom hook, C Point 7/0 top hook, snelled rig, fresh squid strip bait, 80cm mulloway from Glenelg River.

Leigh Holtsbaum, 20lb Tough Fluorocarbon & KS 5/0 hooks, 122cm kingfish caught off the Gold Coast.

Peter Flor, Snatcher® ‘KL 8/0 Original’, 12.4kg snapper, caught off the Gold Coast.

Kharis Liantro, KS 7/0 hooks, 12kg kingfish, Sydney.

Paternoster rig, with strong long shank hooks, 15lb fluorocarbon & red lumo tube / beads. Sizes 4, 6 & 8.

Raffi Bicakcian, DX Point® 5/0 hook and 30lb Tough Fluorocarbon, 8.1kg, 98cm snapper, caught off Sydney on a cuttlefish strip bait.

Follow @blackmagictackle on Facebook and Instagram to see the latest catches and enter in our competitions.

Diego Gadea, Sandy Snatcher® Size 8. “This rig is great, especially when you need to strike.”

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Back to the beach NSW STH COAST

Steve Starling www.fishotopia.com

Surf fishing is a wonderful late spring and summer activity, but it can be even more fun if you lighten up and simplify things. Beach fishing is a very popular pastime right around Australia, especially in the southern half of the country; between Fraser Island in the east and Exmouth in the west. It’s not hard to see why so many anglers love casting

to your success rate on the beach. Efficient surf rods are generally quite long: anything from 3-4 m in length. This helps with casting and also holds your line above the annoying surge and drag of the shore break. But whatever you do, don’t burden yourself with a ruddy great telephone pole of a rod! Modern, lightweight surf sticks are an absolute joy to use and will handle most of the critters you’re likely to encounter. My favourites include the various Light Surf models in several ranges of Shimano rods,

Finding a good spot to cast your bait or lure is the next trick. Beaches are a little like marine deserts, with the majority of their life concentrated around the ‘oasis’ represented by gutters, channels, holes or isolated outcrops of reef and rock. Focus on these areas. Climb to the highest point behind the beach and use your polarised sunglasses to help locate these features. Deeper water is generally darker in colour, and unbroken areas in the foamy surf line indicate gutters or holes and their accompanying rips. Tides can be important, too. A rising or making tide tends to bring feeding fish closer to the beach. Often

The fish don’t need to be big to put a smile on your dial in the surf! Light gear and simple rigs are the go. QR CODE

Scan this QR code to watch Starlo’s short video on the basics of light surf fishing.

Silver trevally turn up at times in the surf. Check out Jo’s light gear and two-hook rig.

What could be better than a feed of fresh-caught surf tailor cooked in the coals of a campfire? their lines into the surf. We’re blessed with hundreds — maybe thousands — of beaches, and many of them remain relatively uncrowded throughout a big chunk of the year. Better yet, they all offer catchable fish swimming within easy casting range of shore. Two of the greatest attractions of beach fishing are its simplicity and its spontaneity. You don’t need lots of flash, expensive gear or a painstaking amount of preparation to go surf fishing. It lends itself beautifully to spur of the moment forays when conditions seem right, particularly at this lovely time of the year when the weather is warming up fast. I like to keep a light surf rod rigged and a small bucket stocked with basic terminal tackle ready in the garage for quick forays to my closest stretch of surf. You just never know when a chance might present itself! Using the right gear can make a big difference 26


but there are plenty of other viable options on the market, too. Match such a rod with a 3000-5000 size spinning reel spooled with some 4-8kg line (mono or braid) and you’re in business!

— and especially at high water — you’ll only need to make short casts to reach them at such times. Don’t try to punch holes in the horizon with your sinker. It’s easy to cast over the best fish. They may well be swimming literally at your feet, particularly on more steeply sloping beaches or those with defined inshore gutters. One final and very

sunscreen and get out there this weekend? There’s nothing quite like that wonderful feel of clean sand crunching between your bare toes, and the tang of salt in your nostrils, as you belt a bait or

important tip: modern, sophisticated reels don’t like sand! If you’re one of those folks who insists on laying your rod and reel in the grit, stick to an Alvey sidecast. They’re great surf reels, anyway. But if you opt for higher tech equipment, never hit the beach without carrying a metre-long section of PVC pipe with one end cut at an angle. Push this into the sand

Light surf fishing is child’s play! How’s that for a thumping surf salmon on light gear?

A long, empty surf beach with plenty of fishy formations. You can easily see the regularly-spaced gutters and their associated rips.

and stand your rod and reel in it every time you bait up, re-rig or need to put the outfit down for any reason. Your reels will last many years longer as a result. Why not slip on your shorts and a light, longsleeved shirt, whack on a brimmed hat, smear on a little

lure out over the surf break… Catching a fish on the beach is almost a bonus… Almost! For a more in-depth look at my personal take on going light and simple in the surf, check out my YouTube clip by scanning the accompanying QR code. Tight Lines!



Summer species are taking over THE TWEED

Anthony Coughran

As winter species like snapper, mulloway and cobia go off the bite, summer species start to fire

spots to take up ambush positions throughout the systems, so get ready for war! Fishing lighter gear and smaller baits seems to get the bites. These early season jacks mean business, and it’s a lot of fun.

push up onto those reefs this month, keeping the bait schools in check. The whiting are starting to push up into the skinny water and the flathead are taking advantage. The bass are waking up in the creeks

Andrew Strong with a beast of a yellowfin caught off Tweed in 1000m. up. The higher daytime air temperatures and the rise in humidity has the summer species starting to wake up, feed up and fire up. The red dogs (mangrove jacks) are venturing out of their winter hibernation

Catches of big snapper, mixed reefies, mulloway and cobia are decreasing over the closer reefs. However, the summer pelagics are moving in to take their place. Mahimahi, kingies, tuna, wahoo and mackerel will

species to pick up. The big snapper and other reef fish will start disappearing from most of the close reefs, as they head south or move to deeper water. However, you’re still in with a shot at scoring the last of the bigger spawners on close reefs. Fishing 5-9” plastics, 80-200g jigs, drift baits, octo jigs or bottom bashing baits are the go for a big late season snapper or mixed reefy. Berley is the key to bagging those bigger knobs at dusk and dawn. Working lures or baits back into your berley trail is the best way to draw all the bigger reefies to you from right across the reef. The summer pelagics are just starting to show up, overlapping the straggling winter species. Kings, mahimahi, mackerel, wahoo and billfish are beginning to appear, which augurs well for the season ahead. Kingies and odd mackerel are starting

The author with a nice late season Tweed snapper, taken on a plastic. Most of the early season jacks have been caught in the upper systems and in that skinny water, which indicates that they are already starting to find and settle into

however, focus your efforts around any structure in the holes, bridges, pontoons, pylons and rock walls. Live baits at dusk, dawn and of a night are working best,

and will be surface feeding this month. OFFSHORE The ocean temperatures are rising and the current is increasing, which is the signal for most winter species to switch off and summer

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to push in and muscle the snapper and other reef species around while they feed up on the bait schools. The mahimahi, wahoo and billfish are starting to dominate the current lines out on the deeper reefs already. The deeper reefs out to the 100m mark are a great option at this time of year. You can troll current lines with skirts, flick metals around the FAD, work jigs, flick plastics, bottom bash, drift line and troll live or dead baits, skipping on the surface like gar or on a downrigger in the middle or bottom of the water column. We really are spoilt for choice. Live baits around the bommies are already producing a few kingfish, along with the odd mackerel on trolled and skipped baits. A few kings and macks are also hitting surface lures around those bommies during midmorning and late afternoon. ESTUARY The water in the estuaries is really starting to warm up, especially the skinny water, drains and upper river and creeks. This has fired up the jacks to come out of hibernation.

ambush positions that hold bait. Drains such as Stotts Island, Dobs Island, Condong sugar mill, Cobaki Creek, Bilambil Creek, Duroby Creek, Rous River, Cudgen Creek or Hastings Bridge, and Brunswick rock walls will hold jacks over the next month. If there’s no rain you should head right upriver to those drains. If we do get rain,

along with lures during the heat of day. You can expect lots of estuary cod as by-catch this month. These fish pull just as hard as jacks but are not as dirty fighters, so you will get them out easier. There are still some good flathead up in the skinny water, taking advantage of the whiting pushing up. Working

Dillon Power with a surprise shallow water swordfish.

whiting and baitfish profile plastics and lures are the go for a big grandma. Matching the hatch is very important, and every sand bank and weed bank is different and will hold different bait. Be

hooks. Drifting will allow you to cover more ground, and the movement of your bait will be too much for most whiting to resist – whiting love a moving bait. There are still lots of

The mangrove jack are waking up. sure to scout that sand bank to see what bait is holding there on that day. When it comes to lures, 2-5” plastics are working best on the flats. Vibes, blades and trolled hardbodies are working better in the holes and channels next to sand banks. The whiting are starting to push up into the skinny water. Working yabby-laden banks with surface lures, live blood or beachworms, live yabbies and small, lightlyweighted soft plastic grubs

trevally in most systems, and you can catch them on live baits around the bridges at night. The odd tailor is still working current lines, and surface lures and trolled hardbodies are fishing best. There will still be packs of bream on the run-in tides around the mouth in the coming weeks, and drift lining is producing some great fish. Small strip baits drifted just off the bottom will be a great way to score a big silver dinner plate this month.

dart, whiting, flathead, trevally and odd mulloway. Whitebait and strip baits on a small longshank hook or small circle hook are catching bream, flathead, trevally, and the occasional dart. Pipis on a small longshank hook or small circle hook are catching some good whiting, dart, flathead and bream. Working the deeper water with these baits on the last hour of the run-out and the first two hours of the run-in is producing some awesome mixed bags, and is fishing the best. Worms and pipis on most southern beaches are producing fish on the right tides. There is still the odd tailor off the rock walls and headlands being taken on metals at dusk and dawn. FRESHWATER The bass have woken up over the last month, and the back country, creeks and upper rivers are fishing the best. Working surface lures at dusk and dawn is tricking bass into eating. Cast to overhanging branches and banks, anywhere there is any shade in morning, and giving your lure a few twitches. This is normally too much for even the most stubborn bass to resist, and will result in a big slurp and you’ll be on. Once that sun is established you can switch to spinnerbaits, plastics, hardbodies, vibes or blades. These lures should see you catching those wild bass well after the sun is up. The lilies and treelines will be fishing best in the dam this month. Landing cicadas amongst the lilies and in the shallow, protected coves of

Mahimahi, billfish, wahoo, mackerel and tuna will start to push in onto the close reefs to feed up. Look for floating debris, birds working and strong current lines, as these are good telltale signs for where you should be working your lures. Look to the current lines around close reefs and work troll baits for mackerel. There will still be a few mixed reef species hanging around, and the best

times to catch them are at dusk and dawn. The jacks will really start their dominance of the estuaries this month, and you should use livebaits at night for the big ones and lures during the day. Whiting will start to push right up into the super skinny water in the coming weeks, and you can get them on lures during the day and worms at night. The dart should start

to come the bite more too as the month goes on. Pipis, worms, whitebait, small strip baits, small metals and small plastics will be the go for a good feed of dart. The bass will really wake up this month, and you should match the insects in the area with your lures for best results. Try a blowfly profile and colour if there are no cicadas out yet in that area.


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Kristian Frey with another cracker Tweed flathead. during the day is getting good catches of nice-size yellowfin whiting. However, if you’re after the true elbow-slappers, hit those same banks at night with blood or beachworms. A light set-up is all that’s needed to target whiting, with 3-6lb line and 4-8lb leader doing the job. Alvey reels and longer 7-10ft soft tip rods are the set-up for most anglers. Alvey reels allows you give line when needed, and the soft tip will keep the pressure on the fish but won’t pull

BEACHES The southern beaches are still producing the goods. There are tailor, bream, dart, flathead, trevally, whiting and still the odd big mulloway sitting the deeper gutters and in the flowing deeper water around the headlands and rock walls. Soaking pillies on a small set of gangs is catching the tailor, bream, flathead and occasional mulloway. Soaking worms on a longshank hook is catching

the dams is a good way to catch a few in the morning. Working the tree lines with spinnerbaits, vibes, blades, plastics and hardbodied lures is also producing. You can encounter the odd larger bass sitting amongst the schoolies. NEXT MONTH As the air and water temperatures continue to rise and the cool spring nights leave us, all the summer species’ appetites will rise and they will really start to hunt.

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Keeping busy on Ballina waters BALLINA

Joe Allan

The Lew’s Richmond River ABT Bass Pro qualifier was held at Coraki recently and some quality bags were weighed in.

Congratulations must go to local angler Nick Anderson on the win! It’s not always easy to do it on your home waters, as there is some added pressure by knowing almost too much. Nick won the event fishing deep drop-offs using

metal blades, which was different to a lot of other competitors. The most popular techniques seemed to be throwing football jigs. If you haven’t tried this style

northerly is blowing, blue bottles will be out in numbers and while not deadly, they pack a punch. Offshore, the close in reefs have been producing a

Holly Johnson caught this solid kingfish. Michael Starkey caught a solid snapper close inshore on a prototype Atomic lure.

The author with his Sunday bag limit that put him in fifth place at the Richmond River ABT Bass Pro.

of fishing, it is a great time to give it a go. The beaches along South Ballina can produce some amazing whiting fishing this time of year. Scout the beach a few days before the bigger tides and head out at night with live worms and pipis. Pipi numbers will start to increase as the water warms up. Watch out though; if the

few tuna, bonito and horse mackerel of late. The best way to target these is by trolling big metal slugs or pint skirted lures. If you find a bait school, get your slugs and start casting because this action can be crazy with fish

are still great eating and can provide some good fun on light gear. As the water starts to really warm up, mahimahi will become very hungry and will be around in solid numbers. The best spots to check are the FADS and the Wave Buoy. Further afield, there have been some decent pearl perch and kingfish.



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Holly landed this hefty pearl perch on a slow pitch jig.



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often caught cast after cast while you’re on the school. There are still a fair few snapper around Lennox Point, Riordans Reef and Black Head. The latter can be a little hit-and-miss though. A lot of smaller fish are around, however these

Whiting in the lower reaches of the Richmond are firing on small surface lures. The best lure to try is the Bassday Sugapen 70 in a variety of different colours depending on water clarity and sunlight. The most popular are orange, clear

with pink stripes and banana prawn. Get these walking as fast as you can over the weed or sand flats until you find a concentration of fish. Keep going, as they can be in big numbers together. Be prepared to hook by-catch like small trevally, bream and very hungry flathead. When there is water moving over these flats, the fish know it’s time to feed. A good little trick is to change the rear trebles out and change to Atomic Assist hooks in size 10. This will help increase your hook-up rate when the fish are not as committed. Flathead are well and truly on the bite in the middle reaches of the river around Pimlico Island and right through up to Woodburn. If you’re bait fishing, get some white pilchards (salted keeps the flesh harder), fresh prawns and live poddy mullet. If you’re into throwing lures or trolling them behind the boat, this can be one of the best times of year for it. Get as bright a lure as you can, as flathead can’t seem to get enough of fluoro colours. There have been a few reports of crabs showing up already and they should be around in good numbers this month.


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Nick Anderson with his non-boater, Mitchell Rose. Their bag of four Aussie bass smashed the rest of the field by over 1kg.


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You’ll be flat-out fishing the reefs and estuaries YAMBA

Dave Gaden

November is a great month on the Yamba fishing calendar. The

season has taken off and the fish are on the move and on the bite. Warmer waters are finally starting to head south and the activity offshore is full on.

winds early so the morning drift is very comfortable and productive. As the wind picks up during the day, I find the fish bunched up usually on the southern side of the reef in around 50m. The current will be reasonably consistent

wide, the early signs suggest a good year in the 45-55 fathoms. Northern grounds due east of Black Rocks, approximately 19nm from the bar in 48-53 fathoms, will have good plate size snapper on the high rocks,

Paul drifted the southern reef for this good snapper.

ba Prawn Blade s” “Yam

Josh from Glen Innes caught this trophy pearly. Head wide this month to score your own.

The FAD off Yamba, approximately 12nm southeast of the bar, was placed early this year and should be covered in good mahimahi this month. At

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times, it can get a bit crowded around the FADs with so many people wanting to fish the one spot. It’s important to show courtesy to other fishers when in small, targeted locations like this. As a general rule, the fish won’t all be bunched up on the big yellow buoy anyway, but they will use it as a base station. Quite often, you get the biggest fish 100m away from the buoy. Approaching the FAD, I always have a large quantity of old roughly chopped pilchards on the board and throw a handful at the FAD each time. This can really bring on a hot bite downcurrent from the buoy. Have a few lines on the bottom, as the reef below holds big bluespot flathead most days. November is my best month for big mulloway off the reef. I know a lot of local anglers who only chase mulloway on the wrecks but the bigger fish will be on the reef. The cave-ridden reef at South Evans is a favourite I have mentioned many times, but this month there should be some great mulloway on the northeast corner, the reef off Brooms Head and out in the 38-fathom line. They really are on the move this month and will be almost a daily catch. The south reef off Brooms Head should be great to fish now. Everything from Venus tuskfish, Maori cod, pearl perch to snapper will be on the bite. I prefer to fish the 30-40m deep area of the reef, drifting when I can with a good old paternoster rig. This month predominately has light

Anthony took this quality snapper on a floater. from the north so it should make it easy for you to anchor on the high section and fish the drop-off where fish are laying. Don’t be lazy – if you set the anchor and

averaging around 40cm in good numbers. The target species are usually pearl perch and pigfish. These will be on the less impressive looking reef – the reef that

Jess caught this beautiful Venus tuskfish. don’t end up where you need to be, pull it up and reset. The results will be worth the little extra effort to be right on the fish. For those who like to go

looks pretty flat with no big high spots. The wire weed there means there will be pearlies and piggies. The wide south ground due east of Sandon will have

good fish as well. A lot more kingfish and blue morwong will be on this ground. The reef is only half the size of the north ground, meaning shorter drifts more often, but it is well worth the trip. In the estuary, the crabs will be nuts! I’ve been catching good blue swimmers off my pontoon since the last week of August. The lack of rain everywhere has at least had the one upside with the swimmers being so active.

around the crab pots and dillies will see you have a full and productive day on the water. Flathead may be a little harder to find if it stays dry. The back channel on the north side of Goodwood Island and the Broadwater upstream from Maclean should be the best spots for a good feed. Once you find flatties, stay with them – I have a theory that when you take one flathead,


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Adam from Grafton landed a thumping mulloway. These will be around in good numbers in November. The muddies might be a bit harder to find if we don’t get rain, as they will travel well up the river to look for darker water. Whiting will be an easy chase this month as they were the last. Spending time to make sure you have a good supply of live yabbies pumped at low tide and targeting the fish around the high tide with a few trips

two come to his funeral. Just keep working the one spot and you should get a good feed. Mixed in with these this month will be some very tasty largetooth flounder. I always have a line out with an extra-long trace and a large school prawn on a longshank 1/0 while flathead fishing and I take a lot of flounder on this rig.

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Fresh is best, but we need rain in Coffs COFFS HARBOUR

Stephen Worley info@tdsimages.com.au

I feel like I’ve been constantly mentioning a lack of water during 2019.

It’s certainly been a theme for the year and it looks set to be an issue into the future. Fortunately in the Coffs Harbour region we have many beautiful rivers that flow (just) even in the fiercest drought.

The Nymboida/Mann River closure comes to an end on 1 November. From that date you can fish throughout these systems again. A reminder that targeting eastern freshwater cod in any part of the Clarence system

is still not permitted and any accidental captures must be released unharmed as soon as possible. Even if we don’t get decent rain, the bass fishing in the upper regions of the Nymboida and Mann should still be consistent, as many of the fish seem to have not made the journey to the brackish

devastated by intense fires this spring. Due to the severe drought conditions we’ve seen fires on the Mann, Nymboida, Clarence and many of their tributaries burning through rainforest normally immune to serious fire. It is a sobering thought, as we’re not even in summer yet.

Clarence system during the mid-1930s was an almost catchment wide fire, followed by flooding rain. The ash washed into the river and caused water conditions to deteriorate rapidly, killing a massive portion of the cod population at the time. Eastern cod have been trying to slowly recover ever since.

A lovely pair of bream off one of the region’s rocky platforms.

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Jai Miller opened his bass season in style with this cracking 58cm fish captured on a 3” twin-tail soft plastic. spawning grounds this winter. Bass in other systems have been responding well to surface crawlers as well as smaller wakebaits. We won’t find out for sure how the bass fishing in the Nymboida/ Mann is looking until the river opens this month. On top of the drought, these inland catchments have had swathes of forest

There have been shortlived relief at times, with small patches of rain, but it’s long and consistent rainfall that is needed both to put out the fires and to replenish the land. One thing we don’t want though, is a large flood event. One of the contributing factors to a major fish kill throughout the Nymboida/Mann/

Having seen cod gradually build their population over the last 40-50 years, it would be devastating to see them cut down again by another major event. If you are heading out into these areas, please be aware of any fire danger in the area you’re fishing and please ensure you don’t contribute to any fire risks yourself!



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The trout streams on the plateau have also been struggling with the severe drought and heat so early

but may slow down if there isn’t more rain in these upper plateau catchments. Much of the rain we’ve been seeing

keyed in and feeding hard. Closer to the coast there has been more relief from searing heat, bushfires and

Flathead Tournament, which will be running from 8-10 November. Unfortunately if you haven’t already signed up, it’s too late, as the event is completely sold out and running at capacity. For that reason, if not in the comp it’s probably best to avoid the Bellinger and Kalang systems on those dates, as

from anyone that was able to pre-fish the area. These estuaries are full of rock walls, drops-offs and oyster leases that have all been producing quality fish, even up to the magic metre mark. We wouldn’t normally be expecting too much change in the offshore fishing this month, but it’s possible we may see an early crossover

aren’t always easy to fool. Often it will only be one of the larger fish caught at any of these structures first up before all the other larger fish shut down and get overly cautious. Hitting them early before other boaters in the morning is best. Hopefully we’ll see other summer pelagics arriving in the not too distant future.

Luke Tinson has been putting the Cranka Crabs through some serious work, throwing them off the stones and landing all the players, including this quality bream. in the season. There are still trout to be found, but you will need to choose your streams wisely. The larger creeks like the Guy Fawkes and Styx rivers normally offer the most flow, and they also drain from the highest bogs and springs, offering much cooler water conditions. These rivers and their tributaries have produced a lot of action over the beginning of the season,

this spring has been very coastal, so the more eastern creeks such as the Bielsdown could be in better condition if that pattern continues into the season. The smaller streams still have deeper, more sheltered sections that will be the best areas to target. If you can time a trip the day or two after a bit of rain, you will find that there are stronger hatches and you will hopefully find the fish

drought. The estuaries have been sliding into summer mode, with whiting and flathead hunting the flats and hitting surface lures like it’s the height of summer. The Kalang and Bellinger rivers have been producing many quality flathead, and that may be because of the increased attention these estuaries have been getting in the lead up to the Urunga Estuary Sport Fishing

Kent Richardson captured this fish on opening day with a small hardbody on his spin gear. there’ll be anglers stretched right from the mouth and up to the brackish stretches. If you’re competing in the event then you may have to ask, beg and plead for info

to summer pelagics. Already this spring we have seen the mahimahi around the wave buoy, FAD and fish traps. Quality 15kg specimens have been common, but they

Whether you’re up in the hinterland dodging smoke and discovering new water, or on the coast chasing flathead, I hope your line finds the water and the fish.



Anglers all set for an action-packed month SOUTH WEST ROCKS

Paul Martin

We are well and truly into the change of season now, and if the catches during October are any indication, we are in for an exciting November. Bluewater fishos have had great success with quality snapper in close around 30m off Grassy and Scotts head. Get there early and fish until an hour past sunrise with slow sinking baits or 7” plastics and you should hook a snapper or two. In October this produced reds to 8kg in the shallow water.

Plastics will also work well from late in the afternoon until just on dark. Later in the morning through to the afternoon a standard paternoster rig will do the trick. Pearl perch seem to be in the deeper water at the moment but it’s hard to find one with any size about it. We should start seeing the odd samsonfish off the northern reefs in the coming weeks and, while we are on predictions, I expect a mackerel or two here towards the end of November. Off the Gaol the fishing has been good with plenty of snapper, morwong and

assorted reef fish in good numbers. There are a few mulloway locations that have taken a hiding over the last few months, so let’s hope there is some responsible fishing in the future of these majestic fish.

water, which is making a stealthy approach a little difficult, so fluorocarbon leaders will help. More success seems to be coming from the tributaries off the main river, and ideally the start of the run-out tides

mulloway baits. Schoolies are around Rainbow Reach in the deeper water and Jerseyville around the Bridge. There are good numbers of GTs in the same area, and they are good fun on light gear. Like everywhere, a little rain would be a blessing for our river system. OFF THE ROCKS Rock hoppers have had nothing to get excited about so far, with tailor a no-show through October. There have

again, fresh worms and pipis are working well on these fish. Smoky Beach has some nice bream and whiting, with a few sand flathead coming in, but you need to drive along the beach to find the best gutters. The council has finally come to the party and is now issuing a 2-week passes for only $20 which will cover the beaches from Nambucca down to Port Macquarie, and they are available at our store.

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Graeme Allen with a tagged Macleay flathead that was recorded and returned to the water. Down south to Green Island and Fish Rock the kingfish are in good numbers, with some monster fish amongst them. There are lots of reports of bust-ups, meaning big hoodlums are on the prowl. Out wider the FAD is around six weeks in operation, and already smaller mahimahi are around it. There’s not much size yet, but it will happen. Already quite a few marlin have been sighted sunning themselves, so let’s hope for a good season on the pelagics. THE RIVER The Macleay is full of flathead that are slowly becoming more active as the water warms up. We are still dealing with crystal clear

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where these predators will be waiting for food to come out. Clybucca and around to Fishermans Reach towards Stuarts Point is fishing well, as is Jerseyville around the drop-offs to Kinchela and Smithtown. Whiting are in good numbers, taking worms and freshly-pumped nippers, with more action upriver at the moment. The luderick season was an extended one, with quality fish caught through October, and it was synthetic weed flies that produced the most fish. The river walls are home to some nice bream taking gut, mullet fillets and chopped pillies. There were a few mulloway caught through the month off the breakwall, both the north and south side, but no bigger units were reported. Plenty of shovelnose sharks and the odd ray have been encountered in the same location, eager to take

John Edser with his 8kg snapper caught off Grassy Head. been a few kings caught off the ledges around the lighthouse and off the rocks down to Hat Head. The odd drummer has come in with some bream and tarwhine, but on the whole not much has been happening. BEACHES The hot spot has been Gap Beach, with good whiting, bream and dart coming out of the surf. Once

• For the very latest information on what’s biting and where, drop into Rocks Marine Bait & Tackle at 25 Memorial Ave, South West Rocks. You can also find more information at rocksmarinebaitandtackle. com.au, or look them up on Facebook. The owners are retiring, so if you’ve always dreamed of owning a tackle store, now is your chance!


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Weather and fishing heating up THE HASTINGS

Mark Saxon castawayestuarycharters@bigpond.com

This month is usually excellent for our area, with all forms of fishing worth doing. We have

more daylight, better temperatures (both in the air and water) and our summer species are kicking into gear! OFFSHORE Snapper have been really on the chew, with some great fish being

caught by anglers using soft plastics, micro jigs and baits such as squid, pilchards and live slimies. The local offshore charter boats have been getting their fair share of snapper, as well as some good size mulloway, pearl perch and other reef species. There is plenty of good fishing to be had between Point Plomer and Laurieton, and if you are visiting the area you can look up a few GPS marks online, then using your sounder you should be able to locate areas worth trying. If you’re not sure, call in to the local

go a long way to securing you some better results. Another enjoyable way to spend a couple hours if you don’t have bait is to cast lures, and these can be smaller plastics for bream, tailor and flatties, or if you are after a bigger fish like mulloway you can use heavier gear and larger plastics like big paddletails. You can still get some good tailor and salmon on these bigger lures, but big silvers become a real chance. Metal casting slugs are always good for tailor and salmon, and dawn or dusk,

There are still some good mulloway to be caught in the upper Hastings. a few cicadas starting to show, which really does fire them up. WHITING November is the time we start to chase the whiting on surface lures in the Hastings

A great flatty caught on a plastic by Jenny.


River. The Camden Haven has some good flats and Googlies Lagoon is a top spot, especially if you have a kayak to get around it. When choosing a lure it is hard to go past the

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Mandy took this bream on a Samaki vibe. tackle store to get an update on activity. BEACHES Beach fishing has been reasonably good, with bream and a few good tailor still being caught. November should see a few more whiting about, and gathering some beachworms and going for an evening flick is a great way to score a few different species. You may even score a school mulloway, which love a worm intended for whiting, so be prepared. As always, do a drive around the beaches checking out which has the best formations, as this will

and a rising tide seems to be a good time for chasing both species. BASS Bass season is well and truly underway and although the rivers still need some rain, you can find some good action. So far this season, spinnerbaits have been doing very well around the weed areas and as always, using surface lures in the evening into the night has been a lot of fun. This month it should improve, with warmer temperatures and hopefully

Matt scored this nice fish casting a hardbody lure. and Lake Cathie, but unfortunately the condition of Lake Cathie is still not good, so I suggest looking at other local destinations like the Camden Haven



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Spinnerbaits are working well around the weed beds for bass, as James found out.

