All gamefish are sensitive to water temperatures and their movements governed but the ocean currents.
On studying the SST’s you can see that the warm water North of us, on and wide of the shelf is flowing South then out to sea just South of Port Stephens. Conversely the water off Sydney over the shelf is flowing inshore from the South and East and then turning South. It is clear that the fish, probably the Blues, in the warmer water North of us aren’t going to be seen off Sydney until there is a change in the currents.
However, the Northern water inside and along the shelf is flowing South parallel to the coast. This is the water that brings the run of Blacks inshore and further out near the shelf the Striped Marlin. Usually the Blacks show up off Sydney mid to late December but in the last week or so the inshore waters have warmed significantly. Yesterday I noticed a lot of bait just out of the Heads. Lots of Mutton birds were working the area as though waiting for something to push the bait up. This could be an indication that the Blacks are here there has been the occasional report of small Marlin inshore.
Those fishing wide off Sydney haven’t been having much luck but it seems the Kings are another story. The run of Kings outside last week was remarkable with more than a few going over the magic metre mark. Unfortunately that was last week since then the Southerly current has increased. I have been told it was running at 3 to 3.5 knots and when you add the effect of 15 to 20 knots of North Easterly you’d be close to flying.
In the harbour the Kingsfish mixed with Tailor, Bonito and Salmon are still rampaging around chasing schools of baitfish. You can find the schools anywhere from the Heads down the harbour to the Lane Cove river. Find the birds and you’ll find the fish. Frustratingly you will often find the fish under the Harbour Bridge in the 15 knot zone where you are not allowed to stop and fish.
I am looking forward to my annual stay at Port Stephens. I’ll be there and available for Charter and the occasional social day for SGFC members from mid- January until mid-March. If you want to catch Marlin or any of the pelagic species which are so much more common up there give me a call.
I couldn’t make it out fishing on the week-end due to the weather on Saturday and ‘ brownie ‘ point gathering on Sunday.
From what I’ve heard there doesn’t appear to be much happening out there. I did however get a phone call mid-morning telling me about a Marlin, possibly a Black, free jumping about 5 miles out… I can’t tell you how good that made me feel. Apparently there were some Dollies taken and a couple of really nice Yellowfin from somewhere South of Sydney. If anyone knows anymore or can clarify I’d be happy to hear about it.
The SST’s don’t look very exciting either but I don’t know how much they can be relied upon at the best of times because of their lack of resolution. You really have to get out there and see for yourself. The way it appears the current is pushing from the North around Sydney but the temperature within the current varies widely indicating there are breaks in the main current which are always worth a look.
Inshore there are Kings but it requires some hard work and lots of looking to find them. I heard of one that Mike Clarkson of ‘Reef Magic’ caught going 1.2 metres, so they are there.
The harbour is alive with schools of pelagics, Kings, Bonito, Tailor and Salmon. They are not big fish but are still a lot of fun on light gear. You will need very small lures to catch them because they are feeding on very small baitfish.
To me the wide grounds are where I want to be. None of the charts have the resolution to show the spin-off currents and minor eddies that often hold the fish we want. It changes from day to day out ther. By the time the average fisho hears about the bite it’s generally too late…
The offshore fishing for Billfish was not really exciting last week with few fish being encountered. However I did hear of a Lake Macquarie boat losing a good sized Blue Marlin around the Norah Canyons.
Off Sydney the water looked good and there was plenty of bait, especially inside the shelf. I did find however that beyond about 300 fathoms and moving South the water went green and cooled a little. All this indicating how fickle the currents still are and also very typical of November. Usually by mid-December the currents have stabalised and that’s also when the Blacks should start to turn up. In the mean time it is a day to day proposition. You put in the time you’ll find the fish.
Of great interest, to me at least, was when on Sunday Pat Shaw and his father Mark found a dead Whale floating South of Browns. Pat, my regular deck hand, constantly told me how much he’d like to find one. He also told me about the number and size of sharks and oddly Kingfish hanging around the Whale. Strangely he couldn’t get them to take his baits because of the amount of burley in the water. I only hope he got photo’s of the action.
The harbour at present is alive with pelagics mostly Tailor but Salmon and Bonito also, and there are good Kingfish amongst them too. Kingfish are also active inshore around the Heads and you can catch them trolling live baits on down riggers or lead lines. I don’t know about the offshore reefs but they could be worth a look.
After the weather we experienced last week-end it was surprising that anyone went out Marlin Fishing. Those who went saw a few Marlin. Captures and Tags were another matter entirely.
On Saturday a few boats went out and Ed Ingram from ‘ Hold Up’ told of finding an area off Broken Bay where he raised two Striped Marlin but missed both. In the same area there were numbers of Albatrosses. Every so often they would come together and when Ed moved into the area the sounder came alive with big fish down deep. Ed speculated they might be Yellowfin.
Sunday’s early morning bad weather kept most at home but at least a couple went out. Jeff Manson from ‘Spindrift’ managed a Spearfish and another Botany Bay boat caught a 50 kilo Yellowfin. The Yellowfin capture may have confirmed what Ed had seen the day before, time will tell. Off Wollongong a Striped Marlin of 159 kilo’s was weighed that is one hell of a Striped Marlin.
Kingies seem to be around on the inshore reefs with the occasional good one amongst the rats. Perseverance and good bait are essential. Hopefully the warming water has pushed the ‘Coutas and maybe even the ‘Jackets out too.
In summary though it is still early days the water is warming. Marlin fishing as well as that for the other warm water gamefish is getting better and better each day as the currents, fickle though they are, move inshore.
On another matter,..I have just cleaned up a fuel tank that I had never previously used. I filled the tank and then checked the clarity of the fuel not surprisingly it was terrible. It took a while but I finally found a ‘Fuel Polisher’ in Australia who would come out and clean the tank, a relatively small tank. I was so impressed with the job they did I had to mention them. The company is called ‘FSA – Fuel Screening Australia’ and are based at Tuggerah.
On yet another matter…I have just finalised my annual Port Stephens stay. I’ll be available up there from 13th.January 2018 until 13th. March 2018 – see you there.