Bassday Sugapen, as this lure catches well above its share of whiting, but other lures do catch. Poppers worked with a splashy retrieve will also bring whiting undone. Whichever lure you do use for your surface fishing, one thing’s for sure – you will have fun! It’s not only whiting that love surface lures: bream, flathead and the local giant trevally all like a piece of the action as well. BREAM Bream fishing with lures will also turn into a surface fishing option and casting cicada or prawn imitations should see you having some fun. Use your eyes when out on the water and you will notice what they are feeding on. With prawn activity increasing, you will often see them fleeing from bream around the weed beds and edges.









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Prawns bring estuaries to life FORSTER

Luke Austin

November is a very exciting month on the fishing calendar, as it is the start of what I like to think of as our ‘summer fishery’. Warmer days and increasing water

temperatures see an explosion in baitfish and crustacean numbers right along the coastline and within the estuaries. This increase in food source activity (and availability) makes its way up the food chain and results in a marked increase in activity

amongst our predatory species, particularly those that go a little ‘quiet’ over the cooler months. Flathead have now become the centre of attention for many anglers as they settle back down in the lower reaches of the estuaries to spawn. There has already



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been a lot of quality fish caught in and around ‘The Paddock’, which is probably the very best ‘big fish’ spot in the whole system. Landbased anglers have also been catching a few fish down around the bridge, slipway and Fish Co-op areas using soft plastics and soft vibes. These fish will really thicken up in numbers once the herring start to run, which is generally about the second week of the month. The abundance of food has also really fired up the mouth of the river, with some nice kingfish and mulloway on offer. Using live baits is by far the most effective method of targeting these bigger fish, with the last of the run-out and start of the run-in tide generally producing the goods. If you do decide to target either of these species, please remember to look after the fish and only keep what you need. With everyone carrying phones these days there’s no need to kill any fish unnecessarily. Further up into the system, trumpeter whiting have settled in the deeper channels up around Wallis Island and Coomba Park in huge numbers, and it’s

Chasing flathead on plastics is great fun over the warmer months. creeps up into the mid 20s the cicadas will start emerging. Over the warmer months if you are anywhere on the water and you can hear the deafening song of the cicada, tie on a cicada lure and you won’t miss! Tossing small (up to 95mm) stickbaits about the flats and weed beds is really productive at this time of year. Big sand whiting,

Tall fish tales told here. Experience the best bluewater, rock, river and beach fishing on the NSW north coast.

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nothing now to get your bag limit (20 fish) of these tasty little treats in under an hour. In fact, on most days chasing these guys you will find cleaning the fish takes longer than catching them! Bream have now well and truly moved into the upper reaches of the system and have settled on the weed beds and sand flats in the main basin. as well as the snags and rock bars of the tributaries. You can start to think about targeting these fish on surface this month, and as the water temperature

bream and flathead are all on the cards and as soon as the prawns start running, and they will eagerly chase down and belt any surface offerings. The areas around the eastern side of Wallis Island and Lanis Holiday Park have been a hive of activity lately, with plenty of flathead and solid whiting hitting the surface. November can be a really nice time of year to hit the sand for a fish. Species wise, you can pretty much target anything this month, from bream, whiting, flathead

and dart to tailor and even mulloway. The stretches of beach that are adjacent to the rock walls are generally very productive for flathead and whiting during the daylight hours as well as mulloway of an evening. Casting from the wall onto the beach side with soft plastics is a great way to target flathead and mulloway, particularly when there is a nice gutter running along the base of the rocks. With water temperatures slowly rising, offshore waters are really beginning to come to life, with big schools of bait now appearing up and down the coast. It only makes sense that this phenomenon also kicks off the start of some pretty awesome fishing over the next six months or so. Towards the end of this month we should see the first lot of bonito and mac tuna starting to turn up, and out wider there is always the chance of running into big early season mahimahi and yellowfin tuna. Snapper have been great on the shallow grounds, and this should continue on for most of November, although the fish will most likely go a little quiet around the full moon on 13 November. This shouldn’t be too much of a drama though, as the deeper reefs (50-80m) will pick up the slack with no troubles at all, and at this time of year they will be holding some cracking teraglin, plenty of snapper, the odd quality pearl perch and pigfish. • Luke is the owner of Great Lakes Tackle, your ‘local’ bait and tackle store. They only sell the best brands and offer sound, friendly advice on where you can go to land your next trophy fish while visiting the wonderful Great Lakes region! They are open 7 days in the main street of Tuncurry. Call (02) 6554 9541 or find them on Facebook to see what they have been up to!

The action ramps up HARRINGTON-TAREE

Ian Pereira ianpereira@aapt.net.au

The past month has seen some difficult weather hit the Mid North Coast, with most types of fishing being affected. There have been westerlies, southerlies and southeasterly winds up to 40km per hour, which has made beach, rock and outside fishing impossible. In some instances, it has also made estuary fishing very difficult. The good news is that the estuary has continued to deliver good catches of fish for keen anglers. We had some small falls of rain near the coast, but further inland not a drop fell. The Manning River is not flowing at present; it’s just a string of water holes connected by bare, dry rocks. The mullet that went upstream are now trapped there, as well as those bass that did not come down the river to spawn. The bass that did come down the river to spawn in the brackish water are still down the river, and they cannot get back up to the headwater streams. The Manning desperately needs a fall of at least 200mm in the headwaters to make it flow again. The saltwater part of the Manning has produced mulloway to 12kg and kingfish to 20kg from the river wall near the gantry on live bait. These fish are around in the early mornings, and are patrolling the wall looking for mullet to attack. Some good bags of luderick have been scored at night on fresh yabbies, as well as bream to 1kg. The flathead are moving down the river to get ready to spawn, but the best catches are still being made upstream on soft plastics. Our beaches have not performed well lately; the tailor have disappeared and only a few small school

mulloway and some bream have been caught, although some anglers have scored good catches of whiting from Crowdy Beach. The headlands have produced mostly small drummer and blue groper to 4kg. Red crabs are the best bait for the groper while prawns, bread and cunjevoi will score on the pigs.

behind you. If you go south you must leave a bit earlier so that you don’t have to push into the northeasterly waves. The northeasterlies don’t affect the rock angler much as they are only chop, and the worst that can happen is that you finish up wet with the splash. In the river it will be time to try to find the schools of

Brad Hart caught this 86cm snapper jigging off Diamond Head. When conditions have allowed, outside anglers have been able to boat good bags of fish. The northern grounds have produced snapper, pearl perch and flathead on the drift, while out in 60m of water the leatherjackets are plentiful. By November the strong winds from the south have finished and the most predominant wind comes from the northeast. Usually this wind gets up around lunchtime and gets stronger towards the evening. For the boat fisher, it’s a matter of getting out to sea at first light, fishing until midday and then coming home with the wind

big flathead that have come downstream to spawn in the mouth of the estuary. These fish are great fun on light line, but be sure to let them go to create more flathead. A trace of 10kg line is all that is needed if you fish light, and you should be careful not to put too much pressure on the fish. If you pull too hard the flathead will come to the surface and shake its head from side to side, which can cut the line off. This can happen quickly if you don’t release the pressure immediately. As well as flathead, bream and luderick will be available in the estuary this month.

Jack Connolly with a breakwall kingfish. NOVEMBER 2019


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Great options on offer HUNTER COAST

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With summer fast approaching and the temperatures increasing as expected, there is a banquet of options on offer for all anglers, and with daylight savings on our side there’s more than enough time to experiment with different methods and fine-tune your techniques. Early mornings and late afternoons are the prime times to start flicking a few hardbodied lures, but where will you start? For most, starting at the top and working your way through the water column is a good plan, and the surface action doesn’t get much better than over the next couple of months. Small surface lures are irresistible to most of the bread and butter species like bream, whiting and flathead in the shallows, and they are relatively easy to use. Options such as stickbaits, bent minnow styles and poppers are popular. One of the most important things is having the right tool for the task at hand, and in this case a light spin rod in the 1-3kg or 2-4kg range is preferred, and the longer the better. Starting at around the 7’ mark is fine, but even better if you can get a 7’6” model or longer, as this gives you greater castability. With a longer rod you’ll cover the most ground with each cast, and have better control when fighting a fish in a foot of water amongst weed and rock. Some excellent reports have been coming in, with plenty of whiting and bream off the beaches on tube and beachworms, and if you’ve mastered the art of gathering your own beachworms you’re laughing! There’s not much that won’t have a go at one of these slippery little suckers. A few decent mulloway have also been on the chew for those chasing something bigger, with live baits or big slabs of fresh tailor or mullet producing the goods. Certainly don’t overlook beachworms for mulloway bait either, and

if they are all you can get, put a nice big long juicy worm on a 5/0-7/0 long shank or even a circle hook head first. Push the head of the worm over the eye of the hook and up your leader a bit, then pin it with either a small whole squid or cut bait like mullet to stop it from sliding off the hook. A

Daniel Fitzgerald with a solid king taken while exploring some of the inshore grounds. beachworm capped off with a squid or chunk of mullet fillet becomes a seafood cocktail mulloway cannot resist. There are also a few tailor about that will respond to ganged pilchards or metal slices thrown into the gutters. In the harbour there are some quality flathead, bream and a few mulloway. Fresh prawns are probably the best choice for a variety of species for bait anglers chasing a feed of flatties or bream. And for lure anglers, soft vibes and soft plastics will do the damage in the right areas, and of course as mentioned earlier, surface lures if you’re fishing the shallows either walking the banks or from a boat. For the fishers chasing mulloway, live yakkas, slimies, fresh squid and slab baits are working the best. The prawns will be in full swing this month, and they’re normally running about 7-10 days after the full moon and run for around a week or so. Squid numbers should also start to improve over the next few weeks. Off the rocks tailor, bonito, snapper and kings are all lurking about. Ganged


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pillies are a great method for for tailor, and stickbaits or shallow diving minnows will entice the bonnies and kings. The inshore reefs are still providing some quality catches, with snapper, flathead, bonito and kings on the radar and both plastics and baits will get them interested.

The rivers and harbour are providing plenty of quality fish, like this nice lizard that Michelle Elliott caught recently.

Off Merewether, Redhead and Catherine Hill Bay in that 25-35m range have been holding some great fish. The new artificial reef off Swansea is also worth a look, as it should be becoming populated with fish of all shapes and sizes. Offshore will be improving with water temperatures on the rise, which means mahimahi will be gathering in numbers along with striped tuna, and that will also bring the larger pelagics to the party. Black and striped marlin, and out towards the shelf and beyond, blue marlin and yellowfin tuna will all be on the cards, and I’m certainly keen to get amongst the action by pulling some skirts over the coming weeks. The FADs will be holding fish by now, after being redeployed mid-October. If you’re heading out there be sure to get there early, as the traffic increases in the morning and the fish go deep and become very timid at times from all the commotion on the surface. Ideally, if you can be the first one there and fish around the FAD and not on top of it, you will have a greater chance and the fish will hang around longer. Bass fishing has been firing up both up the rivers and in the dams such as Lostock and St Clair, with most fish being landed on a variety of lures from surface cicadas and stickbaits, shallow suspending jerkbaits and minnows. If the fish are a little deeper, football jigs, which are becoming very popular, spinnerbaits, beetle spins and lipless crankbaits are some good options. You will also find some nice yellowbelly and silver perch in the dams to mix things up a little, so there’s plenty of fun to be had between bass. NOVEMBER 2019


Surface action in the shallows ERINA

Aaron Donaldson

It’s definitely time to dust off the fishing gear because a recent increase in water temperature has spurred the fish into action. In Brisbane Waters things have finally taken a turn for the better, following a period when few baitfish schools were around, which resulted in particularly quiet fishing for a while. It’s hard to say why this happens but it’s been a similar story recently in Lake Macquarie.

The Samaki 85mm Vibelicious is deadly on local fish. Now that the temperature is over 20°C, the fish will really to start to move into shallower water in search of prawns and small baitfish,

so naturally surface lures are your best bet over the next few months. Try the shallow edges and cast as long as possible. Bream are the main

The author with a solid Brisbane Waters mulloway caught recently.

target, although you often get a few whiting too, along with the odd flathead. Mulloway have been really quiet in the system, and I’d say the lack of baitfish has played a part. At this time of year it’s worth putting in some time if you want to catch a mulloway, and areas like The Rip Bridge, Half Tide Rocks and Box Head are good places to start. Try to time your trip to coincide with a tide change, and be sure to use fresh or, better yet, live bait such as squid, yellowtail and small mullet. There have been some good early reports of some blue swimmer crabs, so if you want a feed try using some handlines baited with mullet and a small ball sinker above. When the crabs grab the bait, just pull them in slowly and have a net ready. Most of the lake holds crabs and they move around a lot, so don’t be afraid to move spots if things are a bit quiet. Rock fishing should start to fire this month, and usually you start to see a few bonito show up and with them some quality kingfish. Last season there were some mac tuna about at this time, so it’s worth throwing some metal casting lures at places

Big bream are starting to look up this month. like Avoca and Terrigal. As usual these days there’s a stack of salmon around, and they will thin out as the current warms. Offshore off Terrigal the fishing has been unreal, with plenty of kingfish and snapper on most of the local reefs. It’s been great to see so many guys fishing soft plastics and micro-jigs out there and doing so well. The

Drop in to see your local

fishing in close will start to improve from now on as well, and you don’t have to travel too far to find some action. Big kingfish will start to bite this month, and they love a big live yellowtail fished on the bottom. Try in 30-40m. I’m looking forward to some great fishing coming up, and I hope to see you guys out there!

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Go shallow for the spring bite PORT STEPHENS

Paul Lennon

In the estuary it’s that time of year when surface lures will begin to become an extremely effective weapon of choice over the flats and structure for whiting, bream and flathead. This is one of the most exciting and visual ways to target these species and when it’s hot, it’s right up there with one of my favourite types of fishing. For bream, surface luring around typical shallow bream holding structure, ideally in less than 1m of water, has been effective with a slow ‘twitch, twitch, pause’ retrieve using small poppers and stickbaits from 30-65mm. Lures such as Sebile Splashers, Bassday Sugapens and Jackson T Pivots are a few of my bream favourites. When it comes to chasing whiting on surface lures, it pays to get up into the environments where they are actively feeding on prawns. Areas like Pindimar through to Tahlee and the western side of Soliders Point down to Taylors Beach are all ideal areas to look at. Fish over the flats in these areas from the top of the tide through to around three hours into the run-out. For whiting, a quicker, constant retrieve with no pauses works best, and believe it or not larger around 95mm can often get the best results. Flathead love them too, and some days you will catch just as many lizards as whiting. Talking about flathead, November is a great month to get stuck into them near the western side of Soldiers Point through to the mouths of Tilligery and Karuah rivers, with both holding quality duskies to 1m in length. As always, soft

plastics or medium-sized hardbodied lures around the 100mm mark will do the trick. There have also been a few good lizards starting to show up further downstream, with Salamander Bay, Corlette Groynes, and

cabbage or weed. Off the ocean beaches, it’s time to get serious about targeting whiting, as they will become very active from Stockton Beach through to Hawks Nest. If you’re not using live worms or at least freshly dead ones,

inshore from Fingal all the way up to Seal Rocks by both soft plastic and bait users. Snapper have also been holding on the deeper reefs too, with Gibber, 21 and Vee reefs producing a few smaller snapper as well as plenty of trag.

Flathead are a welcome by-catch on surface lures.

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Big sand whiting will readily hit surface lures this month and provide great fun in super skinny water. Nelson Bay Beach all starting to produce. Mulloway have been firing throughout the deeper parts of the bay, with waters from 20-30m fished on the tide change providing a really good chance of finding one, especially if you’re using a live bait or fresh squid. Luderick are still there for the diehards, but they have begun to slow down. However, they’re still worth targeting around the tide changes along both breakwalls and over the rock walls at Winda Woppa through to the Short Cut area. The run-out tide has been producing best, just remember to use plenty of berley and fresh

you will be out of the game, as they out fish everything else for whiting 10:1. Fish on the high tides when the gutters are at their fullest and if you can get the tide to correspond with late afternoon or early morning, even better. This way of fishing will also produce loads of welcome by-catch in the way of big bream, dart and the odd mulloway too. Out wide, it would be well worth visiting Allmark Mountain for a session on the kings or to target bar cod before the current starts running too hard. There is also a good chance of picking up an early season marlin out wide too. Snapper are still consistently being taken

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Pre-Christmas delights on Lake Macquarie SWANSEA

Jason Scerri coloratolures@hotmail.com

Here we are again! We’re not too far out from the Christmas holidays and hopefully a great run of summer fish. There’s still a little while until things really heat up, but daylight savings have now kicked in and that’s always a great sign that we are not too far away from those summer days and that summer bite. One thing I do love about this time of year with the extra hour of daylight is being able to squeeze a sneaky little afternoon fishing trip in after work. It’s a great time of the day for a few reasons. It’s generally nice and quiet out on the lake and with the reduced boat traffic and fading light it is often a great time for a hot little session. For those who enjoy their bream fishing, this is often an ideal time to hit the flats. We generally get a nice afternoon breeze to ruffle the surface and stop the fish spooking on the shallows. This, along with the fading light, can really turn the bream on and they are often fighting over our shallow running hardbody lures, which can make for some exciting fishing. The main difference for us during these periods is the colour of the lures we are throwing around. As a rule I don’t like overly bright lures, but for the afternoon sessions we generally opt for bright orange or green hardbodies and they rarely let us down. Bream aren’t the only fish we enjoy targeting on these afternoon sessions at this time of year. It is a great time to hit the lake and try your luck on the local mulloway. We have a good supply on offer, so it’s just a matter of getting out

there and putting in the hours. You may not score one every trip, but you will certainly get a few good results if you put the time in. Bait anglers do very well on live squid, while lure fishers do well on soft plastics around the 5-6” mark,

others, and when they are on they provide some great entertainment for the whole family. The kids will have a blast catching them and I love watching their surprise when they hook a decent one that puts up a fight. Who

Mick Pavlic showing once again that he is one of the better anglers in the area with this fantastic bag of solid Lake Mac bream. and more often than not white plastics are the standouts. Hit the deeper water, and as a rule look for that 8-10m mark, find the bait schools and you will find the mulloway. By now blue swimmer crabs should also start getting out and about, so it’s as good a time as any to start placing those crab traps about, as it is certainly hard to beat a feed of fresh Lake Macquarie crabs. Squid are also on offer. I find they are much easier to come by on some days over

doesn’t like a plate of salt and pepper squid? Offshore fishing is also starting to ramp up, with plenty on offer. It is still early in the game fishing season, so more often than not you will find there is a load of water between bites, but it’s not a waste of time. Early in the season is always a great time of year offshore to bump into some very solid mahimahi. You generally won’t find them in numbers just yet, but the size of them when

you do come across a few at the moment will generally always be very good. YFT have also proven to be the surprise offering over the past few months, which no one has been complaining about. These fish are not only one of the hardest fighting, but also one of the tastiest, so it’s no wonder so many crews love chasing them. These days they are certainly a fish you will need to travel for. For any consistency, you’re going to need to be working from the shelf and further east towards the canyons and beyond. It is a long trip out, but it can certainly be well worth the effort (and the fuel). A spread of skirted game lures around the 8” mark is generally accepted as a good approach, and I tend to opt for ones with a little more weight and like to include a jethead or two in the spread, as it’s no secret that tuna love jethead lures. It’s also common to run a deep diving hardbody lure in the mix as well. Most crews will generally always have one in their spread if they are chasing tuna. As a lure maker, I can assure you there is no sure thing when it comes to colours for tuna. Mix it up and put a good variety out there. What they like one day they may not like the next! Shark fishers are also seeing a few fish coming through, and hopes are high for another bumper season off our part of the world. Every year we see some incredibly large tiger sharks landed, and to see these fish coming in aboard trailer boats is pretty awesome. Keep an eye on the weigh bridge during the weekend afternoons, as they often come through to be weighed for club point scores or potential records. Finally we should talk about the mighty marlin.

They should start to make an appearance any time now, and just like every year, those of us with small trailer boats have our fingers crossed that it will be a good year for a run of inshore blacks. We certainly don’t always get our wish, but when we do it can be a great place to be fishing. Crews fishing with live baits will look for the bait balls and slow troll live slimies or even drift through these areas with two baits set at varying depths. Often one is rigged to a snapper lead and the other with no weight.

Crews chasing them on lures will usually have a spread of 4-5 lures out in a range of sizes depending on the average size of the marlin on offer at the time. Some years the smaller fish will love the 6-8” lures, but other years that see a better size of fish the crews will be putting out 10-12” lures. I generally like to mix it up a little. A pair of 10s from the corners, a pair of 8s from the riggers and a small 6” or so in the shotgun position is a good start. So there it is! Clean off the fishing gear, rig up the rods and have a go this November.

Caroline Scerri travelled to Yamba and had a blast catching this trevally on light bream gear.


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What’s NeW FIshING Storm BiScay minnow and Shad 1 Designed with long casting and fast winding in mind, but still at home fished slowly in shallow and deepwater situations, the 360GT Coastal Biscay Minnow features a slim, supple body rigged to a tapered jighead with a fixed hook. An additional chin eyelet gives the option of adding an assist hook or blade. The weighted head and body combination allow you to cast further and fish deeper, and the paddle-tail kicks with lifelike action and incredible vibration, even at slow speeds. The Storm 360GT Biscay Shad swims with a particularly realistic action compared to most other baits. The super supple body is fixed to the head by a free-swinging screw and VMC hook that rest perfectly hidden within the soft body’s weedless channel system. When attacked, the body collapses and the large hook gape is exposed for a clean hook-up. Every 360GT Coastal Biscay is extremely visually detailed with each body perfectly matched to its own jighead with a heavyduty VMC hook. Bodies are also sold separately. www.stormfishing.com.au

daiwa tierra Lt


The Daiwa Tierra has a long history of delivering class-leading performance at a great price, and the latest version, the Tierra LT, is no exception. An alloy body is where it all starts, with its rigid construction unyielding in the heat of battle. Highly resistant to corrosion and flexing, the alloy body is the foundation of the Tierra LT and its dominance as an ultimate saltwater reel. The Tierra LT boasts many innovative, performance-enhancing features, including new LT Concept, Tough Digigear, and a new Long Cast ABS spool. The Tierra LT is also gifted with a host of Daiwa’s tried and true technologies, including Air Rotor, ATD drag, CRBB bearings, EVA Knob, and Wire Bail. With striking blue livery, the Tierra LT excels whether you’re drifting baits for whiting or hopping plastics for snapper. It’s available in six deep spool sizes from 2000D to 6000D, and you can find out more at Daiwa Australia’s new website. www.daiwafishing.com.au

Lumica Puni ika Squid


Lumica Japan has released two new soft plastic squid: the 90mm Puni Ika Squid X-Wing and the 65mm Lumica Puni Ika Squid Wave. Both are built to hold a light, to provide maximum attraction. These realistic new squid imitations have been designed, developed and made in Japan. They feature an ultra-tough 10X material that is strong and stretchy. The Squid’s tantalising action is irresistible to any predatory fish that feeds on squid, cuttlefish or octopus, and the supple plastic is scent impregnated. A rigging slot makes rigging a breeze, whether you’re using a standard jighead, hidden weight or worm hook. The final key feature is a second slot that allows the angler to insert a Kemihotaru 25mm light inside the body to allow it to glow for added attraction.



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BLack magic gift Pack



Black Magic’s gift pack range has always offered anglers a well-chosen selection of quality tackle for their specific style of fishing but equally, they provide excellent value for money. Now the range has a new entrant: the Freshwater Gift Pack. As the name suggests, this pack targets the freshwater fisheries around Australia, but the tackle is also suited to most estuaries. Included in the pack are some of Black Magic’s tried-and-true favourite lures like the BMax bibbed lures, the Spinsect and the Enticer. Also included are their latest spinning lures – the Spinmax and the Rattle Snack. Top this off there’s a Black Magic beanie and some Deception leader, giving you the perfect range of freshwater gear to get you started. www.blackmagictackle.com

daiwa J-thread nyLon


J-Thread Nylon is Daiwa’s newest addition to the J-Thread family of premium Japanese fishing line. Like all J-Family products, J-Thread Nylon is made in Japan from the finest raw materials to deliver a monofilament line that is extremely supple, with outstanding shock resistance and knot strength. J-Thread Nylon has been designed for the Australian market, where the use of straightthrough nylon monofilament line is still popular, especially along the coasts where beach fishing is prominent. J-Thread Nylon is clear in colour, and comes parallel spooled to further reduce memory, aiding in long smooth casting and tangle free use. Daiwa J-Thread Nylon is available in 6lb through to 40lb line weights in 300m spools, and 50lb in a 250m spool. Price: SRP $19.99-$24.99 www.daiwafishing.com.au

aLvey orBiter SPinning reeL





Alvey side cast reels have been manufactured for 100 years to best practice standards, and they are still as tough and durable as they ever have been. For the last two years Alvey has been running an R&D program to expand its range of products, spending over $1 million to ensure it continues to produce the very best tackle. To this end, Alvey has launched the Orbiter range of spinning reels. There are four models, SR60, SR80, SR100 and the SR200, and they have the kind of durability we’ve come to expect from Alvey. The reels are a dream to use with 9+1 stainless steel ball bearings, 5.8:1 ratio and excellent line capacity. The drag strength is incredible, and the large handle knob makes commanding the fish a breeze. Of course, the legendary side casts are still king of the beach, but these reels are set to become king of the estuaries, flats, bays and reefs! They are a must for Alvey brand lovers and spinning reel enthusiasts. Orbiter reels can be pre-ordered at Alvey authorised retailers or on www.alvey.com.au, and will be in store from December 2019. Price: SRP $199-$289 www.alvey.com.au


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The new Floating and Sinking stickbaits from the popular Bluewater stable are built tough to take on the most ferocious predators when targeting bluewater species, including giant trevally, tuna, tarpon and more. The Sinking Stickbait weighs in at 98g, which is ideal to cast or troll for pelagics. Like the Floating Stickbait, this lure is hand crafted using a super clear hand-poured resin, and features a heavy-duty wirethrough construction to withstand attacks from the hardest-hitting brutes of the ocean. You can find more information on the range at the JM Gillies website, or for the latest news, catch photos and competitions, check them out on Facebook (facebook.com/jm.gillies) or follow them on Instagram (@jm.gillies). www.jmgillies.com.au





The new Rapala RipStop Deep tail design creates a fast ripping, hard stopping, flashing swimbait action. The RipStop Deep’s forward motion stops on a dime, with a subtle shimmy before coming to a rest. Then it ever-soslightly lifts its head with a super slow rise. You just cast and wind, wind and stop, twitch, rip and suspend. The Rapala RipStop Deep is currently available in 10 colours, weighs 15g and has a swimming depth from 1.2m to 2.4m. It is the ultimate bait for a range of species and fishing scenarios, from large flathead on the flats to barramundi deep in cover, and it’s available now in all good tackle stores. For more information check out the Rapala Australia website or Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rapala. australia. www.rapala.com.au




Compact lever drag overheads with dual gears and castability — the new Shimano SpeedMaster Lever Drag II are multi-purpose reels that will slot right in to a number of offshore fishing scenarios. There are two sizes to choose from — a 12 and a 16 — and both feature Hagane gearing in two speed ratios (5.7:1 dropping down to 3.1:1), with the lower gear being handy when you have to bust a fish out of a deep-sounding mindset. Line capacities are 350m and 440m of 10kg nylon respectively, which increases dramatically if you spool up with fine diameter braid. Being a lever drag, they are also versatile enough to fish a variety of line classes and drag settings, with a maximum drag power of 18kg, which is a lot for a little reel. The single piece Hagane Body means the stresses and strains associated with higher drag settings keeps all internals in perfect alignment and meshing smoothly, assisted by the presence of four SA-RB bearings. The SpeedMaster’s S Concept Design is reminiscent of Shimano’s Talicas, and increased corrosion resistance will have them looking good for years to come. And on top of all this the new SpeedMasters are also highly castable, which is excellent versatility for a lever drag overhead. Price: SRP $399.95-$419.95 www.shimanofish.com.au







The new Slidog 125 joins Halco’s stickbait pack just under the Slidog 150, and is sure to bark just as loud! Featuring the same highly versatile action that attracts beasts from the deep, the 125 is packed into a compact body profile that will be applicable in countless shallow and midwater situations. The lure is in its element being belted out over bubbling bait schools to entice pelagics at pace, and is just as deadly being slowly twitched amongst shallow bommies, terrorizing territorial coral trout and spangled emperor populations. Featuring the ever-reliable 1/0 Mustad trebles and Halco’s ultra tough 4xx fish rings, the Slidog 125 is equipped to fight well above its weight class. The lure is 125mm long and weighs in at 52g, allowing for epic castability with a medium casting outfit, inevitably covering more ground and finding more fish. www.halcotackle.com

The ZMan 2.75” TRD BugZ are a deadly finesse presentation for bream, bass, flathead, redfin, trout and loads more, rigged standard, weedless or combined with a TT Lures NedlockZ jighead as part of the Ned Rig system. TRD BugZ feature the texture, ribbing and appendages to represent many different aquatic and terrestrial creatures that make up the diet of a variety of fresh and saltwater species. Additional features include a hook pocket for easy weedless rigging and two larger ‘claws’ and two offset smaller ‘claws’ that come to life thanks to ZMan’s super-soft and flexible, naturally buoyant ElaZtech material. As well as a deadly finesse soft plastic presentation, TRD BugZ also make an excellent skirted jig trailer, making them a versatile addition to your soft plastics arsenal. TRD BugZ are available in eight colours (bloodworm, greasy prawn, hot craw, hot snakes, motor oil, mud bug, the deal and watermelon red) in packs of six. Price: SRP $11.95 www.z-man.com.au

The team at Venom Rods has designed a series of rods to take on the biggest predators in the ocean: the Ocean Gladiator series. There are four rods in the range: a 15kg slick butt stroker, a 24kg slick butt stroker, a 36kg slick butt stroker and a 60kg bent butt stand-up rod for when things are getting serious! All rods in the range feature ALPS Zirconium guides that are constructed from SS316 anti-rust stainless in a onestamp finish to increase strength and reduce weight. The rods also make use of the ALPS CAH reel seat, a reel seat that is built from marine grade aluminium and presents with a locking centre hood and a newly designed hexagon locking nut for the ultimate in reel security. The Venom Ocean Gladiator series is built on the high modulus Venom blank, which provides incredible lightness and unparalleled strength. This ensures that while fighting a fish, the angler is not unnecessarily fatigued from fighting the weight of the outfit, and can concentrate on using the strength in the Venom blank to dictate terms to the most stubborn of fish. www.wilsonfishing.com

Please email contributions to: nicole@fishingmonthly.com.au NOVEMBER 2019






New arrivals from Yamashita are set to make their mark

Who doesn’t love targeting squid, whether it’s off the rocks, on the boat or a local jetty? Chasing them is on my to-do list on nearly every boating adventure, and I love to adapt with new techniques to get more strikes. New technologies are always developing, and they can change your ideas of how these animals hunt. Yamashita has updated its popular Egi Oh Live Search 490 Glow and Egi Oh K jig ranges, and earlier this year I decided to try them out. The Live Search 490 now has new colours and a tin sinker, and the Egi Oh K now has shallow and super shallow versions and new UV glow colours (called ‘keimura’ in Japanese). I’ve been using Yamashita jigs for a number of years and have found them to be reliable producers, and I wanted to find out whether these new models made a difference or if I should stick with the originals. The results were interesting. FIELD TESTING For both jigs I used a Shimano Zodias 6’8 3-5kg rod paired with 8lb braid and 10lb fluorocarbon leader on a Shimano Stradic 2500 ci4 reel. For this kind of

fishing your rod needs to have some give and flex for the action that’s needed to get the jigs moving around. I tied on the Egi Oh Live Search 490 first. The colour range is excellent, and I decided to start with the orange colour. Although the 490 picked up squid throughout the day, it really came into its own for those first light squid that were actively hunting their prey. The jig’s 600Hz rattle and glow, coupled with a sharp darting action, was deadly. However, when the squid were a bit flighty and wary, the 490’s sound/rattle tended to spook them. In that situation, I replaced the 490 with my old Egi Oh Live jig without the rattle, and sometimes dropped down a size if the conditions allowed. While I definitely will keep the 490 as my go-to for when the squid are actively feeding, I will continue to rely on my quiet jigs in most situations. The second product I tested was the Egi Oh K, which has a rear hydro fin for better stability on the sink. I selected the purple colour and tried it on a day when the conditions were a bit rougher, which is when you need a jig with a steady, natural sink rate. Squid can be easily put off by an unnatural looking bait. The Egi Oh K’s unique rear fin helped to create a natural flutter as the jig dropped down. As the day progressed



and I was faced with some choppy seas and a howling southerly off South Head in Sydney, the K secured some great live baits in the nasty conditions. This model is available in sizes 2.5, 3.0, and 3.5, in regular, shallow and super shallow versions. My favourite colours are gold tape, red tape and UV body. All in all, I found the Live Search 490 and Egi Oh K to be simple to use, easy to cast and very responsive to the smallest amount of action you create by whipping or lifting the rod. They’re simple enough for the novice squid fisher and technical enough for the more advanced. I matched these with long 6’8”-7’ foot rods to really allow me to whip the jigs around. You want a fair amount of give in your rods for when a big squid decides to start pulling some drag! When it comes to the price, these jigs are middle of the range, and are great quality for the price. They retail from $15$20 at most stores, and their high quality and clever design makes them significantly more effective than cheap jigs. Overall, I have been very impressed with the continuous innovation in Yamashita’s squid jigs. If you’re looking to target a new PB calamari or just want to try out this exciting form of fishing, I highly recommend them. You can view the full range at www. ejtodd.com.au. – Ben O’Brien






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Finally some warm water ILLAWARRA

Greg Clarke clarkey1@westnet.com.au

We had a pretty good run of yellowfin tuna wide of the shelf from the end of winter to early spring, with fish to 80kg smashing sauries on the surface, and plenty were caught by those with the capabilities to get 50km or more offshore. These majestic oceanic travellers with the huge trailing golden sickles seemed to be everywhere from Batemans Bay to past Sydney, with another mass off southern Queensland. We often get a winter run of fish that is usually shortlived, as they brush past on a current that carries them close enough to the coast for anglers to have a crack at them, then they are gone. However, history tells us that during November yellowfin make regular appearances around the shelf and often much closer if the water is favourable, some years coming right into the coast, and if there is plenty of food around they can stay for quite some time. These days with social media the word gets around pretty quickly, so keep your eyes and ears open for any reports, as where there is one fish there are usually many more, you just have to figure out how to get them to bite. In the past, during the ‘80s and ‘90s when there were way more fish about, they were rarely captured

trolling lures unless you scored one on a large Rapala deep diver. Just about every fish was taken on live baits or cubes, but today more fish seem to be taken trolling lures and usually skirted lures. Then again, there are 100 times more boats chasing them with this method too. It is still a good idea to keep a heap of pilchards at the ready so that when you do hook a fish on the troll, a cube trail can be set up straight away to attract and

There are plenty of trevally on the shallow reefs of the Illawarra Coast. hold any fish. Often the one you have hooked will have a dozen big tuna swimming around it, and handfeeding these fish beside the boat is way more exciting than trolling any day. It saves a lot of fuel too! There are usually a few jumbos in the mix, but the late spring run is more often than not fish in the 30-50kg range, which is nothing to scoff at, but these aren’t true monsters. Fishing for these

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models with 10kg tackle or even less is a real test of skill, whereas 15kg tackle gives a fight, but 24kg is probably overkill. Mixed in with them this month can be some solid albacore up to 15kg, so a couple of small skirts or Christmas trees in the spread will usually tempt these guys. Just like with the yellowfin, when one is hooked, go to the cubes and albies usually come up in numbers, so a lot of fun can

be had if you can keep them behind the boat. The smaller lures will pick up any striped tuna that are about, and they are good bait for everything. You may even score a big mahimahi, as a few big fish usually come though on the first push of warmer water each season, and that can happen any time now. Don’t be surprised if a big mako or blue shark pops up if there is a bit of commotion happening. They can be a nuisance or fun, depending on your perspective of big fast sharks. A few striped marlin could be around as well so anything can happen, but if it doesn’t and things are quiet and the current is slow, there is always the option of a drop over the canyons on the way home for some late gemfish or blueye trevalla for the plate. Closer in there will be plenty of trevally around the islands and Bass Point, as it is spawning time in this neck of the woods. At times they will school on the surface and are easy pickings with small lures cast in among them or put down a light berley trail in about 10m of water. Salmon will be prominent as well, and often in big schools covered with hovering seagulls picking off the small baitfish as they are pushed to the surface by the sambos. Small lures cast into the feeding school are again the best option, but plenty will be picked up with pilchard baits fished in the washes around the islands and bommies or while chasing trevally.

With all the action on the top, there is bound to be something bigger around in the form of some decent kings. Downrigged live slimies or squid will get them and there will be some on the deeper reefs as well, but if you really want some good kingfish action take a drive down the coast to The Banks this month. You may pick up a small snapper or two among the trevally, but most of the better fish will be out around 60m, so looking for bait or working any formation on the bottom with big plastics is the way to go. If the current is minimal, then a berley trail will get a few as well. The bottom bouncers are starting to get excited again, as the flatties are now well and truly on the chew, with good fish on all the sand patches all along the coast, and the leatherjackets don’t seem to be too numerous either. There have been a few barracouta still about, so the water may well be a bit chilly near the bottom. The reefs have mowies and small snapper, and a few samsonfish are starting to show as well. Pigfish, leatherjackets and trevally will fill out the catch. On the rocks it is a mixture of hot and cold, with the cold being drummer that are still very active in the washes, as the water is still cool in many places along the coast. Throw in some really nice bream and a few trevally in the washes and quieter bays, and you can see there’s plenty on offer

It’s the time of the year when the yaks start to get out and mix it with the big game boats. so we have a few kingies making an appearance and some big fish too. There should also be plenty of salmon, trevally and even a few early bonito with them. The beaches are good to go now, with plenty of whiting all along the coast with bream and salmon on most beaches. During the evenings, there are some solid tailor in the good gutters and fair numbers of school mulloway about after dark, with the chance of a bigger fish. That will increase as we get into next month when the big fish hit the beaches and who knows, they may come early, but you will never know if you never go!

are always the main target and there are heaps all over the lake, with the usual plastics and live poddies doing the damage. The drop-off is always crowded, but searching a little further where the weed beds drop into deeper water often throws up some better fish in the lesser fished areas. Whiting are over the flats and the sandy drop-offs, with worms the main bait, but if you can find a quiet spot early in the morning poppers may get a few looks as well. There are better size bream around the bridge pylons in the evenings when the pickers start to hide away, with unweighted live prawns the gun bait.

Kings are about this month, with plenty of models bigger than this out there to be caught. for the rock hoppers. Cunje, crabs and prawns are the best baits, but remember to only use Aussie prawns from bait shops and not imported prawns from the fish shop. You don’t want to introduce white spot into our system from overseas and destroy our prawn, crab and crayfish populations. On the deeper ledges and the points the water can be up to a few degrees warmer,

It’s also time to grab a few plastics and walk the beaches for flatties, flicking into likely looking spots. There are good numbers on most beaches and in the deeper gutters late in the afternoon, and there is always the chance of a mulloway as well. The estuaries will really start to fire this month and only get better over the next few months. Flathead

Mullet, chopper tailor, longtom and a few trevally are all on the cards with the feeder streams like Mullet and Macquarie both good options if it gets a bit breezy. The prawn runs in the lake have been pretty sad over the past few seasons, but there are always enough about to kick up out of the weed for bait and on a good night there should be enough for a feed as well.

Get in before the town swells NOWRA

Johnny Nolan straydog1974@gmail.com

Can someone tell me how we got to November so quickly? I know we’re not officially in summer yet, but it’s certainly starting to feel like it has arrived. Not only because of the hot days, but also the fishing, which has really started to fire up with a rise in the water temperature. In all our local estuaries, the flatties are well and truly bitting. Jervis Bay in particular has had a good run of sand flatties around the entrance of the bay. They are one of the better eating fish in our waters with their sweet, white flesh. Being pretty easy to catch with basic tackle, they are also a good way to get the young ones into the sport.

Mark Corbin with a nice pan size red from the JB washes. For the slightly more adventurous fisher, the washes around the front of Jervis Bay have been

Lucas Martyn with a 50cm Jervis Bay sandy, the perfect eating size.

producing some nice reds. When conditions are right, flicking baits or soft plastic lures into these washes makes for some good fun and it is sometimes a bit of a lottery as to what you are going to pull out, or get pulled in by! Anything from snapper, bream, groper, kingfish and even marlin frequent these washes, so be ready for anything to happen! In the upper reaches of our rivers and in our dams, bass are on the move. A few warm days throughout September and October got things started and I’ve got a feeling the hot summer ahead is going to make for some explosive topwater action. Although we are in drought, our dams are holding on, but the creeks could do with a good flush before summer hits. The creek bass that have spawned through winter are looking to bulk up and are after an easy feed this time of the year. It’s amazing how much fun you can have on small to medium-sized bass when it is literally fish after fish hitting your lures. Remember if you’re a creek trekker, it’s coming into summer and snakes are very active, so keep one eye

on the water and the other where you’re stepping! It’s also worth remembering that snakes can swim, so if you’re sitting in your kayak also keep an eye out. I know I don’t want one sitting with me in the cockpit of my yak! It’s also time to start thinking about digging out the prawning gear, as the November dark moon often produces a good run of these tasty morsels in St Georges Basin. They usually aren’t as big as they are on the following darks, but are still big enough for a feed and some fresh or live bait. One of the most underrated and fun fish to catch in our estuaries is the old faithful mullet. They are prevalent right through all our estuary systems and November and December is a good time to chase them. A bit of recon is a good start to find where they like to school. I know in St Georges Basin that around the weedy points such as Mcleans and Lorylyn points are good spots and just require a bit of bread berley to get things happening. A simple float rig with a short drop to a number 10-12 hook with some bread or dough for bait is really all you need.

Mark Corbin making the most of his local haunts before the December holidays. For offshore fishers the marlin season is almost upon us, and I’m guessing the locals are hoping for that early run of stripes on the shelf before the school holidays start and our waters

become like the Nowra Coles car park! Tight lines everyone, and remember as we approach the busy season fishing, be patient at boat ramps and offer help where possible.

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An early season small creek bass fell victim to a fly presented by Roger Apperley on a visit home from the US. NOVEMBER 2019


Surface action really ramping up in the estuaries MERIMBULA

Stuart Hindson

We can expect pretty warm weather over the next few weeks, and I’m sure anglers fishing the local estuaries will

Pambula, with the draining tide seeming to fish better. It does become a little trickier to fish with the dropping water depths, but it’s a great time to get out of the boat and start walking the shallows where the boat can’t get to. Yes, it’s a little

For those using bait, the lower sections in Merimbula channel have seen a lot of the action. There have been plenty of bream and loads of blackfish entering the system in recent weeks, and I know plenty are getting caught. You can catch the

interesting and when you got too far away from it you didn’t get a touch. Food for thought there! ROCKS Off the rocks it’s been a little quiet. There have been a few salmon and tailor about, but on the whole the fishing has been pretty patchy. You might go a few hours and get nothing, then a school will come through and you’ll get a couple, and then nothing again. It can be pretty frustrating. Using a mixture of pilchards on ganged hooks with metal shiners up to 40g has seen the majority of the action. What has been good is the squid fishing. It’s excellent, and the aquarium wharf is the place to go.

wharf there’s plenty to be caught, and I recommend focusing your efforts early in the morning for the best results, especially on bright, clear days. OFFSHORE The fishing offshore wide has been very sporadic due east of Merimbula. There have been a few albacore getting about but they’re not thick. If you do come across a patch they are solid models around the 12kg mark, so it’s worth the effort for a quality feed. Closer to shore the bottom bouncers are having a field day, with snapper on everyone’s lips. There are plenty about, with the average fish in that 1.5-3kg mark, so they’re an ideal

concentrating on the edge of the reefs where the sand/ gravel meets the hard stuff, as this is where a lot of the action is happening. Having a good quality sounder certainly helps when trying to identify these bottom formations. A good place to try is Horseshoe to the south, with quite a few reds coming from Long Point. BEACHES The beaches have been pretty good for bream and a few whiting, and a good place to start is Merimbula main about halfway down opposite the airport. You can catch live beachworms here too, and they have been great baits lately. Pipi baits have been producing results as well. Now that

November is a great month to target mulloway on soft plastics. be getting a tad excited with the prospect of some visual surface action starting to happen. I know of a few local gurus who have already started throwing surface stickbait presentations, and they have been catching some quality bream, estuary perch and a few whiting, which is great to see so early in the season. This will only get better; with the hotter days the land will heat quickly and the shallows should warm up nicely, especially in the afternoons. The lads who have done OK so far are fishing the upper reaches of

more work, but the rewards can be well worth it. If this isn’t for you then the lower sections of Pambula are loaded with salmon towards the entrance, and they aren’t too fussy at present. Look for the boils on the water as the salmon are feeding on very small bait; it looks more like trout rises than salmon, but there’s plenty to catch. Casting an array of softies or metals will see you catch plenty. Under these schools you can encounter trevally, tailor and the odd dusky flathead too, especially if you’re casting soft plastics.

bream on fresh prawns, and the blackfish will take weed or nippers, but remember that you do have to fish light as the water is crystal clear due to the lack of rain. Up in the main basin the duskies are just starting to play, with one visiting angler I chatted to getting 13 nice fish in a session up to 71cm. That’s pretty good going in my books! The best method was soft vibes around the 10cm mark slowly hopped along the ribbon weed edges on the Southern area on the main basin. He said that most fish come from just off the weed, which was

Spotting big bream in the shallows is the easy part… getting them to bite can be a whole different story. This fish was a beast estimated at 1.5kg. I was there recently at around 8am and saw one angler catch three in 15 minutes, and they were nice 30cm hoods too, which are nice eating-sized squid. Going by the ink on the

size for the plate. Most methods are working, but micro-jigging for them has been exceptional. A few locals are cleaning up, with the fish quite widespread on most reefs. Try

the water is warming we can expect these bread and butter species to really fire up over coming weeks. November is a gun time to target both species, so get out there amongst them.

An exciting time to surface fish Narooma NAROOMA

Stuart Hindson

In this neck of the woods, November is a cracking time of year to have a fish, with most species playing the game, especially in the estuaries. It really doesn’t matter what you want to target, and with six quality estuaries to fish within 20 minutes of Narooma the rewards can be endless! Both the Narooma and Tuross systems are firing up nicely, with the latter being quite good for big flathead. There have also been reports of several mulloway around that 8kg mark captured at nigh. Most have been taken on fresh squid baits but I wouldn’t be surprised 54


Two solid whiting caught from Tuross. Fish like these are what it’s all about when fishing surface presentations. if we seeing quite a few more caught on soft plastics and soft vibes over the

coming weeks, especially in the lower sections of the system. Some decent flatties

up to 89cm have been caught in the same area so it’s definitely worth a look.

Further upstream above 4-ways and into Coopers Bay the flats are starting to fire up with the warming water, with some solid bream and whiting hitting surface presentations. It’s an exciting time of year for this technique. True, it isn’t for everyone, as more specialised tackle required for consistent results. Still, if you haven’t tried it I recommend giving it a go, as you will be pleasantly surprised not only at the results but how much fun it is! The fishing has also stepped up a notch in Wagonga Inlet, with plenty of bait to be found in the main basin. If you concentrate around these bait balls you can expect to encounter trevally, tailor, flathead and the odd mulloway when casting

bigger soft plastics. If the tailor are feeding on top, so much the better; you will lose a few lures to the choppers, but what’s lurking below is what it’s all about. Get past the tailor and you will be in business. A special mention to goes out to local gun Mark Carradus who scored a 1m+ mulloway a few weeks back. This bloke works hard for his fish, and the effort he puts in sees the fish he captures on the board consistently. Look out for more mulloway over the coming months! Those fishing offshore have done extremely well when the weather has allowed, with kingfish going gangbusters at Montague Island when To page 55

From page 54

the conditions have been right. There are a lot of fish around that 75-80cm mark, and some days it doesn’t take long to get your bag. Jigs, squid and live baits have all been working at particular times. When the current is pushing south the kingies seem to be firing up nicely, and the Northern end of the island is a good place to start. There have been fish on the Fowl House reef too, but every day is different so you have to be prepared to move around and find them. Further east there have been only a few 20-25kg yellowfin tuna caught, but just a little north of us it’s been going great guns for a few months now. We just need those fish to push a little further south. The water looks great straight out the front, with the temperature hovering around 19°C, so it’s only a

quality feed shouldn’t be that hard. The southwest corner of Montague has been good, as has Potato Point to the north of Narooma. Drifting these areas with fresh squid or pilchards should see some nice fish caught, with morwong and the odd smaller kingfish on the cards also. For the guys who target pelagics off the stones, this month is usually the start of it all. Bonito, smaller kingfish, salmon and big tailor are all possibilities, and lures and live bait are the most productive methods. Throwing ganged pilchards a long way out and slowly retrieving them will also pay dividends. Mystery Bay to the south of Narooma would be the pick, but the rocks at the golf course are worth a look too, as is the end of the northern break wall. For those after a feed, the northwest side of the

on how much white water and gutter formations are present. Anglers who have been doing well have been using live or fresh beach worm and pipi baits, which you can gather from most local beaches. Even though you have to put in a little work to get them, the results make it worthwhile. Bream, yellow-eye mullet and whiting are making up most anglers’ bags, and there are some solid fish to be caught, with some of the whiting pushing 40cm. There have been sporadic catches of salmon, but there’s been no quantity to them. Fish that are being caught are averaging 2kg or better, so they’re nice fish. Most have been caught on a paternoster rig with a bait on one hook and a popper on the other. Anglers casting metal lures have found it tough, but that can change so it’s still worth

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Young Archie (4) and his dad Jimmy with Archie’s first ever fish. Going by that grin, it’s certainly not going to be the last. matter of time before this action is on our doorstep. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few tuna at the Island, like in the old days. Let’s hope the planets align and it does happen. If the game fishing action isn’t for you, the word ‘snapper’ will make you happy! These fine eating fish are loaded on the reefs at present, and catching a

golf course rocks has been good for blackfish, with a few drummer mixed in as well. Both fresh cabbage and cunjevoi has worked, and if you can get a few smaller black crabs and fish them live, a groper is a possibility as well. The beaches have been a little patchy of late; some days are good and others very quiet. A lot depends

a try. The action should improve once we get the required conditions. We can expect a few more tailor this month, with mulloway a real chance on those moonlit nights. Beaches like Handkerchief, 1080, Tilba and Narooma main are all worth a look, as is Blackfellows Beach just South of Tuross, which is a renowned mulloway haunt.

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Brogo Dam’s bass are now back on the boil lures early in the morning or in the evening. Surface lures are a spectacular


Darren Redman

way of catching these fish, however trolling or bait fishing through the day is

also producing quite well. For those wishing to wave the long wand in the evening,


It is two years on now since the first release of estuary perch into Brogo Dam, so how are they doing? Well, to be honest I don’t really know. There have been no confirmed captures by anglers at this stage, however DPI Fisheries NSW did an electro fish late last year to discover that they were growing quick and doing very well, so hopefully we will see some of the captures at this years Brogo Bass Bash comp held in early December. At present Brogo Dam is fishing extremely well, with its population of Australian bass all fired up and well and truly on the chew. These fish are responding well to cast

This is how bass look around 12 months after being stocked.

these fish are also responding to a well-placed fly. Below the dam wall in the Brogo River, fish can be found returning after their annual spawning, with some of these fish being of quite a large size. If enough water is available in the river, small kayaks are an option where you can do a jaunt from the dam downstream to the highway bridge at Brogo Pass, and good fish can be encountered all through this section of the river. Moving further downstream on the Bega River between Bega and Tathra, especially just prior to the salt, there is some great water hosting plenty of bass, and some of these fish in recent times have been exceeding 50cm. If you want to chase these bigger fish, however, be prepared for early starts or to fish well

into the night. Again most lure patterns will work well, and if the cicadas have started to emerge from the ground there is likelihood a wellplaced fly imitating one of these insects will produce some excellent results. It’s not only bass either, and as you get to the slightly brackish water black bream and estuary perch are also likely to be a regular catch. The bream especially like to feed on the cicadas if they are around and can be quite often observed taking these insects from the surface with the tips of their mouths before dragging them beneath the water surface where they break them into more manageable portions. It is important if you are fly fishing for the bream to resist striking too early, as you may To page 57

The water stays warm BERMAGUI

Darren Redman djsxstreamfishing@bigpond.com

This year the offshore water temperatures stayed warm through the cooler months, so the fishing continued to fire. It’s been one of the best seasons in a long time, with tuna taken on a regular basis, especially yellowfin. A big bonus has been the amount of kingfish that have continued to bite, with some very big fish up to 20kg being captured in recent times. Of course Montague Island is the prime spot, but over recent years the kingies have

started to show in different areas. Close to Bermagui kingies are appearing not far east of the main headland, south around the bottom ends of the Four and Six Mile Reefs, down further south out from Goalen Head and even in the deeper water over the Twelve Mile Reef. If the kingies are not on the chew, the alternative is the abundance of bottom fish in those same areas. Flathead at this time of year are a good target, with both tigers and sandies being plentiful. Mixing with them are some reasonable gummy and whaler sharks, as well as those tasty red gurnards. On the reefs at the moment there are some

average pan-sized snapper being caught, with the odd larger one to keep things interesting. Mixing with the snapper are the regulars like nannygai, ocean perch, both species or morwong, jackets and some reasonable trevalla. For those who wish to venture out to fish the deep abyss for bottom dwellers, blue-eye trevalla, hapuka, alfonsino, cod and gemfish will all be on the short list. And who knows – one of those game fish may also just be lurking. Back on shore both the warm weather and warm water have the estuaries fired up, due to the abundance of food available within them. First light is prime

Luderick are an early season favourite. 56


For great action in the estuaries, try gathering some worms and fishing them on light tackle. time for these fish, where a well-worked lure will often secure the desired result – particularly some of those soft plastic prawn imitations kicking along the bottom. Working poppers over the shallow flats at this time of day is also effective, not only on the lizards, but for species like whiting, bream, trevally and tailor. These species like to patrol these areas for a lazy prawn that has not of yet settled back into the sand. For the best action in the estuaries try gathering some live or fresh prawns, nippers or squirt worms, fish them over the flats or around weed with light tackle, and hang on. Gamefish are definitely on the minds of many anglers, and tuna are on the top of the list. Starting with the small fry, there are schools of stripies around, keeping the action happening. These

tough little speedsters can be found from as close as a mile or two from shore all the way out and beyond the continental shelf. Light to medium tackle is all that is required with some small skirted lures on the troll. A light to medium spin stick is also handy when the schools come to the surface, where a well-placed metal lure retrieved at speed will often result in a spectacular strike. Out in the deeper blue, mixing with the stripies are albacore tuna, which are a regular catch on the troll. Small to medium skirts will work well for these fish, along with bibbed or bibless lures like Halcos, Rapalas, Yo-Zuri or Chasebaits. A good tip is to have some cut pilchards ready to throw overboard when strikes occur on the lures, as this may hold a school under the boat, and cubing or jigging may then

become an alternative to trolling. Those swimmingstyle lures are also attractive to yellow and bluefin tuna, which are in the area at present. A bucket of pilchards will work on these fish too. Make sure in your spread of trolled lures you include a large skirt or two, as there is always a chance of an early season marlin now that the water temperatures have risen. Where there are tuna there are sharks, and makos love the taste of albacore. Many a time while fighting albacore one of these sharks have brought an abrupt end to the fight, so it pays to have a shark trace handy. Alternative you can put some effort into a berley trail, especially if you have quite a few stripies. If you want to catch a mako, use plenty of tuna.

From page 56

just be taking the fly from the tips of their mouths. I can assure you though that you won’t have the same dramas with the perch or bass, as their eating habits are not as delicate as the bream. In the saltwater section of the Bega River, things have really fired up! The many estuary species start to feed on the multitude of food sources available at present, and prawns, nippers and worms can be found all throughout the system, especially in the shallow warmer water along with small bait fish and shrimp. These forage species have a tendency to congregate around the rocky shores, weed beds and some of the many snags lining the rivers edges. You can use these critters as bait, and if imitating them with lures you can tangle with some excellent black and yellowfin bream, large flathead, whiting, luderick, mulloway, perch, trevally, tailor and garfish. Neighbouring estuaries like Nelsons Lagoon and Wapengo Lake to the north are also hosting plenty of early season estuary fish like those previously mentioned. The tactics are similar within these estuaries, where they also offer anglers good wading opportunities over

the flats due to the many prawns along the coast. Early morning is a prime time to

target these species as they lie in wait for a sluggish prawn that has not returned

Releasing bass into Brogo Dam is always an exciting event.

to its daytime resting in the sand. The added bonus of so many prawns is us anglers can also feast on them, with the prime places being Wallagoot Lake south of Tathra or the Bega River at Tathra itself. Offshore water temperatures are heating up and providing excellent angling for both boat and land-based fishers. On the beaches there are plenty of whiting, bream and mullet being taken on baits like worms, nippers and pipis, while those using larger cut baits, pilchards and lures are producing a wide variety of species like tailor, salmon, the occasional mulloway and sharks at night. Another popular landbased spot to take advantage of some of those species mentioned on the beach is the Tathra Wharf. This high platform gives anglers the opportunity to observe these species passing and also tangle with the other residents such as trevally, mackerel, yellowtail and garfish. Sand flathead also become an option with a good long cast and the bait fished to the bottom. Out at sea those flathead are very abundant out from most beaches in around 25-40m of water, and mixing with them are

some nice red gurnard and the occasional gummy shark. Not surprisingly the larger gummies are coming from depths from around 40m and beyond, where some exceptional tiger flathead are also being produced. Most of the reef fishing is also pretty good, with areas like Arragunnui and Goalen Head to the north or

the White Rock area south providing regular species like snapper, perch, nannygai, morwong, leatherjackets and the occasional pigfish. All of these fish are excellent table fare. Don’t be surprised while targeting these reef fish if you encounter some kingfish, which seem to be moving up and down the coast on a regular basis.

Georgia Poyner with a nice little South Coast bream that responded to a cast lure.

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“It’s the little things you don’t see that make a difference” NOVEMBER 2019


The calm before the storm BATEMANS BAY

Anthony Stokman

November is the calm before the storm, the last quiet month before the

The air temperature is comfortable and the water temperatures are on the rise as the currents start pushing down the coast, bringing all sorts of life. The continental shelf is loading up with bait

October has had a great run of salmon on our beaches, snapper have been thick inshore and flatties and mulloway have been slowly waking up in the estuaries. This should

Andy Frawley was stoked with this big sambo taken from the beach. These bigger models are running at the moment. summer holidays, and the last time to have a quiet cast and get out and grab what spring has to offer.

and the predators are on their way, while bait is growing in the estuary and the fish are starting to wake up.

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since spring, particularly over the gravel where they tend to spawn at this time of year. You can get snapper throughout the year, but this is when they are in there greatest numbers. You can get them in all depths, but there are some good schools out in the deeper waters from 60m and deeper, and this is where micro jigs are so successful. We have mentioned them a lot and I’ll mention them again, as they seem to have grown faster than plastics when they first came on the scene. I think a lot of this growth is because of social media, which helps put trends and products in your face and makes you more willing to try them. They are so popular not only because of today’s marketing, but because they work so well! In the shallow water or slower current, you should use a lighter jig. In the deeper water where there is more current, you should opt for a heavier the jig or slimmer profile so it drops down faster; the wider the jig the more they flutter. There are a lot of brands making micro jigs, including your big brands like Shimano, Samaki, Nomad, Storm and Palms. They all work, and it comes down to picking the right weight and shape on the day. You can work them slowly, with twitches and hops, or you can just leave them still and let the jig do its thing with the swell. There are no rules, just repeat what catches the fish. Big plastics on paternoster rigs work well out in the depths as well. Another fish in big numbers lately has been the Aussie salmon. They are being caught right up and down the coast, with a few hotspots holding some big schools. They are great fun on metal lures, which have been very popular lately, but when salmon are in good numbers just about anything will work. Quite a few boats are trolling past headlands with small skirted lures and smaller divers are hooking up to plenty of salmon. Some big trevally have been getting caught as a welcomed by-catch.

Adam Martin has been making the most of the snapper run. In the estuary at this time of year, the flatty flickers come out to chase the big models in an attempt to break their PB. There’s one way to break into the metre club and that is to throw the biggest lure possible. Don’t be shy either: tie on a 7” plastic or a massive swimbait you normally would use on cod and cast that thing into the shallows where they are sunbaking and work it slow. You’d be surprised what even a small flathead will have a go at and if you catch the metrey, make sure you grab a photo on a Compleat Angler brag mat for your chance to win a $5000 gift voucher! Check out the details online or in store. Another species that was on fire this time last year was mulloway and there were plenty of metreplus ones caught. The same lures used for chasing big flathead are perfect for mulloway and quite often either fish are on the cards as by-catch when chasing one or the other. The estuary in general is ramping up at this time of year. The trevally usually found on the beaches also seem to be throughout the estuaries. Bream have been quite good throughout the cooler months and won’t be going anywhere as the weather warms. Estuary perch, luderick and flounder have also been featuring in reports to add to our already very healthy estuaries. The drought and lack of rain is not helping the upper

reaches and the bass fishing, but there are some deeper holes holding the odd fish or two and bass lovers will always seek these out. Going for squid is becoming more and more popular, and spending the coin on good squid rods and jigs is often how people fine-tune their art. Having a long light rod to cast the small squid jigs allows you to cover more water when casting out into open bays, and more coverage means more chances. The squid fishing is fantastic at the moment and well worth doing. We’re starting to sell quite a few crab traps now, and it’s worth the effort from here into summer. The prawns this year will probably be average to slow like last year, with some of our main systems being shut for some time now. Offshore, tuna have continued to show here and there in all shapes and sizes, but this time of year is known for school size tuna and it’s not too far away now. Marlin will be swimming down with the currents. I’m looking forward to another great month on this amazing coastline. Tight lines! • For more up-to-the-minute information on what’s biting where, drop into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay and have a chat to Anthony or one of the other friendly staff. They’re located at 65A Orient St, Batemans Bay (02 4472 2559).


Listen on 5am-6am Every Saturday

Weather brings smiles MALLACOOTA/EDEN

Kevin Gleed captainkev@wildernessfishingtours.com

Now we’re in the thick of spring, the warmer weather has put a smile on everyone’s face. With summer on its way, it won’t be long before visitors arrive for the Christmas holiday season. The Mallacoota Eden area has been lucky enough to receive a little rain over the past few months, but as with other areas, more is needed. Water temperatures are truly warming up, and at time of writing the inshore temperature is around 15°C. The warmer water temperatures will liven up all fishing options (offshore, beach, lake) adding more variety to the species available. The boat ramp at Bastion Point is filling up with sand, making heading out to sea

Good size silver trevally have been caught in the Bottom Lake. The amount of sand at the front of the harbour keeps coming back as fast as it can be dredged out, and once the summer northeasterly winds start howling, they could bring the sand back in faster

Flathead fishing is starting to fire up as summer approaches. even in a small boat near impossible. You need high tide and calm seas and the amount of sand at the lake entrance is making the bar unnavigable.

than ever. Fingers crossed the sand can be cleared, as the coming months sees the best offshore fishing Mallacoota has to offer with sand and

tiger flathead available in good sizes and numbers. The offshore fishing in Eden has been great and with excellent launching facilities, there is rarely a day where heading out to sea is a problem. Good catches of sand and tiger flathead have been made along with snapper and morwong from the inshore reefs. Kingfish and the gamefishing season should fire up over the coming months. The beaches in the area have been fishing well for salmon around the top of the tide, with plenty of good gutters to be found. The warmer water will see whiting, bream and the odd mulloway feature in catches over the coming months. This time of year sees dusky flathead wake up, with numbers of good eating size fish caught. Black and yellowfin bream have been feeding in the lakes and rivers and fresh local bait like prawns and nippers have been catching fish. Lure anglers have done well on a variety of soft plastic lures. All in all, the fishing is looking good for the coming months and if we could get some good rains, it’ll be even better.

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The jetties in the Bottom Lake are a great place to wet a line. NOVEMBER 2019


2019 2019 Local Time


LAT 33° 51’ S LONG 151° 14’ E Times and Heights of High and Low Waters Times and Heights of High and Low Waters MARCH FEBRUARY JANUARY SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER Time m Time m Time Time m Time m Time m


1 1 0329 0936 TU

SU 1531 2150

2 2

0414 1025 WE MO 1627 2241

3 3 0500 1115 TH

TU 1725 2333

4 4

0545 1207 FR WE 1827

m 0541 0.08 1208 1.64 1759 0.22 2358 1.91 0633 0.14 1310 1.66 1857 0.26 1.77 0044 0.23 0720 1.65 1400 0.34 1947 1.59 0127 0.34 0803 1.63 1445 0.42 2032

Time m 0441 1.47 1.57 0.35 0.67 0.58 0318 1100 1.49 1.28 1.33 0926 WE 1652 0.42 0.53 MO 1523 2300 TU 0.50 2135 1.57 0536 1.57 1.63 0.38 0.58 0.52 0348 1208 1.51 1.30 1.30 1000 TH 1800 0.45 0.50 TU 1601 2355 WE 2210 1.50 0630 1.69 0.51 0.42 0.45 1.69 0419 1309 1.52 1.34 0.47 1036 FR 1902 WE 1644 0.48 TH 1.30 2248 1.41 0048 0.46 0.52 0.47 1.82 1.73 0452 0722 1.52 0.33 0.42 1115 SA 1403 0.52 1.39 TH 1730 1959 FR 1.31 2330 1.32 0141 0.40 0.52 0.53 1.93 1.76 0530 0814 1.50 0.22 0.39 1159 SU 1455 0.56 1.45 FR 1823 2052 SA 1.32

1 1 0341 0959 FR

16 16 17 17

6 6

0130 0725 SU FR 1403 2051

7 7 0243 0826 MO

SA 1509 2206

8 8

0400 0932 TU SU 1615 2311

9 9

0506 1036 WE MO 1714

1.58 2114 0.50 0245 1.26 0920 0.56 1600 1.54 2152 0.55 0323 1.16 0957 0.63 1635 1.52 2230 0.55 0400 1.13 1031 0.66 1710 1.52 2306 0.52 0437 1.17 1107 0.64 1745 1.55 2344

1615 2222

2 2

18 18

0424 1045 SA 1711 2315

3 3 0508 1134 SU

19 19

0207 1.41 20 5 5 0844 0.46 20 1523

0029 0632 SA TH 1302 1935


1324 2025

1529 2233

1638 2333

0541 1111 FR 1739

10 10

11 11 0042 0639 FR

11 11 0139 0745 MO

WE 1217 1844

12 12 0117 0715 SA TH 1258 1920

13 13 0149 0749 SU FR 1335 1955

14 14 0219 0821 MO SA 1410 2028

15 15 0249 0853 TU SU 1446 2100

0.60 1.59 0024 0.43 0559 1.29 1220 0.55 1900 1.62 0107 0.39 0645 1.34 1300 0.50 1940 1.65 0156 0.36 0736 1.39 1345 0.46 2024 1.66 0247 0.34 0836 1.43 1439 0.43 2113 1.65 0344 0.34 0945 1.47 1542 0.42 2205 1.62

26 26 1.31

0210 1.51

0103 0710 SU 1258 1913

1339 1950

0.17 0.54 0211 27 0812 12 0.66 0045 12 0818 27 1.52 1.51 1.53 0650 SU 1416 TU FR 1241 0.50 1901 1.32 0.70 0130 1.44 0738 MO SA 1334 0.53 1952 1.34 0.73 0215 1.37 0824 TU SU 1427 0.54 2042 1.39 0.72 0258 1.31 0911 WE MO 1520 0.55 2131

0.30 2041 1.90 0308 0.11 0921 1.63 1518 0.21 2134 1.91 0410 0.09 1037 1.71 1628 0.17 2230 1.86 0511 0.13 1152 1.77 1740 0.17 2327 1.76 0608 1256 TH 1843

28 28 29 29

30 30 31

1.62 2131 0.47 0306 1.19 0936 0.65 1610 1.54 2205 0.53 0343 1.13 1010 0.72 1642 1.48 2239 0.55 0419 1.13 1044 0.73 1713 1.45 2314 0.53 0457 1.18 1118 0.70 1745 1.47 2349

18 18 SA 1230 1.35 1909 0.51 1.74 0111 0.37 0647 WE SU 1321 1.38 2012 0.50 1.74 0215 0.37 0749 TH MO 1424 1.39 2124 0.50 1.71 0330 0.38 0903 FR TU 1535 1.40 2233 0.51 1.67 0445 0.41 1022 SA WE 1648 1.41 2334 0.54 1.60 0547 0.44 1131 SU TH 1752

20 20

21 21 22 22

23 23

SA 1416 0.45 2026 1.50 0.61 0241 1.36 0850 WE SU 1453 0.53 2100 1.51 0.63 0310 1.25 0922 TH MO 1530 0.59 2135 1.54 0.61 0339 1.21 0954 FR TU 1607 0.61 2211 1.58 0.57 1.21

13 13

14 14

15 15

0.65 1.50 0029 0.45 0619 1.33 1230 0.58 1854 1.53 0111 0.41 0707 1.41 1313 0.51 1932 1.56 0159 0.38 0802 1.47 1402 0.46 2018 1.57 0253 0.36 0909 1.53 1505 0.42 2115 1.56 0355 0.36 1028 1.58 1621 0.39 2220 1.53 0500 0.38 1144 1.62 1741 0.38 2328 1.49

1.41 0.58 0027 1.52 0640 MO FR 1233 0.48 1848 1.42 0.63 0115 1.43 0728 TU SA 1330 0.53 1942 1.43 0.66 0200 1.34 0815 WE SU 1425 0.57 2032 1.45 0.67 0243 1.27 0900 TH MO 1517 0.60 2123 1.49 0.64 0326 1.23 0946 TU 1610 0.60 2214 1.57 0.56 0408 1.25 1032 WE 1702 0.57 2304

25 25 26 26

27 27 28 28 29 30

31 0450 1117

m 0537 0.52 1230 1.76 1827 0.37 2358

m Time m 0432 1.60 1.51 0.53 0.52 0.60 0454 1124 1.77 1.27 1.19 1125 SA 1730 0.37 0.63 SA 1805 2310 SU 0.69

0049 0618 SA 1251 1946

3 3 0146 0709 SU 1342 2046

0.33 2.01 0249 0.13 0809 MO 1.61 1.57 MO 1440 2128 0.48 2145 0315 0.28 1.22 2.04 0356 0941 0.63 0.10 0919 1614 TU 1.58 1.62 TU 1545 2216 0.51 2242 0408 0.26 1.18 2.01 0457 1030 0.67 0.13 1030 1659 WE 1.55 1.65 WE 1649 2305 0.49 2331 0501 0.28 1.19 1.91 0547 1120 0.68 0.20 1134 1744 TH 1.56 1.65 TH 1745 2354 0.44 0556 0.33 1.26 1.76 0015 1210 0.63 0.31 0630 1828 FR 1.61 FR 1228 1832 0.36 0043 1.63 1.37 0.42 0052 0652 0.54 1.58 0709 1300 SA 1.69 0.43 SA 1314 1912 1915 0134 1.59 0.27 0.51 0126 0753 1.50 1.41 0744 1353 SU 0.42 0.54 SU 1355 1958 1954 1.75 0229 1.55 0.21 0.59 0158 0900 1.63 1.27 0817 1452 MO 0.31 0.64 MO 1434 2048 1.77 2031 0329 1.51 0.18 0.64 0230 1013 1.74 1.18 0851 1603 TU 0.23 0.70 TU 1513 2149 1.75 2110 0434 1.50 0.19 0.64 0301 1127 1.83 1.16 0926 1720 WE 0.18 0.72 WE 1552 2256 1.68 2149

6 6 7 7

1.66 0.46 0051 1.19 0720 0.71 1400 1.56 1958 0.52 0135 1.16 0800 0.76 1435 1.47 2033 0.56 0215 1.17 0837 0.78 1507 1.42 2106 0.56 0250 1.22 0912 0.76 1538 1.41 2138 0.53 0326 1.30 0945 0.71 1608 1.42 2210

SU 1212 1859 0.65 1.60 0103 0.49 0634 MO MO 1304 1.32 1959 0.59 1.64 0207 0.44 0737 TU TU 1405 1.38 2103 0.54 1.68 0316 0.41 0849 WE WE 1513 1.43 2206 0.50 1.70 0424 0.39 1005 TH TH 1623 1.47 2303 0.47 1.70 0523 0.38 1116 FR FR 1729 1.50 2355 0.46 1.67 0616 0.39 1222 SA SA 1828 1.53

18 18 19 19

20 20 21 21

22 22

0401 0.49 23 8 8 1019 1.38 23 1638

9 9

10 10 11 11

12 12

13 13

0.24 1.87 0.18 1.58 0.32 1.87 0.22 1.47

0.42 1.83 TH 1755 0.29 2356 1.36

14 14 0336 1002 TH TH 1633 2232

15 15 0413 1042 FR FR 1717 2317

0.64 2243 1.45 0439 0.46 1054 1.47 1708 0.56 2317 1.46 0518 0.43 1130 1.55 1740 0.49 2354 1.47 0601 0.41 1208 1.62 1814 0.43 1.47 0034 0.41 0648 1.69 1251 0.39 1852 1.45 0120 0.42 0744 1.74 1343 0.35 1939 1.42 0215 0.45 0850 1.78 1447 0.34 2038 1.38 0319 0.48 1008 1.79 1609 0.35 2154 1.34

0.47 1.63 0044 0.41 0705 SU SU 1322 1.55 1923 0.49 1.57 0129 0.45 0753 MO MO 1417 1.56 2016 0.52 1.49 0213 0.50 0839 TU TU 1510 2108 1.56 0.56 0255 1.40 0925 WE WE 1600 0.56 2158 1.55 0.60 0338 1.31 1009 TH TH 1648 0.62 2247 1.54 0.62 0420 1.24 1053 FR FR 1736 0.67 2335 1.55 0.60 0503 1.22 1136 SA SA 1824 0.68

24 24 25 25

26 26 27 27 28 28

29 29

30 30

31 SU


1 1 0024 0547 MO

16 16

0542 0633 1.55 1.29 1.26 0.54 0008 17 2 1230 1320 2 1916 0.58 0.62 17 1.26 0541 SU 1836

17 17

0536 0.50 9 24 9 1153 1.26 24 1818 0023 0630 SA 1209 1830

0516 0.48 10 25 10 1143 1.22 25 1821 0001 0558 TH TU 1131 1802


5 5

8 8

24 24

1 1 0533 1203 FR

16 16

5 5 0111 0646 TU

7 7 0437 1001 TH

23 23


4 4

0010 0554 MO 1227 1915

6 6 0322 0849 WE

22 22

Time m 0603 1.69 0.61 0.41 0.43 1.62 0410 1250 1.65 1.32 0.51 1029 SA 1848 WE 1646 0.39 FR 1.24 2249 1.43 0030 0.50 0.59 0.45 1.81 1.66 0442 0702 1.66 0.31 0.46 1105 SU 1346 0.41 1.41 TH 1729 1945 SA 1.28 2330 1.36 0128 0.41 0.56 0.50 1.93 1.70 0518 0757 1.64 0.20 0.41 1145 MO 1438 0.44 1.50 FR 1815 2038 SU 1.32

0222 0230 0.53 1.29 1.30 1.73 0016 19 4 0901 0849 4 1537 0.55 19 0.57 0.39 0559 TU 1527

0.52 0233 0.36 1.24 2.02 1.77 0021 0905 0.59 0.14 0.37 0615 MO 1545 1.49 1.49 SA 1249 2145 SU 1.32 1927 0.59 0.53 0326 0.32 1.17 2.07 1.77 0124 0956 0.64 0.10 0.37 0711 TU 1635 1.49 1.52 MO SU 1351 2236 1.32 2043 0.57 0.54 0419 0.32 1.15 2.05 1.75 0241 1047 0.65 0.12 0.38 0822 WE 1724 1.53 1.53 TU MO 1501 2328 1.32 2159 0.50 0.56 0514 0.34 1.19 1.98 1.72 0400 1138 0.61 0.17 0.41 0938 TH 1813 WE TU 1612 1.61 1.31 2302 0.39 0.59 0020 1.53 1.28 0.39 1.67 0506 0610 0.52 1.85 0.44 1046 FR 1229 1.72 0.26 WE 1715 1901 TH 2356 0.27 1.31 0114 1.52 1.40 0.47 0.62 0600 0708 0.41 1.68 1.60 1145 SA 1321 1.83 0.36 FR TH 1810 1950 0.47

21 21


m 0020 0.20 0700 1.78 1346 0.21 1935 1.61 0108 0.31 0745 1.76 1428 0.29 2018 1.45 0151 0.43 0824 1.70 1503 0.38 2056

Local Time APRIL DECEMBER Time Time m

1218 1911

1.70 0.41 0114 1.37 0634 TU 1.74 MO 1302 0.40 2000 0017 0.54 1.26 1.81 0206 0644 0.63 0.30 0727 1325 WE 1.69 1.48 TU 1350 1930 0.42 2050 0116 0.43 1.24 1.90 0302 0739 0.67 0.22 0828 1415 TH 1.64 1.59 WE 1445 2020 0.42 2142 0212 0.34 1.27 1.95 0400 0831 0.67 0.17 0936 1501 FR 1.61 1.68 TH 1547 2108 0.40 2231 0304 0.27 1.35 1.95 0456 0922 0.63 0.17 1045 1545 SA 1.60 1.75 FR 1649 2154 0.36 2318 0357 0.25 1.46 1.88 0544 1012 0.56 0.22 1149 1629 SU 1.61 1.78 SA 1745 2240 0.32 0448 0.27 1.58 1.77 0000 1100 0.46 0.30 0628 1710 MO 1.61 1.78 SU 1244 2326 1836 0542 0.33 0.29 1.63 0039 1149 1.71 0.41 0706 1751 TU 0.36 MO 1331 1.60 1921 0011 1.74 0.29 0.42 0115 0635 1.81 1.47 0745 1239 WE 0.29 0.53 TU 1415 1831 2005 1.56 0058 1.68 0.32 0.51 0152 0732 1.88 1.33 0821 1330 TH 0.24 0.64 WE 1456 1914 1.50 2047 0147 1.60 0.36 0.59 0230 0834 1.91 1.23 0900 1428 FR 0.23 0.74 TH 1537 2003 1.44 2131 0244 1.53 0.43 0.64 0310 0941 1.91 1.17 0942 1536 SA 0.25 0.80 FR 1620 2105 1.37 2217 0348 1.49 0.50 0.65 0353 1048 1.86 1.18 1025 1652 SU 0.31 0.81 SA 1706 2219 1.31 2306 0456 1.48 0.57 0.63 0440 1149 1.79 1.23 1111 1758 MO 0.38 0.78 SU 1755 2329 2358 0556 1.51 1240 0.58 1847 1.30

2 2

3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6

7 7

m 0026 1.26 0645 0.64 1321 1.69 1928 0.45 0113 1.22 0728 0.70 1357 1.59 2003 0.51 0153 1.20 0806 0.75 1430 1.50 2036 0.55 0230 1.21 0842 0.78 1500 1.43 2107 0.56 0307 1.25 0916 0.79 1530 1.38 2140 0.55 0344 1.32 0952 0.76 1600 1.35 2213 0.53 0323 1.40 0930 0.70 1531 1.35 2148

m Time m 0524 1.78 0.72 0.53 0.33 1.55 0530 1159 1.85 1.58 0.53 1200 TU 1812 MO 1846 0.31 1.38

16 16

0.65 0005 0.47 1.33 1.83 1.59 0052 0619 0.57 0.28 0.48 0626 WE 1246 1.78 1.70 TU 1252 1900 1.45 1941 0.34 0.58 0100 0.38 1.34 1.84 1.63 0151 0712 0.60 0.27 0.45 0727 TH 1331 1.70 1.79 WE 1348 1945 1.52 2038 0.36 0.53 0154 0.32 1.37 1.80 1.64 0254 0802 0.62 0.29 0.43 0834 FR 1414 1.61 1.86 TH 1450 2030 1.58 2134 0.38 0245 0.30 0.48 1.43 1.72 1.64 0357 0851 0.62 0.35 0.42 0948 SA 1455 1.53 1.88 FR 1558 2114 1.64 2230 0.39 0.46 0335 0.32 1.52 1.62 1.62 0457 0940 0.58 0.44 0.43 1102 SU 1534 1.48 1.87 SA 1705 2157 1.68 2323 0.40 0426 0.37 0.45 1.62 1.50 1.58 0552 1029 0.51 0.53 0.46 1214 MO 1614 1.44 1.82 SU 1810 2240 1.71

17 17

18 18 19 19 20 20

21 21

22 22

0404 0.45 0516 0.51 1.52 0014 0.41 23 8 1009 1116 8 1605 1.49 23 1.72 0.50 0645 TU 1653

9 9

10 10

11 11

12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15

0.62 2226 1.36 0448 0.49 1052 1.58 1642 0.54 2307 1.37 0538 0.47 1141 1.67 1724 0.46 2355 1.37 0635 0.46 1237 1.75 1815 0.39 1.38 0050 0.46 0742 1.82 1345 0.33 1920 1.38 0158 0.46 0856 1.87 1503 0.29 2039 1.37 0312 0.48 1005 1.89 1618 0.28 2158 1.36 0422 0.50 1105 1.89 1719 0.28 2305 1.34

MO 1317 1.72 1910 0.48 1.45 0101 0.56 0735 WE TU 1414 1.71 2005 0.51 1.37 0148 0.62 0822 TH WE 1503 1.68 2056 0.54 1.30 0232 0.69 0907 FR TH 1550 2144 1.65 0.56 0315 1.26 0950 SA FR 1633 0.73 2229 1.63 0.54 0358 1.27 1031 SU SA 1714 0.73 2311 1.66 0.48 0439 1.35 1111 MO SU 1754 0.68 2353 1.72 0.41 0520 1.46 1149 TU MO 1833 0.58

24 24 25 25 26 26 27 27 28 28 29 29

30 30

0.44 1.39 0.63 0.42 1.75 2323 1.41 0609 0.52 0.42 1.30 1206 1.80 0.72 1734 0.35 1.39 0008 1.66 0.43 0.59 0704 1.86 1.24 1300 0.30 0.80 1822 1.37 0058 1.58 0.46 0.64 0802 1.89 1.21 1401 0.28 0.85 1921 1.36 0157 1.51 0.48 0.66 0901 1.88 1.23 1510 0.29 0.87 2033 1.34 0303 1.48 0.52 0.64 0958 1.84 1.28 1613 0.33 0.84 2146 1.31 0406 1.49 0.56 0.61 1048 1.78 1.35 1705 0.38 0.78 2249 1.29 0500 1.51 0.60 0.57 1131 1.71 1.44 1747 0.43 0.71 2342

31 0035 0602

1.27 0.65 TU 1227 1.62 1913 0.48

 Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Bureau of Meteorology  Copyright Commonwealth of Australia 2018, Bureau of Meteorology Datum of Predictions is Lowest Astronomical Tide Datum of Predictions is Lowest Astronomical Tide Times are in local standard time (UTC +10:00) or daylight savings time (UTC +11:00) when in effect Times are in local standard time (UTC +10:00) or daylight savings time (UTC +11:00) when in effect New Moon First Quarter Last Quarter Moon Phase Symbols Full Moon New Moon First Quarter Last Quarter Moon Phase Symbols Full Moon Tide predictions for Sydney (Fort Denison) have been formatted by the National Tidal Centre, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Copyright reserved. All material is supplied in good faith and is believed to be correct. It is supplied on the condition that no warranty is given in relation thereto, that no responsibility or liability for errors or omissions is, or will be, accepted and that the recipient will hold MHL and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Australia free from all such responsibility or liability and from all loss or damage incurred as a consequence of any error or omission. Predictions should not be used for navigational purposes. Use of these tide predictions will be deemed to include acceptance of the above conditions. 60


Recreational Fishing Update Easy Way To Report Threatened Species

Billy’s Amazing 104cm Trophy Flattie! Gun Coffs Harbour-based angler Billy Livingston recently landed this cracking 104cm dusky flathead on a swimbait in a North Coast river system. After quickly measuring it on a wet brag mat and getting a few pics, Billy swam the fish boatside before releasing it in excellent condition. Congratulations on the fish of a lifetime, Billy! Recent research by DPI Fisheries suggests big female duskies like Billy’s trophy-sized croc are viable breeders capable of producing millions of eggs each season. Google “DPI Trophy Flathead” for tips and advice on best practice catch and release techniques for these incredible estuary sportfish – handy stuff for when you catch your own metre-plus lizard!

Surprise NSW Emperors!

NSW DPI Fisheries regularly receives information about surprising catches. A good example is this impressive red throat emperor (Lethrinus miniatus) which was caught just south of Coffs Harbour, on the NSW North Coast, by gun Coffs fisho Wayne Gordon. Red throat emperor are commonly caught in Queensland waters, particularly around the Great Barrier Reef and further south to the Sunshine Coast. They are generally not a common capture south of Evans Head in NSW, although the Australian Museum has recorded sightings of red throat emperor as far south as Sydney. And while we’re talking about Sydney, angler Kyle Hoehn recently landed this spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosis) while targeting snapper off the rocks on the city’s southern outskirts. Spanglies are found from southwestern WA, around the Top End and south to the NSW Central Coast. They’re certainly not common in Sydney waters, but we have heard of a few over the years, usually as a bycatch when rock fishing. Stay tuned to the NSW DPI Fisheries Facebook page for updates on surprising and unusual catches in NSW waters!

Why You Need To ID Fish Correctly Correctly identifying some fish species can be tricky. However, it’s important to know exactly what fish you catch as different rules may apply to different species. A handy tip if you catch a fish you’re unable to identify is to carefully release it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry ... DPI’s NSW Recreational Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing Guides provide information on commonly misidentified fish such as Australian bass/estuary perch, yellowfin bream/tarwhine, mulloway/teragalin, various flatheads, crayfish and yabbie species, golden and silver perch, shortfin and longfin eels and eastern cod/trout cod/Murray cod. You can get copies of both Guides free at your local NSW DPI Fisheries office or online at www.dpi. nsw.gov.au. The Guides are also available in digital format via the FishSmart app, which is available for download via the App Store and Google Play.

Bass Mix ups can be common between similar looking fish, such as Australian bass and estuary perch. A good way to tell these species apart is to remember that an EP’s snout is more concave than a bass’s snout.

Estuary Perch

An online tool developed by DPI makes it easier to report sightings of aquatic threatened species. Launched as part of the recent National Threatened Species Day, the reporting tool features an easy-to-use form which allows you to report any aquatic threatened species (such as the Macquarie perch pictured above) you see or accidentally catch. These reports will increase DPI’s knowledge of the status and distribution of aquatic threatened species while adding significant value to surveys and habitat mapping. Find out more at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Help Protect Waterways From Pests & Disease!

Recreational fishers have a responsibility to protect and safeguard our natural assets for current and future generations. You can take the following simple steps to prevent the spread of aquatic pests and disease in NSW: • Wash and dry your boats, trailers and equipment when moving between waterways. • Report any suspected pests or disease to 1800 675 888. • Don’t use seafood meant for human consumption as bait. • Don’t use abalone as bait in order to help prevent the spread of abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG) to NSW. For more info on aquatic pests and disease, Google “NSW aquatic biosecurity”.


Golden Perch

Summertime golden tactics NEW SOUTH WALES

Chris Frith

Golden perch fishing in summer is an ironically Australian pastime. It is synonymous with cool swims to avoid cooking in the heat, and avoiding

spring. At this time of year the yellowbelly like to spread out on banks and shallow flats to feed up, and to refuel their solar batteries after the chill of winter. This often results in an early season edge bite that becomes progressively better throughout the day. The timing of this bite is

will congregate in key areas to commence breeding, and will exhibit hormone-fuelled aggression and territorial behaviour. Following the spawn, the fish will once again spread out to various areas. They will often load up on trees or other deep landmarks

Soft vibes fished through schools account for many cricket-score sessions during spawning. If you can identify a spawn point, hold there and hop soft vibes across the bottom; this works a treat in muddy or weedy areas. Larger presentations compensate for the less aggressive retrieve, and I opt for the 75mm Semi-Hardz Vibs. Brighter patterns will attract more attention, and a kill-and-burn retrieve will draw aggressive bites from interested fish. Avoid slack line during pauses, because the ‘grab, shake and leave’ bite will cause you to miss a lot of fish without an active hook-set! POST-SPAWN Late summer and through to autumn is the post spawn phase. It’s often not associated with aggressive bites and productive sessions, so a more calculated approach is needed for memorable days on the water. Sounders are an invaluable asset because you

A good way to get your first fix of post-winter gold is to search grassy banks early in the season with small profile lipless crankbaits. One of the best approaches is a vertical soft plastic presentation. Fish will often hold in deep water between 15-40ft (5-12m), and the technique involves dropping a lightly-weighted

retrieve in rivers, adding a beetle spin or swapping over to a lipless crankbait will increase your catch rates. WHERE TO TARGET In dams, golden perch will school up at areas with

Weed can be a nuisance but it often holds fish. Find the weed edge and stay there. the midday mercury peaks with shady retreats and cold drinks with a rapidly melting ice supply. Yellowbelly and humans treat summer the same way: you get your business done early before the heat, seek shade or cool areas during the day, and make time to catch up with mates. Yellowbelly just love schooling up during summer!

largely determined by the winter just gone; warmer winters will produce earlier pre-spawn bites. You can find these fish with a sounder, and likely haunts include off prominent points, creek convergences and islands. The yellas will present as spread-out, isolated fish sitting high in the water column or perusing the bottom in the shallows. Working edges

to escape the heat, and recover after an embattled breeding season. The spawn bite, commencing in late spring or early/mid summer, can provide some sensational golden sessions. Water temps are usually high, up and over 30°C, which pushes the fish deep to around the 20ft mark (6m). In rivers, these fish are best targeted in deep holes corresponding

Fishing parallel to steep banks will allow you to keep your lure at the right depth. will want to identify fishholding structure and target those areas exclusively. Standing timber or laydowns in rivers are the primary target structure, and a good scanning unit will eliminate dead water.

soft plastic to the bottom and retrieving vertically through the suspended fish. I have had good results on 1/6-1/4oz jigheads with 2-4” curl or paddle-tail plastics in dark colours. In dirty water, or in the case of a horizontal

particular landmarks or features. Look for a large area of water at their desired depth, a source of food and cover such as weed beds, typically those with easy and safe access such as an adjacent creek bed or gully.

Burning lipless crankbaits through summer schools can make for aggressive bites and memorable fishing. Yellowbelly are a main target of inland anglers, and are best targeted from spring through to autumn. Their behaviours and activities can be tracked over a season, changing as the breeding cycle progresses. PRE-SPAWN Let’s start with the pre-spawn activity in early 62


with blades, soft vibes and lipless crankbaits using a slow retrieve is best. I like Atomic Hardz Vibs in dark to natural patterns such as black beauty, ghost wakasagi and Tristo’s eagle. SPAWNING As spring progresses, yellowbelly will turn their attention to spawning. They

with river bends, where flood forces wash-out river bases to provide deeper water. These fish will respond better to more energetic, aggressive presentations. Large, rattling lipless crankbaits around 70mm are a standout. Lipless crankbaits can be fished at any depth, making them a versatile option.

If you’re releasing a fish, try to avoid unnecessary time out of the water.

Golden Perch Local knowledge or Google Earth can be helpful in identifying prominent points or submerged creek junctions in a dam or river. A good sounder is helpful but not essential. Jumping

levels, which cuts down a lot of dead water. Bends in the old river bed that form points will often hold fish. If working trees, it is often the trees lining the old river bed that are in deep

Beating the heat is a sensible approach. This early morning specimen couldn’t resist an Atomic Semi-Hardz Vib. between likely haunts until one produces repeated fish can help cut out dead time on the water. If you’re using a sounder, you should spend some time identifying submerged humps, creek beds and gullies. You’ll find that fish will regularly return to the same area each season. At the moment most impoundments are at low

enough water to harbour fish. As a general rule, I would stick to the old river bed in most impoundments at the moment. RODS, REELS AND LINE Fishing open spawn areas lends itself to spinning gear, with long casts more important than accuracy. Here is the tackle I use for different lure types.

• Blades: Samurai Infinite 6’10” 4-10lb spin rod, Daiwa Certate 2004 reel with 10lb Unitika Bream Super PE braid and 8lb Unitika FC Leader • Soft Vibes: Samurai Reaction 7’ 6-12lb spin rod, Daiwa Certate 2500 with 14lb Major Craft Dangan braid and 11lb Unitika FC leader • Lipless Crankbaits: Samurai Reaction 7’ 4-10lb spin, Daiwa Certate 2004 with 10lb Unitika Bream Super PE and 11lb Unitika FC leader. LURE SELECTION AND TECHNIQUE Aggressive goldens will hit just about anything. When the bite isn’t crash hot, however, you may have to experiment with different approaches. Early during the spawn, and during the middle of the day, I like presentations that can be fished tight to the bottom, such as vibes and blades. Natural or black patterns work best during these times, fished with slow retrieves, such as dredging or hopping. During aggressive sessions, such as a changing barometer, evening bite or summer storm activity, I’ve had great results on 60-70mm vibes. An erratic kill and burn retrieve is effective and also a lot of fun, if you like hard-hitting strikes!

Above: A prime example of schooled summer yellowbelly. Sitting in 26ft of water, these fish were targeted with dark coloured vibes. Below: When you’re looking for trees to target later in the season, the fish will show up as bright dots, or ‘footballs’.









1 10 of



Local yellas are putting on quite a show CANBERRA

Toby Grundy

There is a rapidly growing group of ACT fly fishers who are increasingly taking advantage of the superb golden perch fishing on offer after dark.

great fish on a consistent basis for those anglers using lures and targeting the overhanging willows opposite the boat ramp at the peninsula. This area is a great place to stop and catch a few yellas before heading to other parts of the lake, as it is possible to land

the points from kayak or boat. The fish are hitting a variety of lures, from small shallow divers through to blades, with captures of 2-3 golden perch not uncommon along with big numbers of redfin. The bank fishing remains hard work, but some anglers have had success by

The carp fishing, as always, has been excellent for both bait and lure fishers, and it seems like the whole lake is teeming

clearest day, with bright pink and gold coloured TN50s and 60s the pick of the lures. The dam is copping a

fish have seen every lure under the sun. Redfin remain an easy target and it is possible to catch enormous numbers of

Fly fishers like Paul Hoath have cracked the Yerrabi code.

Googong is going off at the moment, with golden perch very active around the edges. During October, anglers such as Paul Hoath and Josh Lister targeted the shallows of Lake Burley Griffin and Yerrabi Pond using black Woolly Buggers and caught a number of big yellas. The fish were sitting tight against the bank, with hook-ups occurring within centimetres of the rock walls that line these two great fisheries.

a quick fire double in next to no time. Hopping 65-80mm plastics in natural colours parallel to the overhangs will tempt the larger fish and there are always redfin holding in these areas if golden perch are off the bite. The reed-lined bank opposite Scrivener Dam car park has produced some big redfin

slow rolling Jackall TN50s near the edges of the dam wall. This area is always worth a crack, especially at dawn or dusk when golden perch move closer to the shore in search of food. Lake Tuggeranong is fishing well for medium to large redfin in a variety of locations, from the rock wall behind the college through

with enormous mudsuckers, which put up a great fight on light gear. Yerrabi Pond is definitely worth a shot this month, but focus your attention close to the bank and wait until after dark. As mentioned earlier, the flyfishers have been cleaning up by fishing close to the edges and the same technique can be applied by spin anglers fishing black grubs tight to the concrete walls lining the pond. Simply slow roll the plastic parallel to the wall and wait for a bone-jarring hit from a massive Yerrabi golden. SURROUNDS Googong Dam is a phenomenal fishery and offers the area’s best fishing at present. The golden perch are enormous and can be targeted using blades and vibes fished close to the points or slow rolled near sunken timber. I like fishing bright colours even on the

lot of pressure from anglers who have moved into the new township up the road, so if you have ever thought

small to medium reds using small plastics and blades. If fishing from the bank, head to Shannons Inlet and

Plenty of small goldens can be found sitting on the flats behind the yacht club at LBG. about trying to catch one of Googong’s legendary 70cm gold goliaths, now is the time to get out to the dam and give it a go before the

fish the length of the inlet, targeting the edges of the weed and bouncing a plastic on the spot. The reds can’t resist this technique.

Scott Godman with a well-earned chunk of Googong gold. With weed a consistent issue in Yerrabi, it is clear that Paul and Josh’s innovative approach is the way to go if chasing a large golden before cod season opens next month. LOCAL LAKES Lake Burley Griffin really fired through October and continues to produce 64


of late for kayak and boat fishers, while the flats behind the yacht club have proved a gold mine for bank fishers, as there are large packs of small golden perch holding in this area that respond well to shallow diving lures. Lake Ginninderra continues to offer excellent fishing for anglers targeting

to the flats near the skate park. Most of the better fish have been landed by anglers slow rolling beetle spins coupled with pink paddletail plastics, but there have also been a few nice golden perch caught by anglers fishing blades around the reed-lined areas in the lead up to Green Way.

There are redfin on offer at Yerrabi as well.

Have your pick of species at Lake Lyell! LITHGOW/OBERON

Glen Stewart stewie72@bigpond.com

The mixture of available freshwater species this month is hard to beat at any other time of year.

By the time December rolls around the numbers begin to thin out, so I suggest you get in early! LAKE LYELL BASS Bass are a viable option in Lake Lyell and can be caught right alongside trout in November. Both species

the bigger bass are a whole different kettle of fish. The fishing is whiteknuckle stuff, and in the drowned black wattle it’s best described as hand-tohand combat. It’s taken me a little while to adjust my

way of give, add to that a fluorocarbon leader and a tight drag and it’s a recipe for getting busted off, something that’s happened to me many times on these fish. I’ve changed the way I stand and retrieve my offering. I no longer stand straight on with my rod straight down, I now stand slightly at an angle with my rod sideways so that it cushions on the strike (not my strike but the bass’s). My casts are shorter, and the electric motor is usually pointed at 90° to where I’ve just cast.

high sticking with the rod, as more power and grunt is available from lower angles, so from the knees to just above hip height is ideal. Big bass change tact quickly, so you really need to be ready for anything… Two up is best, as a mate can quickly take over the electric motor if needed. All this sounds a bit extreme and it is, but these little changes have lifted my landing percentages greatly on these infrequent beasts. LATE SPRING STORMS Storm activity or the build up to one can send

times back to the ramp. More than once I’ve been caught out and had to pull up on a barren bank away from trees to sit out the rain and hail. Trout too, especially on small streams and rivers such as the Coxes and Fish rivers, will go nuts on a termite hatch just before a storm. Pools that only minutes before looked lifeless and dull suddenly come to life with rising trout slurping away feverishly. I’m always tempted to cover every rising fish with a cast, but it’s way better

Trout and bass can be caught at this time of the year in Lake Lyell at the same depths. They quite often will eat very similar lures, so don’t be surprised if a bass turns up in your trout trolling spread, or vice versa! Water as a medium has high thermal mass, and what this means for fishers is that it’s not as reactive to the sometimes volatile air temperature changes that can occur at this time of year.

will take very similar lures. I’ve had a long history of chasing bass in Lake Lyell, so I know they can be very fickle. I’ve come to a citizen science view that altitude and the changeable weather conditions that come with

technique (and quite a few lure losses) but my odds are way better than what they used to be. I’ve gone back to a mono leader and I will go as light as 12lb, but feel a lot more confident if its 14lb-

Smaller Lake Lyell bass, generally speaking, are a little less fussy when it comes to the changeable weather patterns that exist at higher altitudes. Hooking up is best described as pandemonium. On this set-up I usually like to give as good as I get, and sometimes bass under this sort of pressure will make for open water early, usually straight under the boat, so keeping up is paramount. I’m not a fan of

the barometer plunging, and this is quite often a trigger for fish to bite, especially our native species. I’ve had some phenomenal action on golden perch and bass just before a storm. It’s a bit hairy and you really need to take into account the risks. It’s worth knowing run

to sit your presentation out amongst the melee and wait. A slight twitch can sometimes draw the attention of a fish close by, but it can also send them packing. I hope to see you on the water soon, but until then, tight lines!


The author has adjusted his angling techniques over the years to increase the percentages of landing these beasts. It’s still far from perfect, and these fish are always going to win a few. A good example of this is brown trout in Lake Lyell happily cruising in single digit depths, feeding hard on gudgeon and yabbies. The air temperature points to deeper fish, but here they are going about their merry business.

such heights affect the bass a lot more than lakes at lower altitudes. Basically, the bite windows are a lot shorter and you really need to be Johny on the spot. Smaller bass seem a little more immune to these changes in weather, while

16lb. Some of my mates won’t fish anything less than 20lb. My reason for going with mono is its inherent ability to stretch or give. Today’s modern high modules blanks and braided lines have very little in the

Dam............................... % Full

Dam............................... % Full

Dam Aug Sep Oct Blowering 49 55 56 Brogo 91 78 70 Burrendong 5 5 4 Burrinjuck 32 33 33 Carcoar 20 21 20 Chaffey 22 21 19 Clarrie Hall 100 96 91 Copeton 9 9 8 Dartmouth 60 58 56 Eucumbene 25 27 29 Glenbawn 50 49 48 Glenlyon 9 8 3

Dam Aug Sep Oct Glennies Creek 51 49 48 Hume 37 42 40 Jindabyne 67 67 77 Keepit 1 1 1 Lostock 80 72 78 Oberon 36 35 34 Pindari 5 5 5 Split Rock 2 2 2 Tantangara 22 27 23 Toonumbar 63 55 48 Windamere 32 31 31 Wyangala 25 23 20

(All levels correct at time of going to press. Dam levels can change at any time, so please check with local authorities to ensure safe boating and fishing.) NOVEMBER 2019


Gold mining continues BATLOW

Wayne Dubois waynedubois@westnet.com.au

November is a great month in this picturesque part of the state, with all fish species now targetable and, most importantly, active. The trout season is open to fishing in the creeks and

BLOWERING GOLD The golden perch fishing at Blowering Dam in November is normally spectacular, to say the least. Every year we see giant golden perch from this waterway, some of which are up near the magical 20lb mark. To many anglers 20lb golden perch are regarded as the pinnacle of golden perch fishing and

Bait fishing with mediumsized yabbies or big juicy scrubworms around the margins of the dam will give you a good chance of hooking into a few yellas, particularly at night. Trolling or casting small hardbodies, lipless crankbaits, blades or soft plastics will work well and is a great way of searching for active fish.

Just another big impoundment golden perch! Believe it or not, Blowering Dam has far bigger ones than this. success is to keep moving and cover as much water as possible. Try to fish every bit of water that you can get a cast into. When the river is in high flow the fish will sit just about anywhere – the

the sensational trophy trout fishing this month, the giant golden perch in this lake will be very active. Using baits, lures and flies that cover both species is a great way of keeping it exciting, as you

up around the regularly flooded margins. Blind casting a standard wet fly like Mrs Simpsons or the ever-reliable Woolly Buggers in either black or olive colour, will also

Flyfishing will be hard to beat if the Tumut River is in low flow this month. rivers. On top of the great running water trout fishing to be had, the trout lakes will also fish well this month. Golden perch are in full swing in impoundments like Blowering, Burrinjuck, Mannus and Jounama. If

are held in similar regard to 100lb Murray cod. Fish of this size are relatively rare, but Blowering Dam is one of the few waterways in the country that holds both Murray cod and golden perch of this size

Trolling or casting lipless crankbaits like the Slap Walker is a great way of targeting golden perch. Murray cod are your thing then Blowering Dam is a year round Murray cod fishery, so no need to hang up the cod gear! Choosing which species to target and what waterway to fish will be the only drama you have this month. 66


and would probably be the best place for anglers to try and achieve their dream of catching one of those pinnacle fish. The golden perch will be very active this month and most techniques will catch you a fish or two.

TUMUT RIVER Giving my opinions on the best strategies to use for chasing trout in the Tumut River is always quite difficult. You just never know what the authorities have lined up for the flow of the Tumut River. Is it going to be high and raging or slow and steady? It’s anyone’s guess. I think the best thing to do is share my opinions on both, so that no matter what the flow is, you at least have some direction. If the river is flowing fairly slowly then it really doesn’t get much easier. Bait drifting in the riffle with gardenworms, PowerBait, wood grubs or maggots is a great way of getting good numbers of fish. Bait fishing in a fixed position in some of the larger slower moving holes will also get you a few fish. In the low flows, if you want really big numbers of fish then spinning or fly is the way to go. Indicator nymphing with two nymphs will account for many fish, and spinning upstream with small spinners. Hardbodies is another good way of hooking heaps of fish in the low flows. If the river is flowing high and fast there will still be plenty of fish getting caught, but they will be getting caught by fewer anglers. The difficulties involved with fishing in fast flows deters most anglers. This being said, if you know how to fish in the high flows you can still be consistently rewarded. The key to

The local trout streams are brimming with beautifully marked trout and are a great alternative when trying to find your own bit of water. river is all pretty much the same with its fast flowing, well oxygenated water. JOUNAMA DAM This lake is one of my picks of the month. On top of

just never know what you are going to hook next. As for baits, it is hard to beat fresh juicy earthworms as both golden perch and trout will be mopping these

get the attention of both species. Lure anglers will find it hard to beat a small lipless crankbait, blade, soft vibe or soft plastic in the 1-3” range.

Jounama Dam holds some massive trout and will fish well for yellas this month.

Green and gold for spring WAGGA WAGGA

Rhys Creed

Wi t h everything starting to heat up, the fishing activity is at its highest before the heat

shrimp for bait. The best option is to catch shrimp using a trap. These are cheap and you can get them at any good tackle store, and while you’re there make sure you get some aniseed soap, as this is the

target Murray cod, with the season open year-round. On the golden perch front, the water will be warming up and this means they will begin to school on the rocky banks. In the previous report I mentioned

they will still be thinking about breeding and feeding in the warmer water. The cooler water temperatures hung around this year into September, which kept the smaller fish at bay, but once October hit, they started to fire! They will continue to feed this month, and I prefer to downsize my lure to make the most of the smaller fish that are active. Casting smaller plastics and chatterbaits around the 150mm mark and trolling hardbodies in the 90-120mm mark are a good option as well. The steeper rocky banks are the most productive in summer, as these areas hold the highest concentration of fish.

Golden perch will begin to school during November, and will be very susceptible to lures. below the shallow sections. Using a diving hardbody lures, you cast across the river and let the lure swing back across. It will work away in the current as it swings across, and the fish

will have a crack as your lure is sweeping. So get out there and enjoy what is set to be a great month of fishing with plenty of options in the area.

Downsizing your lures in spring can result in more hook-ups from the smaller models. of summer arrives and slows things down again. This month there are plenty of opportunities in the region with both the dam and local rivers fishing well. MURRUMBIDGEE RIVER Both bait and lure will work wonders, and with perfect water temperatures there’s no better time to take the family, kids or a friend fishing for an afternoon or even a weekend camping.

bait and best of all you can leave it in the trap and its always good to go. Make sure you place the trap in cool shaded areas out of the current, and if you can, nice and close to reedy edges or underneath willow trees. If you’re keen on using lures, make sure you’re fishing structure in the shaded areas. This is where you will find the active and hungry fish. Casting spinnerbaits tight in against bankside structure is the

that you will find them on the grassy banks and also schooling in the standing trees. These are good areas to fish, but now as the temperature climbs, they will be starting to breed and will start to school up. I prefer to fish the wall end of the dam, around all the rocky banks, especially on the island. The fish can bulk up in good numbers and they are mostly goodsized. The best option for chasing them is to cast in

Jack Flanagan with a Blowering Dam yella taken on a soft plastic. Any of the reserves around Wagga are worth fishing, and some good areas if you’re land based are Orange Tree Point Reserve, Ashmont Reserve, 17 Mile and Oura. If you’re in a boat, Wiradjuri Reserve, Kolhagens Beach, Armstrongs Reserve, Old Man Creek Bridge, Oura or Wantabadgery are great areas. You can’t go past yabbies, worms or fresh

best technique during the day, as you can allow it to sink into the structure. Where a hardbody comes into play is early and late in the day when the fish are more keen to move off their snag and chase down a lure. BLOWERING DAM Golden Perch You can’t go past Blowering Dam in November, as not only are the golden perch in full swing, but now we can also

against the point and hop blades, plastics and lipless crankbaits back along the bottom. They will usually be sitting in 4-7m of water and they will move depending on the day, so you will just have to figure out where they are, and this is where a good quality sounder comes in. Murray Cod As for Murray cod, they will be aggressive because

Tallis Cotterill with a spring slab that took a soft plastic rolled down a rocky bank. As always, the low light is key in Blowering when chasing cod. It never really changes at all both winter and summer; the dark is key. First light is still the prime time to find that one key bite period, so make sure you are in the prime location come first light. TUMUT RIVER The Tumut is another great option to have on the list for November! The river will most likely be running mid to high in flows, but this all depends on the demand for water. The high flows do make it hard to fish, but if you know how to use it you can catch some great fish. The warmer months bring high insect activity, and the more bugs the better the trout fishing. The best way to fish the river at this time of year is to find the slow pockets and the edges away from the current. The bigger fish will be sitting in these areas looking for a feed and can be sight cast with both spin and fly methods. Another technique you can use, if the river is in mid-flow, is to find gravel beds and runs that are just




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Downsizing in the drought will bring rewards NEW ENGLAND RIVERS

Adam Townsend

With New South Wales seeing one of its worst droughts in many years, it is a surprise to see the

as landlocked pools have already started to become stagnant and unhealthy. Fingers crossed something changes very soon! It is not all bad news though. The Beardy River has been opened up to

fishing again as the trout breeding season finished on the October long weekend, and there have already been some good trout and the odd redfin caught in the past couple of weeks. Downsizing

lines and leaders to around 6-10lb and fishing small soft plastics, spinners or

 The Severn River is still open for fishing at this time of year, however with the

is heart-in-mouth stuff! Copeton Dam is currently very low, and in desperate

Jackson Haussler with a chunky yellowbelly taken on Megabass Vibration-X Lipless Crankbait.

A typical New England rainbow trout, which are awesome fun during the cod close period. fish that are being caught still in reasonably good condition. I have found that the fishing is a fair bit slower than normal, but that’s to be expected. Rivers are at an all-time low, and many rivers across the New England Tablelands have not had any flow for over 12 months now. The massive bushfires that swept across most of the state recently have also not done the rivers and surrounding creeks any favours. The fire brigade and property owners had to pump whatever water was remaining in some spots to save homes from being burnt down to the ground. Mother Nature can be so cruel sometimes. It is almost now getting to the point that even if we do get some solid rains, there could still be a bad outcome, like a fish kill,

even blades are a good way of covering ground very effectively, and are also very productive choices for this waterway.

This healthy redfin ate a lipless crankbait in a New England stream.

Murray cod breeding season being in effect until the end of this month, you’ll have to target yellowbelly. Lures up to 60-70mm long are considered to be of good length for yellowbelly. Anything larger could make it look like you’re targeting Murray cod, which can carry a pretty hefty fine from NSW DPI. I find this time of year to be the perfect time to be heading out to the local impoundments, especially Copeton Dam, as Murray cod can still be targeted in this waterway during the close if you are still after a big fish fix. This time of year as the yabbies, shrimp and baitfish become more abundant and start moving around, the yellowbelly follow, and not too far behind them are the XL Murray cod. It is not uncommon to have a big Murray cod come up and eat your golden perch or even smaller cod off the hook while fishing with lighter gear, sometimes right at the boat, which



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need of rain. Pindari Dam has been pretty touch-and-go this season, and although I have not got to spend too much time there this year, especially compared to previous seasons, I have had a few mates that have been fishing it with pretty good results. Lipless crankbaits and small blades have always been the standout lures in this waterway, as they replicate the bait. Matching the hatch is the difference between having a good trip or going home empty-handed. This time of year, with the longer days and warmer waters around, just be mindful that our native species can suffer from barotrauma pretty easily if brought from the depths reasonably quickly, so a release weight is definitely recommended if you do intend to look after your catch and release it. Tight lines and good luck on the water this month!

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Last chance to have a go at the spring bite HUNTER VALLEY

Peter Phelps

Now is the time to get out and grab your last chance at some spring fishing. The recent weather patterns indicate the fish may be starting their transition into summer spots and patterns a little sooner than desired. We’ve had hot and dry days, which is typical drought weather, with no real sight of change in the near future. The longrange forecast prediction is a hot dry summer.

I am not sure if the total fish numbers per acre is less or the bait is more abundant, but the fish always seem to hold their condition really well and certainly put the hammer down like a steam train when hooked. ST CLAIR AND GLENBAWN Lake St Clair and Lake Glenbawn unfortunately are on the downward trends. The dropping levels have the weed beds struggling to keep up. The fish are still there to be caught, but generally are a little tougher than times of rising water.

Lachie Fauchon with a bass that ate a topwater paddler on dusk. You will want to take full advantage of the mild spring weather while you can. We are now three years in since the last consistent rain or rising water levels in the impoundments. The lake levels are hanging in there though, doing their job as a reservoir for our drier times. The fish are certainly feeling the effects of this, as they tend to be lighter in weight from the lack of food and position themselves differently due to the dropping levels. In saying this, there are still fish caught during our dry spell. The fish in the local rivers and streams will be very active this month as the weather temperature creeps up. These conditions will push the fish higher upstream, and the fish will be feeding on everything from the surface to the bottom. November is a great time to be on the water. LOSTOCK Lostock is a smaller lake and due to its position in the range, it has been filling a lot quicker with the small amounts of rain. It has been up and down over the last 12 months, but the fishing has been great. This little hidden gem is worth the drive. The road in is not the greatest, but it makes up for it with a wonderful place to camp and fat spring bass willing to devour your bait. The fish in this lake hold up a lot better than the other two lakes in drought times.

Both lakes will fish fairly similar this month. The water temperature is going to be the first indication on how the fish will be positioned. Once it gets around 26°C and warmer, a lot of fish will come off the shallow cover and sit in deeper water. Anything below 26°C

I like to choose my moving baits depending on the cover I’m fishing. A spinnerbait or bladed jig comes over and through weed with ease, but I’ll go for a lipless crankbait or straight crankbait around timber and rock. Topwaters can be the same, and a constant fast-moving bait may work, but you might sometimes need to slow down and add lots of pauses and small twitches. Once the low light bite dies off, you really can’t beat a skirted jig at this time of year, as those fish will pull tight to cover as the sun rises. The skirted jig gets right down there in their face. The slow dragging and hopping action of the jig can be hard to resist for our native fish. Hard cover like timber and rock are where the jig really shines. The snagless attributes of the jig means you can place these into the thickest cover where the fish are holding up during the heat of the day. If the fishing is a little tough casting to the edges, the fish may be sitting out wider in deeper water. A sounder is very handy for finding these fish, but typically they will hold out off some significant structure from the bank. It could be a deep point, the back of a bay or creek bed swing. Generally, 20-30ft of depth is where the fish be holding this time of year. A 3/8-1/2oz blade, slowrolled deep spinnerbait, tail spinner, bladed jig or anything that vibrates should catch these fish.

have them, and they are great fun on light gear, and it helps with some eradication. Corn kernels, bread, worms or even hot chips all work on carp. Under a small float, lightlyweighted or unweighted on

resist a well-presented fly in front of them. RIVERS The fishing in the upper sections of rivers and streams, really takes off this month. The water is warm

This solid bass James Smith took from Glenbawn Dam is typical of the fish that can be caught at this time of year. a small hook is ideal. Fly fishers can also get in on the fun and sight fish these carp as they make their way around the shallow waters. There are few carp and can

and the bass are pushing upstream, aggressively feeding on their way. Topwater lures during the low light times will catch a lot of bass this

month. A weedless frog is one of my favourite ways to target these river bass. The weedless hook and skipping ability of the frog makes them deadly for getting under overhanging trees and into areas you cannot cast other lures. When it comes to sub-surface river lures, I keep the selection fairly small. These fish are typically aggressive, so I’ll chose one based on the cover I’m fishing. It is hard to go past a spinnerbait or chatterbait, as they pass over timber and rock with ease. A crankbait is another option, but treble lures can limit your success due to how close you can get them to cover. Landing in a tree branch or getting your lure stuck in reeds usually ruins a spot. Casting accuracy is important during daylight hours, so I run with lures that allow me to place them without snagging. Multiple casts to the same spot or by slightly changing angles can be what it takes to get a bite. A skirted jig and trailer will also get bites during the day by allowing you to slowly target the fish holding tight in the cover.

Ultralight 403 Ultralight Outboard Motors Henry Smith put his flyfishing skills on show with this nice carp. They will become very active over the warmer months. should see plenty of fish to target on the edges, it will just come down to the weather on the day. Low light times in the morning and afternoon or overcast and windy days will have the shallow water fish being a lot more active. These are times for a moving bait. You can really pick your poison here, and a topwater or your favourite reaction bait should work in these conditions.

Trolling deep divers that can reach 15ft or more along these areas should also catch plenty of fish. The bait fishing will be on fire for the native species this month. Yabbies or shrimp will work well, and worms are great if you cannot get any crustaceans. Another option this month is the European carp. They become really active over the summer months feeding in the shallows. Most waterways




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We’re just waiting for the season to re-open exciting lure that’s perfect for chasing yellas is the all new Barambah 80mm Jointed Perch, available in both 8ft+ and 16ft+ models. This lure is sure to be popular and could just be that something special the fish have not seen before. With only a month or so to go until cod season re-opens, dedicated goodoo hunters will be preparing for the season that lies ahead. What better way to bring it in than celebrate with the masses who will be descending on Lake Mulwala to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Yamaha Cod Classic. The Cod Classic is going to be huge. 3000+ competitors will be looking to share in the vast amounts of prizes on offer. The major prize list is mind-blowing with 10 Yamaha/Quintrex/ Humminbird boating


Tony Bennett codclassic@bigpond.com

It’s a guessing game at this time of year as to when and where the yellas will fire in Lake Mulwala. Traditionally, by the third week in October we’ve received enough warm days to see the golden perch up and about, and anglers in with a fair chance of returning home with some gold. They should well and truly be firing by now. History shows the water above Majors Creeks up to Bundalong and surrounding backwaters are the most productive. Lipless crankbaits, hardbody lures in the 50-80mm size range or smaller profile spinnerbaits in natural colours would be my preferred option. An

Oscar and Archie Becker with a nice 55cm cod. Plenty of these will be on offer come 1 December.

packages to be given away over the Cod Classic weekend. Amazingly, after the 2019 event, a total of 120 boating packages will have been given away throughout the Cod Classic’s history. You would be crazy to miss what is now one of the country’s finest fishing festivals. For more info on the Cod Classic check out www.codclassic.com.au • If you’re visiting town I urge you to call into Lake Mulwala Fish Camp & Ski (Opposite the Post Office) in Mulwala or Yarrawonga Fish Camp Ski (between Rivers and One Zac). They are your Murray cod specialists in Yarrawonga/ Mulwala and specialize in all things ‘green’! For any information on the upcoming events or fishing reports give us a hoy on 0357 443 133.

Golden days ahead ALBURY/WODONGA

Connor Heir

November is here, which is probably the most comfortable time of year to fish! We are well and truly past them cold wintery fronts and blasts, and the taste of summer is on the tips of our tongues. The excitement

the world of difference, as golden perch can be such finicky eaters. Matching the hatch can really help you land more fish. I’m going to focus on flowing water. Golden perch in different fisheries do act and feed differently, and there definitely is a few things to take on board for the different fisheries. Keep in mind, these tactics I write

Flowing water/eddies Firstly, flowing water and eddies moving into calm deeper pools. A lot of the time golden perch will sit right up the front of pools feeding on food washing down with the current. Where water flows into pools is often the first place where food will run into, so naturally feeding fish will sit up the front waiting to ambush a meal. Casting into these areas with small sinking blades, small diving hardbodies or soft plastics is usually a good way to find yourself a few fish. Be ready for a good fight too, as often golden perch sitting in the current have the upper hand and will use the current to their advantage! Sandy banks Secondly is sandy banks. Many of the golden perch

Murray cod are still an option in Eildon. I pull from flowing water systems come off sandy banks. Theories around this definitely vary, but I like to fish sandy banks simply because generally they’re easy to fish. If you’re new to fishing, this could definitely help. On sandy

Searching impoundments for goldens during November is usually worth the effort. of cod season re-opening is quickly approaching, but in the meantime, springtime golden perch are still the highlight for fishing in November. In my last report I wrote primarily about lake and impoundment fishing tactics. I focused on what to use, what to look for, techniques and line/leader classes. For November, tactics are very similar, but small details can make 70


about work for me, and as anglers we all make our own decisions and decide what works best for ourselves, and to do that you must be on the water, and that’s something we can all agree on. RIVER FISHING Rivers, backwaters or creeks can be very rewarding if fished correctly. The methods involved to finding fish in these waters vary, but here’s a few key things to keep an eye out for.

Hardbodied lures are a great tool for working structure.

banks, I love using vibes and blades. Casting these sinking lures out from the bank, allowing it hit the bottom and either slow rolling or hopping it along the sandy bottom woks well. I believe that stirring the sand up can help interest a fish enough to bite your lure, as this can imitate baitfish feeding on the bottom. Having a rod with plenty of feel will also help you keep in touch with what’s going on at the end of your line. It’s all about feel sometimes, not only for when fish attack, but also for feeling where snags are. Structure Spindly tree structure and water reeds are great places to find goldens. These types of structures hold plenty of baitfish, shrimp, yabbies and insect life. This is where a hardbody lure will become your best friend, because you will be hitting the structure a lot and a floating lure will help you bounce over the snags, but still be in the goldens’ faces. Choose lures that will dive appropriately to the given depth.  Colour change Patches of water with

colour differentiation can hold good fish. This occurs in so many aspects of fishing, but again, reasons why do vary. But I’m a strong believer that golden perch sit in these areas simply because the dirty water can give a sense of protection, as well as provide a feeding ground. If a waterway is on the rise, banks become a fish heaven to feed on, because new vegetation is exposed, and often water close to the banks becomes discoloured from mud and clay. If a waterway is too dirty, however, and there is only dirty water with no colour changes, often fishing becomes very, very tough. PERSIST With all these factors aside, you need to be out there for it to all happen. Persistence is key, and I know I often state this but it’s the biggest thing with fishing and it’s my absolute biggest tip. Do not give up, it will happen eventually, and the feeling of gaining something you worked for is absolutely worth it! So stay keen, and tight lines!

Of droughts and flooding rains ROBINVALE

Rod Mackenzie codmac@bigpond.net.au

The first few weeks of spring rolled in and out with a season that wasn’t sure on change. Warm and sunny one day, but cold, wet and windy the next. Slowly the warm sweet smell of spring ushered out the chill as bog-eye lizards and the occasional snake basked in the overdue warmth. Slowly but surely the water temperature began to climb and the annual bite of golden perch lifted in tempo. Over the past month most anglers have started to report regular captures of at least one or two fish per session. This bite continued to escalate as shrimp numbers in the river started to climb. In the Murray River at Swan Hill, anglers have been catching perch to 55cm on bait. Worms, small yabbies and fresh caught river shrimp are all on the menu. The Little Murray has also produced a few perch on bait, with the biggest reportedly caught stretching the truth mat out to 57cm. The artificial structure at Lake Boga is proving its worth, with several goodsized perch to 50cm caught on vibe style lures. A couple of Murray cod also muscled in on

the action at this location, but were quickly released to await the cod open in December. The regulator at Kangaroo Lake is running, but the perch have been slow to respond, with just the odd one taking small lures. The bite at this regulator will no doubt fire up as it does every spring as the water continues to warm. My last outing to the Murray was at Tol Tol upstream of Robinvale, where several nice perch were caught on a cocktail bait of worm and shrimp. The Murray River at Wemen is also producing a few perch on both bait and small lures. Kym Sykes from Mildura Outdoor Tackle says perch up to 48cm have been biting on both bait and lures downstream of the Mildura lock in the Murray River. Small divers, spinnerbaits and soft vibes will all tempt a bite, as will scrubworms, yabbies and river shrimp. Below the Weir at Wentworth some good perch have been caught on bait. It’s a similar story downstream along the Murray River to Fort Courage where perch continue to bite on both bait and lures. The Frenchmans Creek Regulator is a favourite and productive haunt for both angler and perch alike, but has been a bit hit and miss this past month. Some days

anglers are bagging out and the next time out they struggle to turn a reel. I would be heading out on days with high barometric pressure when the perch are more active. All up the perch bite is beginning to roll along the river and will only get better as the weather continues to warm. Even though the perch bite is improving, it has not been easy in a fluctuating river influenced by environmental flows. You might think in the middle of a drought we would be fishing rivers with minimal flow and good clarity, but this is not the case. Huge environmental flows are being pushed down the river and sent into the bush to create vast inland oceans of water. It’s claimed by the MDBA that the Murray and its rivers used to flood every two years, so this environmental flooding is designed to replicate the natural cycle. I have fished the Murray and many of the lesser rivers for more than 30 years and I do not recall the river flooding every two years as is claimed. When the river did flood it went up and down in a period of several weeks, always moving from its furthest reach out into the bush to back within the banks. Rolling and never still it was the bringer of life and welcomed by all. These new

forced environmental flows are not the true definition of flooding as they sit stationary in the bush for months on end. Once the forest is filled it’s left to sit with no flow or movement. I can’t help but wonder why these stationary floods don’t promote huge explosions of yabbies as a normal flood would bring. After all, they are meant to replicate a true flood. With a billion crustaceans hidden beneath the forest floor why do they not return through the damp ground and begin to feed in these artificial inland oceans? Could it be the stagnant water leaching off a billion tons of leaf matter is killing them before they have the chance? Many of my favourite yabby lagoons around Robinvale and Wemen no longer produce yabbies like they once did, and it has been this way only since the introduction of stationary forest flooding. There are many questions to be asked on environmental watering. Yes, the forests need water, but is it being delivered in a manner of best interest to all living creatures? In a little over a decade, cod numbers have been decimated along much of the Murray and yabby booms are a thing of the past. It seems if the rest of the land, farmers and towns are in

Nev Plant with a couple of good-sized perch landed off the bank at Tol Tol on the Murray River. drought it does not make sense with water so scarce that the bush is in flood. There is no guarantees we are not staring down the barrel of another dry year. If so, what will we be drinking and washing in? Where is the common sense behind this science? Wouldn’t that environmental water be

better left in our dwindling impoundments should this drought continue? I guess only time will tell, which I am afraid our fishes, farmers and many communities are fast running out of. I think the truth on common sense is that it’s really not that common anymore.

Season stabilises despite the slow start SNOWY MOUNTAINS

Anthony Bentley

Finally we are into some warmer weather. The rivers have been open for fishing for a few weeks now and despite the slow start to the river season with high flows and erratic weather conditions, things have started to stabilise. The rivers in the area are starting to produce quite well

with fish eating off the surface. Mayflies and caddis flies are the order of the day, with Elk hair caddis and wulff patterns working very well. The warmer days after a rainfall have been producing some great fishing opportunities. The Thredbo has been fishing well above the ski tube, right up to the village. The slower days can produce fish with a dry and dropper rig, and nymphing the deeper water with some heavier flies swung

under the bank can bring those trickier fish out to play. The Mowambah River has been fishing a little slower this season, but with some time and patience there are a few good fish to be had. The Mowambah is best fished in the earlier part of the day and just before dusk. Smaller mayfly and emerger patterns are working well. Taking your time and stalking carefully will be the difference between catching and getting skunked!

The lakes have been a bit of a hit-and-miss exercise at the moment. The calm sunny days have been good for polaroiding the edges with a few larger browns seen cruising the shoreline. A carefully presented unweighted nymph has been the undoing of these big predators. The warm evenings and night have been the best time to fish the lakes from the edges. Woolly buggers and streamer patterns slowly drawn across the bottom have been deadly.

Tassie Devils (particularly the rowleys riot) and larger streamer flies (big black woolly buggers and Jindy buggers) have been the pick for the lake fishers. The lower snow river below the dam wall has been fishing exceptionally well with both dry flies and nymphs. Lure fishers are also having moderate success at this location. This is a great section to fish despite it being a bit difficult to access. The upper Snowy from Guthega to Island Bend

is also fishing well with smaller dries and celtas providing the goods. Hopefully the dry outlook of the following months will not come to fruition and we get some solid rainfall to keep the rivers and streams alive and kicking. • Don’t forget to drop into High Country Outfitters when you are in the area for the latest fishing updates and a great range of fishing and outdoor gear!

n Trout Hatchery e d a G

Gaden Trout Hatchery

Gaden Trout Hatchery See how premier sport fish are bred and raised! Closed Anzac, Christmas, Boxing day.

Guided tours 10 am and 2 pm.

Self-guided tours on selected days. Small admission fee.

Craig Martin with an 8lb Thredbo River rainbow trout.

leaping fish * 4 species * aquaria, ponds, AV show * beautifulbreeding picnic–BBQ * smoked trout for sale area * find out about kids fishing workshops. *


Open 10 am–4 pm daily.

Gaden Rd (off Kosciuszko Rd) Jindabyne. 02 6451 3400 www.dpi.nsw.gov.au NOVEMBER 2019


Tech Tricks

Gamefishing prep BRISBANE

Gordon Macdonald masterbaitertackle@hotmail.com

With summer upon us, warmer water conditions will cause an increase in the numbers of pelagic species throughout offshore waters. Holidays are not too far away for many anglers, so now is

the time to start thinking about the gamefishing season ahead. Gamefishing is a fairly expensive yet exciting sport. With so many hours put into the actual fishing as well as money spent on boats, fuel and equipment, it pays to have everything in perfect working order for when that strike and screaming run is forthcoming.

Being prepared now for when you finally get out on the water will increase results and decrease frustration. It is not just the boat that you need to get serviced, your tackle and rigging also needs attention. Let’s look at a few items that should be checked for the upcoming gamefishing season. Prepare or despair – it’s up to you.

RODS Whatever rods you have in your arsenal, checking them will greatly reduce the chance of having frayed or broken line after that pelagic takes a screaming run. Because line runs across the guide or roller at speed, you need to check every one methodically for faults. Rollers can become stiff to the point of seizing if salt causes corrosion of the roller bush or pin. Even if the roller is running freely, it is a good idea to remove every screw and pin to lube the thread of the screw, otherwise you may go to remove it at some stage and you won’t be able to get it undone. All roller parts should be lubricated with a viscous grease or oil before reassembly. Inspect rod guides visually for cracks in the frames or inserts. A small blade can be run around the inside of the insert lightly to check for any hairline cracks. Tip runners cop a large amount of the abuse and are most likely at fault. If you have a rod with a detachable butt, cleaning the thread and applying a light coat of grease is recommended. Check over the rest of the rod to determine any additional issues.

REELS Even the best quality reels will need regular servicing to keep them in good condition. Some anglers have the time and skills to service their reels themselves but if you don’t, taking them to a store with a qualified reel mechanic is the obvious choice. Your reels will be disassembled and each part cleaned and checked for any serious wear or faults. Noisy bearings (usually slightly corroded) can be replaced and drag washers checked for wear. Before reassembly, the gears and other relevant parts are lubricated with quality water-dispersing grease and the bearings are oiled. A final check of functionality is completed once reassembly is completed. The reel should be removed from the rod so that the reel clamp nuts and area around them can also be cleaned, because this is an area where salt build up is common.

KNOTS Game fishers can use a lot of different knots, including splices, plaits, bimini twists, spider hitches and uni knots. As with your line, a knot failure can quickly disconnect you and the fish. Although you need to check some knots on a regular basis (usually daily) when gamefishing, retying all of them at the start of the season will have you ready for that first hit out. If using a hollowcore braid or Dacron backing, redoing your top shot splices is recommended. This is a little tedious but should be done at the start of every season, or at least checked and inspected thoroughly. Doubles (usually using a bimini twist, plait, Cairn’s quickie or spider hitch) should be retied and also checked for length compliance if fishing under GFAA or IGFA regulations.

LINE Due to a change in IGFA rulings a few years ago in relation to line backing and top shots, there are now numerous ways to spool your reel. Some choose straight monofilament, others do Dacron backing with a 100m or more of top shot, and others use braid backing (often hollow core) with a top shot of IGFA monofilament. Being IGFA compliant is only required if you are wishing to fish under their regulations for tournaments, club point scoring or record purposes. For the average angler, there is no stipulation on line brand, type or breaking strain. Monofilament main line and monofilament top shots should be checked for wear. If your monofilament line is becoming opaque or rough then it has deteriorated or worn out and needs to be replaced. Braided line and Dacron will also be worn if it is rough, ratty-looking or they have individual fibres protruding. Don’t skimp on line, as it’s the only thing connecting you and the fish. If you break off a fish, you are also losing an expensive lure. 72


TOOLS Gaffs should be sharpened and re-shaped if necessary. Hook-out guns, pliers, crimping pliers, knives, bill-snooters, tail ropes, flying gaffs, tag poles and the like should be checked for function and corrosion. If you use outriggers or downriggers, check the release clips and the cord/wire/mono on them, replacing or adjusting any likely to let you down. Ensure you have enough tags if necessary and that your pen for the tag cards actually writes.

Tech Tricks


WIND-ON LEADERS A well-made wind-on leader will last a good amount of time, often a season or more, but should be checked regularly to see whether the monofilament has slipped through the Dacron or whether the whipping thread that stops the Dacron from fraying at the end has begun to come undone. If both are the case then you need an entirely new leader; however, if only the whipping thread is frayed or ragged, it can be redone. Replacing all your wind-on leaders with new ones at the start of the season is a good idea. Last season’s ones can be kept for spares. Additionally, you may need to check the length of your leaders for IGFA compliance. The ball-bearing snap swivels on the end of your leaders should be checked to confirm they are spinning freely and if in doubt, replaced. Check the crimped loop attaching this snap swivel for wear, however I would always suggest cutting off the old snap off and re-crimping it or replacing with a new one.

LURE RIGGING The single or twin hook rigs in your skirted lures should be checked for wear and corrosion. Monofilament and fluorocarbon leaders should be replaced if badly chafed. Wire leaders must be corrosion free or replaced. Crimped loops should be checked for wear and redone if necessary. Hooks need to be checked for fatigue and sharpened. Anode tape may need replacing on chemically sharpened hook rigs and worn-out heat-shrink should be redone. Piano wire leaders on bibbed and lipless minnows will fatigue with numerous uses and may need replacing. Give all rigging a good check over and replace anything that is worn or in doubt.

Once your rod and reel outfit is serviced and back together with line checked or replaced, you will need to re-calibrate your drag. If you are a seasoned angler, you will have a particular drag setting that you like and will know how to do this. If you are a newbie to the gamefishing world, you can follow the basic rule of thumb with drag settings of one-third the breaking strain of the line. This means that at the full strike drag setting, the pressure needed to pull line off the spool is a third of the line’s breaking strain (i.e. 5kg for 15kg line and 8kg for 24kg line). To do this (assuming you are using the conventional lever-drag overhead) set up your rod and reel and then thread the line through the guides/rollers. Attach the line to a set of weighing scales. With the lever drag in the strike position, the scale should pull down to the desired weight as the line starts to peel off the reel. The drag adjustment knob is on the same side as the drag lever but should not be adjusted unless the lever is pulled back to the freespool position. You will probably need to do several adjustments to set the drag. Put the reel into strike and test the drag. If it’s not right, put it back into freespool to adjust tension. Repeat until you get the desired amount of drag pressure set at the strike drag position. Once the required drag pressure is set, return the lever drag to the freespool position (or just above it) so there isn’t constant pressure on the drag washers while the reels are not in use.

RIGS If you do any live baiting, you can make up extra live bait rigs that are ready for use when needed. These can be stored in a clip seal bag or a tackle wallet. You may also need to check your supply of bait jigs used to catch live baits. Other items used regularly by gamefishers such as skipping and swimming garfish rigs, rubber bands, spare hooks, an assortment of ball sinkers for live bait rigs and other rigging purposes, octopus skirts, crimps, bait stitching needles, bridling needles, waxed thread and anything else you use should all be checked and restocked. NOVEMBER 2019







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Measuring biomass in the shallows SUNTAG

Stefan Sawynok

Most months I discuss fishing competitions, monitoring and topics that surround Track My Fish. To be fair, TMF is a big part of my life, I designed the app back in 2015 and the journey to bringing the app to life was far from smooth. Last month we put through 8,500 fish and more than 4,000 competitors across a range of events here and in New Zealand. Between Tracey and myself, we have been processing catches seven days a week, there hasn’t been a weekend where we have nothing on. As odd as it might sound though, Track My Fish is not the biggest challenge I have taken on in recent years. Not long after we built the first version of Track My Fish, I took on an even

a positive effect on spawning and recruitment for key species like salmon. In many parts of Pacific North West, natural recruitment is down to 10% of what it was at its peak and given the economic and cultural significance of the species that is a big problem. In order to address that problem, massive hatcheries have been developed releasing fish into the wild and allowing them to take part in the natural growth cycle of Salmon. These hatcheryreared fish are fin clipped for easy identification and take no part in the spawning cycle. That does not prevent them from trying to do what nature intended. Each year salmon return to the place they were born to spawn, with a portion of the hatchery reared fish ending up amongst the natural spawning salmon and while they don’t breed that doesn’t mean they aren’t disruptive. As a result, there is a priority

Queensland – the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton, St Helens Bay in Mackay, and Trinity Inlet in Cairns. Net Free Zones are hugely controversial, and their implementation came only after a lot of community angst but outside of the political questions, there was the question of how would you monitor the impact of the fishing and assess fish stocks? Of course, there were all the traditional methods such as boat ramp surveys, but ever since I stepped into the industry, I have felt there needs to be a better way to do it. At the time there was a grants system being managed by Queensland Fisheries, and after conversations with all the community stakeholders and local council the need for a technological solution to counting fish was clear. Pulling that solution together would take a lot of work, but we had the community on board for the approach and the full support of council

Fig.2 Scanning a weed bed. bigger challenge, with the net result being that not just my weekends but my whole life was consumed by Infofish. In the next two articles, I will discuss that challenge, how we met it, some of the work we are doing, the future and most importantly what it means for recreational fishers. COFFEE WITH A SPLASH OF SERENDIPITY Around three years ago, while in the US I met up with a fisheries officer for coffee. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange notes on things going on in that neck of the woods and how they approached fisheries management. There were a number of fascinating, if unconventional elements to that conversation. Take their fishing problems, among the biggest we discussed was how fisheries in Washington State were struggling to get recreational fishers to take more fish. Think about that one for a second. The nature of that problem is rooted in a situation familiar to many of our fishers. The US as with most countries has built large-scale water storage but this has had anything but 76


to take out as many of these fish as possible and the conversation at the time turned to the role of recreational fishers. The interesting part of that conversation was the recreational fishers themselves were pushing back on increasing the number of fishers, there is only so much space available and it comes at a premium when the salmon runs start. There are only so many sardines you can fit in a tin. The fears were that increasing the fishers would reduce fishing quality, potentially damage stocks and end up in more conflict. These sorts of discussions are right up my alley. I love digging into the data on what motivates anglers and the ways in which anglers are complex, thoughtful and surprising. On this occasion though, there was a second even more mind-blowing part to the conversation that would lead to me going on a personal quest to tackle the problem of measuring biomass. This conversation happened in late 2016, the year a net free zone was being declared in three locations in

that this was the number one priority project in the region. I knew there would be a mountain of work to deliver, way more than we would be charging for, but some problems are worth doing that. Knowing how many fish there are in a system at a local level can only lead to better decisions and behaviours. H e a r t b r e a k i n g l y, Queensland Fisheries did not see things my way. THE GENESIS OF A TECHNOLOGY APPROACH TO MEASURING BIOMASS Among my many faults, I hate Government saying no to a well thought out idea that has real benefits. I have no problem with people saying yes to a better idea but sticking with the status quo because you don’t quite get it, that just smacks of laziness to me. Now, upfront, the failure was mine, I didn’t make the argument well enough. None the less, when Queensland Fisheries said no, I had the trigger I needed to become obsessed with developing a technology solution to assessing fish

Lake Quinault, Washington State. biomass, no matter what obstacles lay ahead. There were a lot more obstacles than I could dream of. Back to that fateful cup of coffee. When discussing the problem of increasing the recreational take the conversation went down a number of rabbit holes, as these things tend to do. One such rabbit hole was the approach of the Quinault Indian Nation to monitoring, they were using scientific echo sounders developed by a local Washington State, family run business called Biosonics. Now, I can relate to a family run business, Infofish has three generations of Sawynoks so that got my attention from the start. The use of echosounders for measuring biomass dates all the way back to the 1970s and the days of paper printouts. Fortunately, the tools have come a long way since then. The system in use by the Quinault was able to measure the size of the fish, numbers and report those details by position in the water column. Those are all key pieces of information for measuring biomass, but in the case of salmon and trout provides also a means of separating the species. In other words, here was a piece of technology that could measure a fishery, without taking fish out of the system. I ended that conversation

intrigued, but completely unaware of exactly where it would lead me. That night, I got a call from dad about the Fitzroy River. The grants program I mentioned above had just been announced and he had an idea to use sidescan imaging to look at barramundi, his thinking was to map parts of the Fitzroy River for fish using sidescan. Barramundi being a larger fish do show up on sidescan but it has to be said that in order to achieve that you need a slow moving vessel and even if you get the fish on the sounder there is the problem of how you count them. While the idea seemed feasible, a lot of manual effort was involved and the process was not very scalable. ENTER BIOSONICS INTO THE CONVERSATION The problem he enumerated sounded exactly like the problem the Quinault Indian Nation were tackling. As I would learn, sounds like is not the same as is like but at that point we were talking concepts. The first hurdle was the cost. Biosonics equipment does not come cheap, second while there was software around to process the data nothing existed to process the data in the way we needed. I have been in the software business for most my life, I wrote my

The biosonics unit in action.

first program at age 10. If you are going to write a piece of software to do a process not currently used and is based on undocumented and unknown data, take a big number and multiply by ten. That is your time and cost investment. That number came out way larger than the equipment. That is assuming that it could be done at all. There is a reason why the equipment isn’t supplied with out of the box software to do this process and the surveys active around the world came with a lot of caveats on the results. In order to make it work, we were going to have to break ground, with no guarantee that ground could be broken. Beyond that initial project application, we spent 18 months trying to get a major project up, that is, reduce the risks through a bigger funding pool. We never got past first base. In May last year, we had a small client who wanted to come on board and do a job in a hurry, that was enough for me to jump and take the risks head on. THE FIRST SURVEY Remember I said its high risk to work with an unknown process? One of the consequences of all those unknowns is change takes on a life of its own. Our data processing system for the

Biosonics has been rewritten from the ground up a dozen times since we did the first work. Some versions have not even lasted a week. Every time we went on the water, we solved a problem, which only lead to more problems to solve. Each time we uncovered a new problem invariably the processing system had to go back to the beginning. In all my time in software, including Track My Fish, which has had its share of rewrites, I have never experienced a development process quite like this. The early days were chaotic. After our first survey, we didn’t go near a client for six months as we just focused on understanding how the technology worked and how to make it do ‘something’ useful. I am well known at Fishing Monthly for essentially living in the office. I moved closer to the office in January, just so I could get home faster after midnight. None the less from the moment we started I knew what we were doing was

is a massive 30cm wide. That is not going to pick up much and as we have learned, you won’t see anything closer than three metres anyway unless it’s very big. This is where Biosonics offers a big advantage, by being able to go horizontal the range gets much larger. We have successfully pushed the range out to 200m and we regularly scan out to 150m (see Fig.1). In that first survey we pushed out to 40m, about as far as we felt safe to go, in hindsight we could have pushed the boundaries much further. Nonetheless going sideways presents new challenges. PROBLEM TWO – ALL THAT NOISE Side facing presents a new problem that down facing doesn’t. Down-facing hits the bottom roughly at right angles, the depth varies and sometimes you hit a surface but overall it’s predictable. Gravity works, the bottom is generally solid.

years, echo sounders have been used for down facing problems. This solves not just the where is the bottom problem, it largely solves the where is boat problem as well. By tracking the GPS on the vessel, you have a built-in mapping process that makes it relatively easy to work out where the fish. This also provides a simple validation mechanism. If you are doing an ocean survey and the fish are one hundred metres below, it’s not that difficult to send a camera down to check it out. The problem with side facing is the fish you are looking at are nowhere near the vessel. Not only that, when you go to three dimensions how do you know where the fish is in the water column, how do you know the bottom is the bottom? As I pointed out to one enterprising sales person, how do I mount a camera 50m away from the boat when there are trees between us and the region

Fig.1 Shallow water with trees and bottom noise. right. Even now I believe that Biosonics themselves underestimate the power of the tool they created. By the time we finished the first survey, we knew the big challenges, even if we didn’t really understand what it would take to get our heads around them. Here are five big problems. PROBLEM ONE – SHALLOW WATER The first survey was in a small lagoon about 1km long and eight metres wide. Depth wise it drops down to around 10m but mostly it’s less than two. We knew this ahead of time, and part of the reason we chose the Biosonics equipment was for its ability to scan fish both down facing and side facing. Shallow water is a real pain echosounding wise. It’s good if you do sidescan but downscan is an entirely different matter. As a rule of thumb the Biosonics system has a 1:10 ratio in terms of the beam width, that is if you are shooting 10m, the beam width is one metre wide at that point. At three metres the beam

When looking at side facing, the bottom (and for that matter the surface) acts as a boundary at the edge of the beam, not a nice wall to run up against. In side-facing gravity pushing hard things like trees to the bottom as well, which means they can end up in odd places in the beam and we are hitting them at a much different angle. What does that look like? Fig.2 presents a shot into a weed bed, which highlights exactly the problem of side facing. As you hit the weed, the whole screen lights up which makes it hard to see anything. In shallow water, you don’t even need a weed bed to lose most of the scan in this way. When shooting 150m, in 5m-deep water, things get noisy as you hit the bottom in the first third of the survey. PROBLEM THREE – GOING BEYOND THE SCREEN The next problem we encountered was the relationship between echo sounders and geography. For the most part of the last 30

we are looking? PROBLEM FOUR – WHAT ARE YOU EVEN LOOKING AT? The next problem we encountered was in assessing what we were looking at. Just taking a look at the screen, in clear water we could easily identify fish. When we exported the data that eyeball assessment turned to mush as the export contained everything – bottom noise, structure, man-made objects, fish, trees and weed. While classifying each object visually wasn’t too difficult with a little practice, that is far cry from assessing a record with a lot of numbers in it. Why would you need to? A survey we did on the Logan-Albert demonstrated the scale of the problem. In that survey we ended up with over two million tracks mostly fish but a mix of other things in there. I don’t know about you, but classifying a million of anything is beyond my sanity boundaries. Phoenix, who does a lot of the classifying and training for our fish health models can do a thousand or more fish photos in a week, so

assuming she could do the same rate, there is only 1000 weeks effort involved. Automating the classification of signals is the holy grail of echo sounders and how we solved that problem would push us the hardest of all. PROBLEM FIVE – COUNTING FISH The main reason we took on the Biosonics unit was to count fish. This should in of itself be the one thing it did well but when you take into account problems three and four that becomes a challenge – how do you know you are counting fish. The next problem was how to scale that process. The Biosonics excels in the Northern Hemisphere where the units are either fixed mounted at the edge of a river and running constantly or used for downscan. In both instances, they are looking at clean water, mapping isn’t much of a concern and in terms of counting fish, they use the bin system. The bin system cuts up the length of the beam into ‘bins’ say 5m wide and then counts the tracks in that five metre block. That approach is useful in down-scan where fish are in specific parts of the water column. In both cases, they are dealing only with clean water, no structure, so the task of fish or not fish is very simple. In our case we found even in clean water, bins were not very useful because of the size of area we were surveying. The larger the area, the less effective the bin system is as the range to the edge tends to be very variable. Also, most clients want to know something about where the fish are in the water column, so bins is not helpful at all in that case. SOLVING THE PROBLEMS We were up to our necks in it from the word go. Fortunately, this first survey was of a size and scale where we could sort out the problems manually. It wasn’t long though, in fact our very first trial survey after that where the need for automation was all too clear. We learned very early on when we got overexcited by the results that not having a good understanding of what we were looking at would bite us on the bum. Not long after the first survey we went to ground and focused on really understanding what the system was doing. We knew the potential, but we also knew that if we got the data wrong, we would end up destroying our credibility, even before we got off the ground. In the next part I will look at how we addressed some of the above challenges, what the outputs look like and how measuring biomass much faster than traditional methods provides new tools to help fishers.


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2019 Gold Coast Flathead Classic wrap up URUNGA

Dayne Taylor

The 2019 Gold Coast Flathead Classic was as awesome as always, in every single way! I fished in a 3-person team – Team Fishing Monthly Magazines – with two Gold Coast Flatty Classic rookies, Matthew McEwan and Sam Taylor, who are both very talented and accomplished anglers. Seeing as we are all from Coffs Harbour in NSW, at a town better known for bananas than flathead, we were eligible to qualify as a visiting team as well. Being modest young chaps, and collectively all self-proclaimed guns, we set a modest team goal of finishing in the top 20 visiting teams. A tough task given the quality of the

a pre-fish on the registration practice day. The other two boys had zero experience on the massive waterways that surround the Gold Coast, so it was up to me to fall back on some locations I found six years ago when I last fished the Flatty Classic. This gave us a few starting locations. We booked into a nice little Airbnb that backed onto the canals, and which was about five minutes’ drive from the tournament headquarters. It was handy having an easy drive to the end of the cul-de-sac to launch our boat each day. The first night was a chance to catch up with old friends in the fishing industry, and to meet and mingle with like-minded fishos. Our team collected our entry pack filled with all the goodies supplied

The Longest Flathead Overall prize was taken out by Hayley Cassell with this 93cm fish. Image courtesy of GCFC. stop at McDonalds then off to the ramp and launched ready to get underway by around 5.30am. Our first location was a bank between Tureen Island and the South Morton Bay islands in the main channel. We picked this spot because it held a nice secondary ledge at about 1.5m below the low tide line. It had a nice cover of healthy, short weed growth and a small drain still spilling out into the area at the bottom of the tide. On day one we arrived right

drop-off. Matt and I put a couple of extra scorers on the boat, and decided it would be our starting location every day. This proved very prosperous for the team, with Matt upgrading his PB flathead on day two when he landed our best fish of the competition, measuring in at 81cm on a 100mm Shimano Squidgy Bio Tough UV Wriggler. That’s a PB upgrade of over 10cm for Matt! After a few man hugs, high fives, some pictures

paddle-tail soft plastics. After numerous casts with hardbodied lures and curlytail plastics, I decided to try something we hadn’t yet put in front of them. The Keitech 3” Swing Impact Fat in pumpkinseed was the lure I tied on, and I immediately began to put legal fish in the boat. It turns out we were sharing this same starting location with good mates Team Wilson Fishing. We were sitting within 50m of them, watching these three guns fishing with clinical precision. Seeing Kord Luckas put three fish in four casts on the boat straight up in the final morning, knowing they had a shot at winning, was something special. Later on I’ll go into more detail on what Team Wilson Fishing was doing, but for now I will explain a little more about how we caught our fish and achieved our goal of finishing in the top 20. Each day, once the tide was cranking in on our bank, we made the 15km-long run back up towards the Gold Coast Seaway to fish the clear sand flats around Crab Island and Wave Break Island. The last two hours each day were very successful down here in the crystal-clear water. A downgrade in leader size to 6-8lb was required, and once again the Zerek Tango Shad dominated and put a swag of scoring fish on the boat for

Team Wilson Fishing getting to work on winning their second Flathead Classic. flathead guns that travel from far and wide for this event. These competitors have many years of experience flatty fishing, and we knew these guys would take a lot of beating. Due to work commitments we didn’t manage much extra time for

by some of the generous sponsors, along with our angler ID tags and score sheets to fill out each day for the rest of the week. We grabbed a nice plate of dinner from the caterer’s tent and enjoyed some live music and a couple of cold ones at the venue before

the official welcoming and briefing was done. Enough with all the cushy bits of the Classic, let’s talk about the fishing and the winners! For Team Fishing Monthly Magazines it was up at 4am, a quick fuel up at the servo, the mandatory

The event precinct had plenty to do for everyone each night.

Junior Major Prize Winner Charli Murphy with her new Quintrex and Evinrude package. Image courtesy of GCFC. 78


as the tide began to run in, while day two was around a 30-minute wait before the run-in, and day three was a short period of run-out before it stopped and turned to run-in. We had some early success in this location on day one, with Sam landing a nice 63cm flathead on a Zerek Tango Shad cast up into the draining water and cranked back out over the

and scoring, it was gently released to produce plenty more flatties for the Gold Coast in the future. I was lucky enough to score a 65cm flathead nearby a little later on in the tide on the same day. This fish also took a Zerek Tango Shad cast up shallow and worked back out over a drop-off before it was crunched. Day three in this location was all about the small

us. It was a similar pattern: casting the lures up shallow in less that 1ft of water, and cranking them out over dropoffs, ledges, and gutters into deeper water. Often we had cranky lizards chasing them and even eating them in crystal clear water right next to the boat. At the end of the competition Team Fishing Monthly Magazine finished with 1272 points and

finished in 8th place in the visiting team’s category, absolutely smashing our goal of finishing up in the top 20. As for the champs, in the three person teams it was all

During slow bite periods the crew pulled the electric up and slow trolled the Zerek Tango Shads up and back in less than 1.5m of water to find the active fish. Once

Mixed Champion Team was the Dawson Swainskis. The longest Flathead of the event was caught and released by Hayley Cassell, measuring in at 93cm.

The author with a nice 65cm flathead from day two of the Classic. about Team Wilson Fishing, who dedicate a lot of time to working out these fish. Their Zerek range of lures is a well-known brand in the flathead community, and the range has quickly branched out cover other popular Australian species, such as barra and Murray cod. Robbie, Kord and Scotty fished every morning within 50m from us, so we had a great incite into what the

they found another patch willing to bite, they would stop and pepper that area, picking up a few more out of the school. For a more in-depth rundown on exactly how the gents got the job done and how they rigged these plastics, jump onto the Zerek Fishing Australia Facebook page and check out the videos. In the individual sections

Hayley was also the lucky winner who got the chance to win a spot onboard with Team Surf Coast Marine, fishing alongside fishing and football legend Andrew Ettingshausen. A massive congratulations to all the winners and all the competitors in all the top 20s of each section. It’s a mammoth effort to be up at the pointy end in such

to give away. The online WIN a Renegade prize was taken home by Shane Porter; I’m guessing it’s the best $10 raffle ticket he’s ever bought! The junior major prize was a Quintrex Dory with an Evinrude outboard, and it was taken home by a young lady angler Charli Murphy. In the Seniors section it came down to two lucky blokes by the name of Adam Bailey and Brent Farrell, both taking home Quintrex 420 Renegade and Evinrude E-Tec boat-motortrailer packages worth over $20k each. It was absolutely awesome to see the winners’ faces as their names were read out, and to hear Brent’s back story about having never caught a flathead on a plastic until two days into the comp, only to win his first ever boat! And a massive thanks goes out to all the sponsoring businesses and brands of this competition. We anglers appreciate everything you do to help out at events like this. I also believe I speak on behalf of the competitors when I say a huge thank you to all the volunteers and committee of the Gold Coast Sport Fishing Club, who make this annual event run so smoothly. Without you all, these events literally can’t happen! Until next year, happy pre-fishing!

All fish caught at the Classic are released.

Robbie, Kord and Scotty from Team Wilson Fishing were stoked to take out the Champion Team category. TEAM RESUTS Place This fish measured 81cm and earned 207 points on the score board. boys were up to. The team were all peppering a ledge with the 3.5” Zerek Flat Shads, which they had retrofitted with painted traditional jigheads for a better hook-up rate. The boys then switched back to a weedless hook when the water level rose, and the weed began to stand upright.

we had Steven Ward take out the Champion Male section, Melinda Henderson was the Champion Lady, and Drayzen Allen was the Champion Junior. The Champion Two-Person team went to TT Lure Tough TTs, the Champion Visiting Team was the guys from Team Barambah Lures, and the

a talented and huge field of anglers. One of the big draw cards to this great event is the massive number of prizes given away on the final night during the random draw giveaways. The crew at Surf Coast Marine did a great job of preparing four fantastic boat-motor-trailer packages



1............................Wilson Fishing........................................................... 3268 2............................Team Sands............................................................... 3094 3............................Reel Easy................................................................... 2928 4............................Team ZMan 10X Tough............................................... 2833 5............................Barambah Lures........................................................ 2826 6............................Deady Fishy............................................................... 2609 7............................Lowrance Black & White............................................ 2594 8............................Show Us Ya Flatties................................................... 2571 9............................Team On Strike.......................................................... 2552 10...........................The Mad Hueys A Grade........................................... 2545 NOVEMBER 2019


Lismore local lands a victory Nick Anderson is a Lismore-based local and knows the Richmond River well. His knowledge of where to fish on what stage of the tide helped him secure his first ABT win and a spot straight into the 2019 ABT Sufix Bass Pro Grand Final at Lake St Clair. Nick’s Friday pre-fish was going to be spent driving for 40 minutes up Bungawalbin Creek, but he changed his mind in search of some new areas. While he found a few fish here and there, it wasn’t until he got to a spot in Swan Bay that he formulated a plan for his tournament to come. On day one Nick went straight to his spot at Swan Bay. It took him 15 minutes to get there, and he knew he had about 20-30 minutes to kill before the tide started to run in. He had time to set himself into position on a 20ft drop-off that came up to a 15ft flat. He was using an Ecogear ZX blade in colour 447 on a 6’ Millerod and a 2000 Daiwa Freams reel. Once the tide started pushing in it was on, and Nick was catching fish straight

Nick Anderson used his local knowledge to put together a winning bag on the Richmond River. away, and by watching his Garmin LiveScope he could see what type of hop of the blade the fish would react better to. Nick said you could see them getting

excited and flaring the gills the crunching his blade when he got twitched it the way they wanted. Catching a limit in an hour and a half and

BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Nick Anderson 2 Chris Deland 3 Keeghan Painter 4 Braden Schuch 5 Joe Allan 6 Aaron Swanson 7 Peter Phelps 8 Philip Nix 9 Brett Hyde 10 Andrew Lollback

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 8 8.21 8 7.10 8 7.09 8 6.84 8 6.82 8 6.52 8 6.49 8 6.09 8 6.05 8 6.05

Visit www.abt.org.au for entry forms. For general enquiries phone ABT on (07) 3387 0888 80


upgrading about eight times, he then headed to Bungawalbin Creek, but unfortunately couldn’t get any more upgrades. Nick finished day one


6’ Millerods spin rod 2000 Daiwa Freams Berkley X9 10lb and 8lb FC Rock leader Ecogear ZX Blade in colour 447 Nick also attributes his success to his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope sounder

coming to the scales with four fish for 3.75kg. On the second day Nick went straight back to Swan Bay. He had a lot longer to wait for the run-in tide that was so kind to him on day one, but the benefit of being local was that he had a run-out spot on the other side of Swan Bay. His non-boater Mitchell Rose opened the account by catching a good one on a spinnerbait, and before too long the tide started to push back in. Nick motored over to his flat and started catching them using his same technique from day one, hopping a ZX blade on the same 15ft flat, watching them on his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope. He ended up catching a limit by 11:00am and getting a final upgrade at around 12:00pm. He brought the heaviest bag that day to the scales, with four fish for 4.46kg, and a combined weight of 8.21kg, which sealed Nick’s first ABT win.

Scan the QR code to see Nick Anderson Interview.

Scan the QR code to see Richmond River Highlights.

NON-BOATER RESULTS Place Name 1 Paul Mazaroli 2 Mitchell Rose 3 Rodney Thorpe 4 Blair Shapland 5 Adrian Melchior 6 Mitchell Petty 7 Anthony Melchior 8 Angus Meyndershagen 9 Shaun Beekman 10 Ben Biggs

Total Fish Total Weight (kg) 8 7.91 8 7.39 8 7.19 8 6.81 8 6.77 8 6.42 8 6.42 8 6.39 8 6.15 8 6.13

First-timer from Forster scores second Chris Deland is a Forster local, and this area is known for having produced some champion anglers over the years. Chris really stepped up to the mark, earning 2nd place in his first ABT Bass Pro on a river he had never seen, let alone fished. For day one Chris had local angler Adrian Melchior as his non-boater, and the team headed up the Wilsons River for nearly an hour before getting to the spot. Chris started throwing a topwater rat around for half an hour for not even a boil before changing to a Vex blade. The blade caught some fish, but they weren’t coming in thick and fast. It wasn’t until he changed to a black and blue PF cover jig that he begun to work out a pattern. Pitching it into laydowns, weed, and whatever snags

and cover he could find, the fish just couldn’t resist this offering being dragged and twitched slowly along the bottom. Once the tide started to push in, he really started turning some numbers over, filling his bag by 10:00am and upgrading every so often after that. His limit of four bass for day one weighing 3.49kg had him in a strong position ahead of day two. For his second day Chris had Anthony Melchior (son of his day one non-boater) on board. Deland made the same run up the Wilsons arm and fished the same way as he had on day one, working his jig through snags and bouncing over rocks. He managed to find new snags and angles he left on day one, and found this was the key to catching his day two limit. He squeezed anything he could out of there,

early, which may have cost him first place, but he and Anthony fished hard all

Mazza finishes season strong Paul ‘Mazza’ Mazaroli made the trek all the way from Sydney, and loves any type of sport; he probably takes marbles seriously. One thing he really loves, however, is fishing, and he’s not too bad at it either! For the first day, Paul was fishing with boater winner Nick Anderson, which saw him heading to Swan Bay to fish a 20ft ledge with a rise to a 15ft flat. Mazza was at home fishing to schooling bass with blades, as he has competed for a few years on the ABT BREAM tour and uses this technique often. Once they got there and the tide started to run in, they went to work hopping blades down deep and catching plenty of fish, even upgrading eight times. Once the bite stopped

Paul Mazaroli (left) travelled up from Sydney to enjoy two spectacular days of fishing on the Richmond River, and ended up taking out the non-boater division and Angler of the Year! at Swan Bay, they spot hopped around a bit, even running right up Bungawalbin Creek, but

Winners Nick Anderson and Chris Deland display a sample of the well-conditioned bass the Richmond has on offer.

Scan the QR code to see Paul Mazaroli Interview.

Forster local Chris Deland (right) relied on his experience fishing on other rivers to secure a podium finish. It probably didn’t hurt to have father and son Adrian and Anthony Melchior (pictured) as his non-boaters on day one and day two respectively! catching four keepers by 11:00am. He also got busted off by some big fish

they only managed some small fish here and there. Paul said it was one of those days where he was in the zone and having a great day. They ended up bringing four fish to the scales for a total day one weight of 3.75kg. For day two Mazza drew Keeghan Painter, who had a totally different plan to his day one boater. They went in the other direction, going upstream. Pulling up at the first spot, Keeghan caught a 1.1kg bass first cast. Paul thought to himself that this was going to be a good day, and it turns out he was right. Between them they had caught their limit by 8:30am fishing blades on the riverbank drop offs. To have been a fly on the

wall watching this pair of clowns having a good day would have been hilarious, and certainly good viewing! The bite did slow down with the tide, so they headed to the launch point to see what was around, and even pulled up for lunch before heading back out once the tide started again. After lunch they upgraded once and caught a few 900g fish that were no help to them. When the pair stepped up to the scales everyone could tell they had enjoyed their day on the water. Their four bass came in at 4.16kg, giving Mazza a total weight of 7.91kg, which was enough to score him his first ABT BASS Pro win and also earn him the 2019 ABT Angler of the Year title!

BASS Pro Series presented by

day, upgrading gradually to finish with a limit of 3.61kg and total of 7.10kg. This

gave him automatic entry to the 2019 ABT Sufix BASS Pro Grand Final.

GARMIN BIG BASS Barry Reynolds managed to land an absolute horse for the Richmond River, weighing in a 1.95kg bass that he caught on a 3/8oz Bassman spinnerbait in white.






0425 230 964 – info@fishin.com.au SHOP 18, 29 KIORA RD MIRANDA NSW 2228 NOVEMBER 2019


Hobie Bream Series: Rd 8 at Port Macquarie Lowrance Round 8 of Hobie Kayak Bream Series 11 was contested over the weekend of 14-15 September at Port Macquarie. The pre-fish ban was lifted on the Friday, allowing anglers to get out on the Hastings River for the first time in a month. A good number of competitors took the opportunity to get out on the water to develop strategies for the weekend.

across the water, building up from around 9:30am. One group of competitors moved into the main channel towards the rocks on the sea wall, with others heading straight to Limeburners and the oyster racks on the northern side of the channel, and others headed further to the two canal systems. Another large group of competitors peeled off to the left from the start, and

much more of a challenge in their post spawn condition than most anglers were expecting. With the wind gusting up to 19 knots, and a strong outgoing tide working against it, the trip home was wearing on all of the anglers who had travelled to the back of the arena. At the close of the first day, Jonathon Chen (ACT) led the field on 2.34kg, and in second place was Russell Babekuhl

Day two saw similar conditions at the start, and the trip back to the event site in the afternoon was a lot easier with the wind moving

session. Having caught his fourth fish to fill his bag with just 20 minutes to go, he surmised that another hour with the tide draining out

in 2019, with eight fish for 4.75kg. Rogan won $1,980 for his magnificent effort. On day one he brought back four fish for 2.05kg,

Some competitors travelled long distances, while others focused their efforts close to the start line.

The top three: Cullen Di Mattina, Luke Rogan and Jon Chen. The system had a lot of variety to offer anglers – oyster leases, rock walls, mangroves, flats and boat hulls, canals and pontoons were all spread throughout the arena.

worked their way through moored yachts and on to the mangroves, a bridge and a couple of small, artificial coves. A small group stayed close to the start and began to immediately fish the barge

(NSW) with 2.31kg. Third place was held by 16-year-old Cullen Di Mattina (NSW) on 2.22kg, with Shaun Chapman (NSW) on 2.20kg in fourth. He was followed by Steve Crawley (Qld) whose 2.13kg

to the NE, blowing with and not against the outgoing tide. For most competitors the bite was even harder to attract than it had been on day one, but a number of anglers went against the trend, such as Warren Cossell (Qld) and Francis Di Mattina (NSW) who did better on the final day. Russell Babekhul, who had been sitting in second on day one, thought that the later run-out of the tide was another factor that had made the bite a bit tougher, particularly later in the

would have been ideal. The number of fish caught on day two was down on the first day, with 104 fish caught weighing 44.54kg at an average of 428g. In total, 221 fish were caught weighing 96.71kg at an average size of 440g over the two days. COOL HAND LUKE The last time a round was contested at Port Macquarie was in 2017, when Queenslander Luke Rogan took out the win. And it was once again Luke Rogan who took home the major prize

and followed it up with the biggest bag of the tournament, with four fish for a 2.70kg. On day two Rogan needed to do something out of the ordinary to pull back day one leader Jon Chen, so from the start, when the whole field headed off through the starting line, Rogan chucked a U-turn and headed out of sight under the bridge into the small creek that feeds the water into the starting area. He returned with one fish an hour or so later. “I went up there and returned with one fish that


Getting the post-spawn bream to bite was a challenge. On Saturday, day one of the tournament, glassy conditions and clear skies greeted the 70 competing anglers who came from Victoria, NSW, ACT and Queensland. A 15-knot SSE breeze would eventually blow 82


and the boat hulls right on the starting line. When the wind did blow up it made conditions very difficult, on a day when the bite was already tough. There were fish about, but to get them to attack a lure was

put him in fifth place, with just 140g separating the rest of the top 10. A total of 117 fish were brought back to the weigh-in, totalling 52.17kg. The average size of bream came in at 446g.

Place Angler Fish Weight 1 Luke Rogan 8 4.75kg 2 Jon Chen 8 4.37kg 3 Cullen Di Mattina 8 3.91kg 4 Mat Cameron 8 3.84kg 5 Glenn Allen 8 3.64kg 6 Russell Babekuhl 8 3.55kg 7 Jack Gammie 8 3.29kg 8 Shaun Chapman 7 3.20kg 9 Mark Young 7 3.14kg 10 Steve Crawley 6 2.99kg 11 Lynden Briggs 7 2.99kg 12 Andrew Taylor 7 2.93kg 13 Malcolm Halliday 7 2.88kg 14 Brendan Pieschel 6 2.72kg 15 Warren Cossell 5 2.49kg 16 Tony Pettie 6 2.32kg 17 Jason Meech 5 2.26kg 18 Francis Di Mattina 5 1.97kg 19 Gareth Rendell-Goodhew 5 1.94 kg 20 Byron Hill 4 1.91kg 21 Neville Enright 4 1.80kg 22 Josh Courts 3 1.70kg 23 James Kilpatrick 3 1.59kg 24 Mitchell Maddison 4 1.57kg 25 Sean Hill 5 1.54kg 26 Paul Dunlop 4 1.52kg 27 David Hedge 4 1.47kg 28 Gianni Zaniol 4 1.45kg 29 Scott Sandilands 4 1.45kg 30 Mark Knight 4 1.44kg Atomic Big Bream: Cullen Di Mattina (960g)

Prize $1,980 $1,030 + reel $670 $310 $260 $230 $210 $180 $150 $130

was just legal,” he said. “I saw plenty of big fish up there but I couldn’t catch them, so I just moved on. Then I went back up to where I went yesterday, into

“On about my second trip I bagged out, and then upgraded my small one. Then I just upgraded for the rest of the day, going back and forth. Actually, it

His bag was placed on the scales, and BANG! It was really big – 2.70kg – with an average of 675kg per fish, and his biggest fish weighing in at 910g.

said, “I think he’s got me!” Chen needed 2.42kg to regain the lead that he had established on day one. The bag went on the scales and it measured up at 2.03kg, giving John an excellent second place finish. “This was my fourth round this year,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll do the next round and get more Angler of the Year (AOY) points and be up there for the Worlds. “Today I had a pretty

started to bite, but today we just missed that opportunity.” OTHER PRIZE WINNERS Cullen Di Mattina came in third with eight fish for 3.91kg and won $670. The 16-year-old from Paddington in Sydney also caught the biggest fish of the Lowrance round over the weekend. Di Mattina took home $100 from Atomic for his Atomic Big Bream, which weighed 960g and was caught on

the angler who makes the greatest leap up the leader board from day one to day two. Dunlop had no fish on day one and caught a full bag of four bream on day two, weighing 1.52kg. In the Divisions, Cullen Di Mattina added to his list of prizes for the weekend, taking home a sponsor prize pack for the Youth Division. Ruth Beeby won the Women’s Division and Mark Knight won the Masters.

Brendan Pieschel with his day 1 bag. these little cul-de-sac looking areas to the west. One has about five pontoons in it and the other one has about 10, and I just went back and forward all day.

was kind of unbelievable – I probably upgraded four or five times.” Towards the end of the weigh-in, Rogan needed 1.87kg to take the lead.

Now all that was left to do was weigh the bag of the day one leader, Jon Chen. CHEN TAKES SECOND Jon got up on stage and, gesturing to Luke Rogan,

The Port Macquarie round attracted 70 competitors, some of whom travelled interstate to fish the event.

The system had a lot of variety on offer, including oyster leases, rock walls, mangroves, boat hulls and pontoons. good morning. I was flicking my Crabbys with hidden weights into the shady side of pontoons. I got three pretty early and then got a fairly small one, and I upgraded that twice by about 11:30. At that stage I had about 1.8kg and I was looking for a bit of a kicker to push me over the 2kg mark. “On day one I fished both canals. I got one in the small canal and the rest in the bigger one. So today [day two] I was weaving in and out of all the canals, trying to find places that hadn’t been already hit. There seemed to be fish on all the pontoons, but just getting them to bite, or being patient and waiting for them to bite, seemed to be the key. Yesterday, when we got to low tide they really

day one. It was around 200g bigger than the next biggest fish. The Mortgage Corp Monster Mover prize went to Paul Dunlop from Newcastle. The prize is for

• Thank you to our exceptional sponsors: Daiwa, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Gerber, Cranka Lures, Pro Lure, Tackle Tactics, Atomic, Lurefans, Strike Pro, Mortgage Corp, Hobie Polarized and JML.

WINNING TACKLE Rod: Major Craft Volkey VKS-63UL 6’3” Reel: Daiwa Steez Line: Various Leader: Various Lure: OSP Bent Minnow RUNNER-UP TACKLE Rod: Millerods GrubFreak and Bream Buster Reel: Shimano Stradic 1000 Line: 5lb Sunline FC Rock Hard Leader: Daiwa 5lb J Braid Lure: 2” Berkley Gulp Crabby on a 1/28oz jighead




3 Nov

East Coast Bream Series Grand Final Sussex Inlet

www.wsbb.com.au or 0403 085 696

3 Nov

Teralba Lakesiders Fishing Club C & R Junior Team Tournament, Teralba

Michele dangeranger@optusnet.com.au

16-17 Nov

Family Bassin Grand Final Lake St. Claire

Wayne Tiggermann 0412 634 288 or sanja@hwy.com.au

29 Nov-1 Dec

ABT BREAM Grand Final Gold Coast


7-8 Dec

Hobie Kayak Bream Series Round 11 Marlo


Add your tournament or competition to this list by emailing jthomas@fishingmonthly.com.au or calling 07 3387 0800 in office hours. Just supply a date, venue, tournament name and a telephone number and contact name. NOVEMBER 2019


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boats & kayaks

In the skipper’s seat

Inside story...

Sportsman Boats builds the fastest growing line of family-friendly centre console boats in-class. They are built with the latest designs, procedures and materials to give you and your family unparalleled performance with a dry, safe and comfortable ride.

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Designed to be budget-friendly, the Island Series offers the essentials for any boating family that likes to fish. These are perfect boats to earn your captain’s hat!

This month...

Gary Brown will be checking out the massive Heritage 251 powered by twin Yamaha 200hp 4-Strokes. Check it out on page 94!

86 Stay in or go out?

Sometimes as boaters we have to make this decision, and Wayne Kampe has provided some tips to help you make the right call.

88 Measuring success in the yak

Justin Willmer looks at how we gauge the success of a kayak fishing trip, and how celebrating the little things can be a good thing.

92 Kayaking for the beautiful Bello’s big bass Dayne Taylor shares some secrets of one of his favourite local bass haunts, including where to go and what to throw!



Is it worth going out? BRISBANE

Wayne Kampe wkff@aapt.net.au

The above heading sums up a question that weather forecasts have posed for me on far too many occasions, particularly when I worked full time and really appreciated my opportunities to fish mid-week. I would organise a couple of days off work, the tides would be very favourable, and everything looked good – and then the weather forecast would

The results were never worth the effort, unless the excursion saw the boat finally in a sheltered spot where we could at least wet a line in some reasonable comfort. Even so, moving to and from the hotspot was an issue. I mainly fish from open boats so I’d end up wet, frequently becoming pretty uncomfortable in the boat while moving from point to point, and there’d usually be a lot of cleaning up at the end of the day, particularly after fishing saltwater. In short, a WOTAM – Waste Of Time And Money.

at considerable expense to ensure that things are just right… and at the last minute the weather turns rotten. At times like these it’s essential to make the right decision, because when things are out of your control it’s too late to back off. It’s even worse when you have an inexperienced crew aboard, or the craft has somehow ended up in water conditions that don’t suit it one bit, and a skipper’s skill is really put to the test. The results can be disastrous. We must never be blasé about this sort of

While a half cabin provides tremendous sea-keeping capability, if sea conditions are foul the going will still be uncomfortable. winds and rough water. I’m not talking about offshore fishing here – far from it. I’ve been in the Brisbane River on big ebb tides with a stiff northeasterly wind howling, and have encountered pressure waves (often made worse by tugs) that required the boat’s bow to be elevated under power and directed

take control of a very nasty situation. A wall of white water approaching after a car carrier has rumbled past is not a pleasant sight. Trust me on that! CONSIDER BOTH PASSENGERS AND THE CRAFT The smart decision is to consider all aspects facing the passengers who will be aboard, and whether the

workable when driven in conditions that the skipper has encountered previously and can be confident in. Still, in the overall scheme of things I believe it’s wise to consider the worst likely situation, and plan along those lines. However, boats and boating conditions are only part of the picture. Let’s turn our thoughts to the crew.

That’s a decent sized boat but the confused seas are throwing it about nonetheless. suddenly deteriorate. Fresh to frightening often summed up the wind forecast, and wave heights rose from modest to mean. Sometimes I bit the bullet and launched anyway.

WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T! The question of whether to go or pull the pin is a difficult choice that all boaters face. Plans are made in good faith, and often

situation, because from time to time we are reminded of the worst case scenarios with craft and crew lost, as was the tragic case in Moreton Bay in August during a period of strong

There are rough times ahead by the look of this daylight launch shot, and later in the day with the wind up it’s probably going to be a whole lot worse to retrieve this boat.

There’s a boat in there somewhere! Think about it, would you or your crew enjoy those conditions? 86


into the approaching maelstrom quick smart. An even worse scenario might easily be encountered out in Moreton Bay in the vicinity of the main shipping channel. I’ve seen some pressure waves created by large ships moving at speed combining with chop from prevailing winds that required instant action to

boat will be comfortable and safe to travel in and fish from. Naturally, the overall design of the craft will have a major bearing on the outcome in unfavourable conditions. A cabin craft will offer far more protection from the elements than most open boats, yet a high sided open boat – say, a larger centre console – might be

People who aren’t really familiar with boating are far from ideal passengers in foul conditions, especially if family members are involved. When it comes to inexperienced boaters or children, there’s no better way to put them off boating for life than to take them out in adverse conditions and see them wet or

knocked about by rough going. It doesn’t matter how promising the fishing might be when the engine is stopped, as the damage is already done. Many a

affliction is something that a lot of people are familiar with. Planning a boating trip with someone prone to ‘mal de mer’ is not very smart if the forecast is less

The worse part about this condition is that it seems to be contagious; one crew member has a barf over the side and then another might follow suit. This is

so it’s up to the skipper to make the right decision before putting the crew and boat to the test. Granted, at times you might call off a trip only to find that the weather is much better than the forecast was. It’s frustrating when this happens, but

it’s far better to be safe than sorry. It helps if you keep checking the weather online, as the forecasts are regularly updated. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of your final decision. If the conditions are poor but you’re keen to go out, remember what

I said at the start of the article. On those times when I did go out in bad conditions, it was rarely worth it when it came to catching fish. There was plenty of work cleaning the boat when I ventured home, but very little with the filleting knife!

Higher sides and a bimini/hard top provide some comfort in less than ideal conditions, but it still pays to think carefully about the weather forecast. decent boat has been sold after very brief use because of such an event. SEA SICKNESS Ah yes, and now we come to sea sickness. This

than ideal. Those lousy sea conditions will kick-start that unpleasant sensation of tiredness, queasiness, followed eventually by a perk or two over the side.

not good for the skipper, especially if he or she is the second in line for a close look over the gunwale! A wise person knows their limitations, that’s for sure,

These conditions are the sort that are made for smaller open craft.

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www.wp.fishingmonthly.com.au NOVEMBER 2019


How to determine a successful fishing session BRISBANE

Justin Willmer Find me on Facebook at Yaks On

Hopefully you have found some time to get out on the water this month. I only managed one sneaky short kayak session in amongst a plethora of duties and prior commitments. We didn’t even get a chance to christen Sheri’s new SUP with a fish! Nevertheless, I recently read an article by a mate of mine, Sean, which got me thinking about what makes a successful kayak fishing trip or fishing trip in general. Sean and his daughter Kaitlin gave their regular fishing spots a miss due to that evil snot weed taking over and opted to head into the upper reaches of a local creek. Their aim was to explore the creek and look for good structure to fish when the weather warms. They caught a couple of small bream and an undersized flathead, however the trip was considered a success, because they discovered some awesome new water,

starting to realise that as much as I love fishing, there’s a stack of other aspects that make our kayak and SUP sessions enjoyable, and maybe we all shouldn’t judge ourselves so harshly and consider our session a failure if we don’t catch a stack of fish. There’s so many other gains from a session on the water, including exercise, clearing of the mind and reducing stress, time with family and friends, the adventure element, wildlife spotting, scenery and serenity, photo opportunities, discovering new future fishing destinations and even a bit of casting practice. Fishing with the kids land-based also reinforced the fact that you don’t need to catch an icebox full of fish to have a great day. We pumped some yabbies and had a ball catching small bream, whiting and trevally, with Slade catching plenty, Zac stoked with his first legal fish (a 31cm whiting that he chose to keep for dinner) and Cameron landing the beast of the day, a 72cm longtom. It may as well have been a marlin, as he

low tide around 5pm and, of course, it was gusting to 20 knots. I opted for my sit-inside paddle kayak, to keep it simple and keep my profile low to the water to negate the influence of the wind gusts as much as possible. I had a rod rigged with a 1/4oz 1/0 jighead and my go-to 2.5” paddletail soft plastic, and another rod rigged with a larger 3” paddle-tail on a 3/8oz jighead. I had selected a new dark silhouette colour, loaded with gold and copper flecks, as the wind was blowing onto the bank, the water was dirty and the structure was a weed edge. They were perfect conditions for the larger profile and dark silhouette colour to stand out and

This was the last the author saw of the first flathead he landed before it ejected itself from the kayak and swam away. first thing that I noticed was the amount of water in the kayak and it seemed that the leak was getting worse. I needed to get the water out of the kayak if I was going to continue fishing. I removed the two ice bricks from the zip lock bag in my icebox and used the bag to bail the kayak, before

stowing it in my pocket for the next bailing session. I normally carry a bailing sponge, which is a great accessory for kayak anglers. I started my first landbased session casting upcurrent and hopping the plastic back naturally, fanning my casts from close to the bank to almost at

Cameron scored the beast of the day, which got the kids pretty excited.

Zac was stoked with his first legal fish, a 31cm whiting. had a great time together and saw plenty of wildlife. This got me thinking about Sheri and my first SUP session together, when she took her new stand up paddleboard for its first paddle. We had a great afternoon, paddling around a local mangrove island, gaining a feel for the board, laughing, chatting and spotting wildlife. I’m 88


wrestled it up the beach on his little combo and all of the kids gathered around excitedly to point out its teeth and announce how they didn’t want to get bitten. So, was my recent short kayak fishing session a success? I’ll let you be the judge. I had a Sunday afternoon available. It was a perfect

attract the attention of the fish, so it was up first. Conditions were choppy with waves from multiple directions like a washing machine, and it was at about this point in time that I remembered there was a leak in this kayak that I had meant to sort out. I would make two casts to the edge before the kayak was almost blown back onto the bank. Then I’d paddle out again, make another two casts and paddle out again… I was having a great time. I knew I was going to have to grind it out, however I had a plan B and had put on a solid pair of water shoes so that I could pull the kayak up on the bank and fish a drain and a deeper basin landbased. I had a large dugong swimming around me for a while as I approached the drain, however I was unable to get a good photo in the lumpy conditions. First stop was the drain, and I slid onto the

bank with the waves that were rolling in with the wind and hopped out for a land-based flick. The

Late in the day, the author finally caught a keeper for dinner.

Less than ideal conditions make kayak fishing challenging.

right angles to the bank. As the plastic approached the channel edge, I had a solid hit but no hook-up. This was followed by another solid tap a couple of casts later as I was thinking it was a bream or yellowtail pike struggling to eat the larger plastic. Finally I hooked up to what felt like a reasonable flathead, only for it to shake the lure as I fought it through the solid weed on the channel edge. I had a dozen more casts for nothing and it was back into the Titanic for the paddle and fish to the next land-based destination! I paddled out, made a cast and I was on! I couldn’t believe it. I was hooked up on the new colour on my first cast after getting back into the kayak. After a stubborn fight on light gear, I had a legal flathead in the net, where it threw the lure and I was thinking how lucky I had been. By the time I had the camera ready I had been washed into the bank, waves were breaking against the side of the kayak and everything was wet, including me. A quick photo of the successful lure, a photo of the flathead in the net and then that was the last I saw of it as it leapt out of the net and slowly swam off in the shallows, after I had another swipe at it with the net. I sat for a moment being pounded by waves and pondered… do I think that my session had been a success? As I started the paddle to the basin area I leant back in the seat of the kayak and the right strap on the fitted seat snapped, leaving me uncomfortable and with minimal back support. I almost pulled the pin then, however I thought I had come this far, braved

Yep, the water level was rising in the kayak and it was time to head for home. I held that fish firmly for a quick photo and it was safely stowed in the icebox for dinner. The water in my kayak had now reached a level that filled my built-in seat. I was wet, it was getting cool and dark and I still had a few hundred metres left to paddle. Still, for some reason I had a smile on my face. Upon reaching the launch point I had to bail a lot of water out of the kayak before I could load it onto the trolley and head for home. Had my session been a success? I had battled terrible conditions, bailed my kayak out three times, lost a few fish including one that leapt out as I watched on, broken the strap on my seat and I was soaking wet. On the other hand I had christened a new plastic colour, hung

Slade with a bream from the pontoon. it was tricky to stay in touch with the lure, even on the heavier jighead and after about 15 minutes the tide had bottomed out and turned, so I opted to catch the tide home and fish along the way. My hour and a half session had been eventful, however I still hadn’t managed to land a fish that didn’t eject itself from the kayak. The turn of the tide and end of the day saw the wind drop slightly, allowing me to drift and fish more effectively on my return trip. With the slightly more comfortable fishing conditions I opted to step down to the smaller plastic and fish a bit slower, hooking another fish right on the edge that stayed hooked for a few seconds before breaking free. I was

It’s important to keep it simple and low profile in choppy conditions.

One in the hand is definitely worth more than the one that leapt back into the water! out with a large dugong, hooked a few fish and I had dinner in the icebox. I also had a smile on my face and

my wife and I both laughed as I shared my adventure with her over a fresh feed of flathead.

Overall I had only been out for a couple of hours but I always enjoy battling the elements to catch a fish, as I have done many times over 30 years of kayak fishing. I find these tougher adventures to be a rewarding challenge and they also make the magic days on the water and hot bites even better. I declared the session a success as I enjoyed dinner with my wife and made plans to either repair or retire my old sit-in kayak. Next time you’re out on the water and things aren’t going to plan, remember to stop, look around, breathe and focus on the positive elements. Focusing on the positives may change your mood and in turn change your fishing success or maybe what you consider to be a successful outcome into the adventure. Maybe it’s not all about catching fish and you’re actually out on the water for a different reason… like just getting some vitamin sea!

A good-looking gutter to fish land-based and a bird means bait. the elements and surely I could catch one for dinner. Pulling up onto the bank, I again bailed the water out of the kayak and started working the basin and drop off with the 3” paddle-ta-l plastic. The wind was still gusting hard,

having a shocker. Just when I was thinking about calling it a day I was again reminded of how important it is to be aware of your surroundings. I heard some bait flicking in the shallows back behind me, made a cast to

the disturbance and was hooked up within two turns of the reel handle. It felt like a reasonable flathead and after some tense moments close to the kayak I had the fish in the net and splashing around in the water… inside the kayak!

Wear suitable footwear if you intend to add some landbased fishing to your kayak session. NOVEMBER 2019




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Australian plate aluminium boat builder Bar Crusher has pushed live the latest version of its website – and with it, v2 of the brand’s online boat builder. Launched several years ago, Bar Crusher’s online build-and-quote system allows website visitors to review the huge list of standard features in every model and personalise each boat by selecting options such as hull colour, engine horsepower and additional factory-fitted accessories. Bar Crusher’s 26-model range spans 4.9-7.8m and is available in a number of configurations – cuddy cabin, hard top, hard top pilothouse, centre console, open hard top, walk around, and bow rider. Renowned for quality construction, superior performance and maximum fishability (with a range of standard fishing-related features other manufacturers charge as extras), every Bar Crusher boat is factory-packaged on a customdesigned trailer to ensure towing, launching and retrieving is a breeze. Self-centering and aligning perfectly every time, Bar Crusher’s innovative Bar Catch system also allows for single-handed launch and retrieve. The new boat builder function is now online and ready to go, so head to the Bar Crusher website and get started on building your fishing weapon. barcrusher.com.au

ACR REMOTECONTROLLED LIGHT 3 The new RCL-85 LED searchlight from ACR was designed for the boater who wants to ditch the hassle of halogen searchlights, but still wants their affordability. With an impressive 240,000 candelas using six High Flux (30W) LEDs, you have visibility over half a nautical mile to light the way to your destination. The simple installation only requires running your 12-24V power to the searchlight, and all operations are completely wireless. The RCL-85’s sleek design makes it an attractive and cost-effective choice for small to medium sized vessels. The searchlight comes with a wireless handheld remote to rotate the light 350°. With an 8° beam angle, the light can tilt an impressive 90° degrees to make lighting structure a breeze. There is also a strobe function to signal for help. The RCL-85 is weather resistant with the electronics located in the IP68 water-resistant light head instead of the base for increased protection. The ASA housing and lens are 90



sealed against the elements for years of troublefree operation. Price: SRP approx. $700 www.acrartex.com




The new VFS60A outboard from Tohatsu weighs only 98.5kg, which is 7kg lighter than its nearest competitor and 15% lighter than Tohatsu’s renowned M60C 2-stroke. Tohatsu are fully aware of the implications that weight has on a boat’s performance, and this is for those boaters who are re-powering from a 2-stroke. The MFS60A has a proven pedigree, with its core being based on the popular MFS40 and MFS50A. However, this model features some interesting developments to pistons, intake valves, manifold and camshaft design, along with introduction of Roller Rocker Arms. The end result is responsive performance, superior fuel economy within a sleek and environmentally designed outboard. It’s available in aquamarine and white, forward control or large multi-function tiller, and retains all of the core features of the smaller MFS40/50A such as: Tohatsu Onboard Communication System (optional cables required); Trolling Assist; 21 amp charge system; electronic fuel injection; and Easy Flush System. www.tohatsu.com.au

MERCURY FOURSTROKE DEALS 5 For the first time, Mercury is offering a trio of great deals across its FourStroke range from 3.5-150hp. With Deal 1 you can save up to $800 on 3.5-60hp FourStroke engines. With Deal 2 you get free SmartCraft rigging on 75-150hp FourStroke engines (SmartCraft gauges bring all your vessel’s information together onto one simple-to-navigate device – including speed, rpm, trim, depth, alarms, water pressure, fuel flow etc – as well as allowing control of specialist systems such as Mercury’s Active Trim). And if you take advantage of Deal 3, you get the benefit of 3.99%* Mercury Finance on 40-150hp FourStroke repower. Even better, the mighty 150hp ProXS is included in Mercury’s summer deals for the first time, as are all SeaPro and ProXS models in the relevant horsepower categories. All three deals end on 18th November 2019, so you’ll have move fast if you want to secure your saving. *For full terms and conditions visit the Mercury Marine website. www.mercurymarine.com.au







Fusion FM Series flush mount marine speakers and subwoofers are engineered to deliver high-quality acoustics. The lowprofile, near-flat installation allows for a visually appealing finish never before seen on a marine speaker or subwoofer. Combining optimized speaker drivers with aluminium dome tweeters to produce highquality audio at any volume, the FM Series also give you the ability to create a 2.1 audio zone. A new mounting system allows for nonintrusive, easy installation. You simply place the unit in the cutout, tighten the screws and the speaker legs will tighten against the panel without creating any screw holes. The FM Series complies with ISO12216 Annex D1.1 for Areas II, III and IV, due to its strength and watertightness. Available in round or square models and white or black colour options, they come in two sizes, 7.7” 200W and 6.5” 120W. Matching 10” 400W FM Series subwoofers are also available. www.fusionentertainment.com.au


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Beautiful Bello’s big bass URUNGA

Dayne Taylor

At the heart of the Bellinger Valley lies a pristine coastal river system that zigs and zags its way down from up on the Dorrigo Plateau around Ebor. It then eventually makes its way down the Great Dividing Range and finally meets the Pacific Ocean at a

a nice relaxing swim on a warm summer’s day. In this edition of my kayak hotspot I will be giving you all the information you’ll need to make your next kayak getaway a trip to Bellingen and potentially catch a truckload of fish! ACCOMMODATION AND SUPPLIES Bellingen is a small town on Waterfall Way on the Mid North Coast

of town, as well as the local IGA and other grocery and fresh fruit, vegetable and produce stores in the area. The accommodation in the area is plentiful, with multiple Air BnBs in the area, plus plenty of retreats and even a couple of ‘Hotel-Motel’ type rooms at the local pubs. The local showground is the only place you can pitch a tent or roll out a swag for the

Even the little bass are feisty up in the Bellinger. For fishing tackle, you will need to head into Coffs Harbour and visit MO Tackle and Outdoors, the largest fishing tackle store in the world. The range is second to none, and the staff in at the store are all local gun fishers, some of whom may even join you for a paddle down the Bello River for a bass session. At

saltwater species such as bream, flathead and even the odd luderick kicking about these bigger pools amongst the Australian bass. If you have access to two vehicles, a great full day trip can be had by driving one car down and leaving it at the end of the laneway by the water at Nicholson Street in Fernmount. Be sure

up in this beautiful part of the world, but yes, there is loads of Australian bass to be targeted. Paddle-tailed soft plastics in the 2-3” size range work a treat, and you can rig them weedless to cast them deep in amongst the fallen timber structure or across the tops of shallow weed beds to entice the bites. Small spinnerbaits


The author with a stud Bello bass measuring in at 47cm. LHTNO GNIdeep HSIFinFthe OS EGAP EHT TUOHGUORHT NEDDIH SOGOL This one ate .aYfootball jigMfished snags.


small Urunga. night, and there !Ntown IW Ocalled T WA RD EHTofONew TNI South OG DWales. NA NItOIisTAC OL O GO L is a small HCAE FO REBMUN EGAP EHT HTIW WOLEB MROF YRTNE EHT NI LLIF This river is called the approximately 30 minutes fee involved, but you will Bellinger River! South West of Coffs Harbour have access to nice warm This Mid North Coast and roughly the same showers and a toilet. Plus, FOanKeasy CAP50m A Nstroll IW Hdown TNOM HCAE FO DNE EHT TA NWARD SEIRTNE TCERROC 04 TSRIF EHT .SCITSAover LP TFdistance OS EGN RT West it’s system stretches toAR theDNorth GIR DEN‘ ETIHeads. MANYD ETroad AERto CY EHof TD NA ,SDAEHGIJ ZKCOLDEN SERUL TT HTIW MEHT ENIBMOC 100km and is home to some ’of Nambucca It’sEHTthe one the best of the most spectacular more known.Afor itsRlaid back kayak ILA TSU A REV O LLA launch SEICEPlocations S FO EGNAR EDIW A NO TIH A GNIMOCEB SI HCIHW scenery, from farmlands and somewhat alternative right beside the Bellinger greeting the banks in the lifestyle type community River bridge!






Topwater lures like the Sammy 65 work well to get a few numbers on the board. lower reaches, to some amazing rainforest-lined banks in the upper section of the river. The freshwater upper reaches are typically crystal clear, and the shallow rapid sections of the river have beautiful smooth stones, perfect for 92


than for its fishing, but this town does have plenty of accommodation available and places to dine out or grab supplies to be completely self-sufficient. You won’t be left disappointed by the choices of cafes and restaurants all in the centre

If all else fails, you could also take the 30-minute drive into one of the larger towns to find something like a holiday park or even one of the resorts up in Coffs Harbour, depending on your creature comfort requirements.

Ken showing the quality of the bream that can be found right up even in the freshwater.


worst you will walk away with a bag full of new lures and a truckload of local knowledge, tips and tricks. FISHING AND KAYAKING One of the easiest kayak launching sites in the area would have to be at the Bellinger River bridge in the centre of town. You have the option to go both upstream and downstream. If headed down you will find plenty of larger and deeper pools, and this stretch of the river is still effected by the tides slightly, and during long periods of dry conditions such as now, you will notice a lot more of your typical

to pack plenty of water and some lunch, as this is a full day’s expedition in the yaks. If you planned on heading upstream, there is also similar locations to drop a car and pedal or paddle between the two. The Gordonsville Road river crossing is a perfect location to do this. I recommend launching up here and paddling downstream. A good pair of waterproof shoes is a must have, as the rocks and rapids can become slippery underfoot and there is the odd bullrout kicking about as well. As for the fishing, it’s just a bonus when you are

also work a treat, so try mixing the two together and adding a beetle spin blade to your paddle-tail plastic. Of course, there is also plenty of action when you bring out the topwater lures as well. In summer the ringing of the cicadas above will almost deafen you, and any topwater lure that contacts the water will soon be demolished by a feisty bass. Mainline around 10lb and 10-15lb leader is ideal in amongst the structure of the Bellinger River, and don’t forget the camera and brag mat, as this area is known to be home to some giants!




























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Sportsman Heritage 251 with twin 200hp Yamaha

the one under the seat for ice and drinks. Whether you stand or sit while driving at the helm, the designers of the Sportsman Heritage 251 have your


Gary Brown gbrown1@iprimus.com.au

With its sleek lines, powerful outboard and so many standard features in the Sportsman Heritage 251 package from Marina Bayside at Taren Point in Sydney, I couldn’t wait to get on board and have Brock put the rig through its paces. The morning was one of those very calm days with not many other boats on the water, so there was no wake jumping or rough seas to put this beast through, even though I could just imagine how it would perform out on the open water. The outfit tested on the day came with two 200hp Yamaha outboards and idled at 700rpm, came onto the plane at 16-knots/3000rpm and


Main: With the hammers down, this great package made it to 78km/h, with both 200hp Yamahas working hard. Above: With its deep hull and its sleek lines, the Sportsman Heritage 251 will give you a very smooth ride. at 5000rpm it travelled at 30 knots, at 5200rpm it comfortably travelled at 40 knots and when run flat stick it ran at 5800rpm and 42 knots. I would, however,

SPECIFICATIONS Length.......................................................7.67m Beam........................................................2.79m Max.hp .....................................................425hp Draft.(up) ...............................................450mm Deadrise.at.Transom ................................... 21° Approx..Dry.Weight............................... 1860kg Capacity .......................................... 12 persons reached a travelling speed of approximately 27-knots/4000rpm in five seconds. Seeing what the Sportsman Heritage 251 powered by the two 200hp Yamaha outboards could do, I found out that 94


bring in a fish. You slide your toes under the bar and in conjunction with the bolster cushion, it provides a sturdy brace for your legs, even if the deck is wet or slippery.

run it at this speed, as you would find also that you would use a lot of fuel. Marina Bayside are offering the Sportsman Heritage 251 with a single Yamaha F300XCA V6 outboard package, and after doing some research of

how it would perform with a 300hp Yamaha F300XCA V6, I learned it could achieve a top speed of 79km/h, or 42.6 knots, at 5900rpm. As there are so many features that come with this package, you can view a full list of them by visiting the Sportsman website. After talking to many different boaties, one thing that they find tiresome is lowering and retrieving the anchor. Dropping the anchor is a breeze on the Sportsman Heritage 251, you just push a button to lower and retrieve your high-grade stainless-steel anchor with ease. Just imagine driving to your favourite fishing or picnic spot while listening to music from the 6 JL Audio M3-650X Gloss White Sport Grille Speakers and having some of your guests lounging around on the wrap

around seating cushions and removable backrests at the bow of the boat. Instead of using the two large insulated fish boxes at the bow to store your catch, you could use the infloor one to put your esky in and

RPM.......... Speed.(km/h)........ Economy.(km/L) 1000 ......................... 7.24 ........................... 1.20 1500 .......................11.43 ........................... 1.16 2000.......................14.00 ........................... 0.77 2500 ...................... 21.08 ........................... 0.81 3000...................... 35.57 ........................... 1.15 3500 ...................... 44.58 ........................... 1.24 4000...................... 54.23 ........................... 1.05 4500 ...................... 62.60 ........................... 0.93 5000...................... 69.04 ........................... 0.79 5500 .......................76.28 ........................... 0.63 6050 ...................... 86.90 ........................... 0.56 comfort in mind, with the individually adjustable flip-up bolsters and the flipdown footrest. Located under the gunwale rod racks, the toe rail is designed as a brace point when heeling over the side of the boat to gaff or

Marina Bayside at 1/13 Mangrove Lane in Taren Point offer a few packages for the Sportsman Heritage 251, which start from $197,995 when fitted with a Yamaha F300hp ECA outboard. For more information visit www. marinabayside.com.au.

The Sportsman Heritage 251 measures in at 10.4m overall (trailer and boat) and 4.1m in height with the outriggers folded down. If you buy one, you will have to think about what vehicle you are going to tow it with.

The fibreglass leaning post with flip-up bolsters is very comfortable and has been designed with versatility in mind. It can accommodate two adults comfortably. The individually adjustable flip-up bolsters offer the convenience to allow you to stand or sit and include a flip-down footrest.

Brock and the author couldn’t wait to get out on the water and put the Simrad electronics through its paces. Check out the number of switches – there is one for just about everything!

Due to the height of the boat on the trailer, it’s a good idea to keep the outriggers and aerial down until you get the boat on the water. Where this rig was launched, there were low overhead wires.

On the day of testing the Sportsman Heritage 251 had two 200hp Yamaha outboards fitted.

The bow of this boat is designed with entertainment and versatility in mind. It features wrap around seating with all the cushions, removable backrests, two easily accessible large insulated fish boxes, drink holders and speakers to play your favourite tunes. At the rear of the boat you will find a bench seat complete with a cushion set, live well tank and a rear access door. Imagine sitting here as you were taken on a ride in the Sportsman Heritage 251.

Above: The Sportsman Heritage 251 has a deadrise of 21° and a draft of 45cm. The fibreglass hard top will give you plenty of protection from the glaring sun. Below: The author was quite amazed at the small turning circle the Sportsman Heritage 251 had when putting it through its paces.

The rear total access hatch gives you the ability to have large storage that’s still incredibly easy to access. It’s the perfect place for your life jackets, extra anchor, safety equipment, scuba gear and anything else you may need. When empty, it offers best-in-class access to your essential pumps and seacocks.

The fibreglass hard-top is packed with convenient features. The tested rig was equipped with JL Audio speakers, LED anchor light, map reading light, spreader light, rocket launchers and Taco outrigger plates. NOVEMBER 2019


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Profile for Fishing Monthly

New South Wales Fishing Monthly November 2019  

Complete FREE digital version of New South Wales Fishing Monthgly Magazine for November 2019.

New South Wales Fishing Monthly November 2019  

Complete FREE digital version of New South Wales Fishing Monthgly Magazine for November 2019.

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