All You Need is Love…
Fantastically, many of my friends’ young kids are falling in love with fishing. It’s an exciting time for us older blokes, as the reins of the fishing fanaticism are picked up by wide-eyed youngsters starting their own journeys of discovery in life and in fishing.
As with any obsessive pastime or hobby, you need equal amounts of love, passion, and patience – as well as some early success – to get truly hooked. A good teacher doesn’t hurt either, but what’s more important is someone who has the patience and time in their own lives to spend some of it by the ocean or on a wharf, beach, rocky outcrop, or boat to assist and oversee the formative times of a young fisherman’s journey.
I’ve often thought that teaching a young person to find a passion in life would be one of the most rewarding gifts we can give, and that’s one of the reasons why I love writing this monthly column; so that I can inspire those who already love it to keep on keeping on and hopefully light the fire of passion and focus that creates a great young angler and gives them a gift for life.
January is one of the great months of the year in Australia to inspire the next generation of fishermen – fishermen who will hopefully become custodians for the oceans and impress upon their peers, family, and friends just how important the oceans are for all of the creatures that live in them.
If you’re thinking of getting out boat fishing off the coast from Sydney during January, mahi-mahi (also known as dolphin fish) are an awesome target species. They’re fast growing and they hit hard, run fast, and taste great, and they are considered a sustainable catch by fisheries biologists.
To target mahi-mahi, troll small to medium sized skirted lures (similar to those used for a plethora of gamefish) or slow troll live baits along current lines, temperature breaks, or even better still, find floating objects and fish with baits (both cut and live) around them. If you’re fishing with live baits, let the mahi-mahi run for quite some distance before tightening up your line and hooking the fish. Once hooked, this species will run hard initially, before jumping and cartwheeling well clear of the surface. If it’s a decent size it will persist doggedly, using their deep broad frame against the current. Be careful when bringing them onboard as they bounce around a lot. If you’re using a rig with two hooks it’s not uncommon for a slow-to-react angler to get impaled by the second swinging hook, so dispatch them quickly, bleed them well, and get their sweet flesh on ice, pronto.
Of course our Sydney summer stables will be in full swing with plenty of fast-moving, small pelagics working the harbours and estuaries, mixing it up with – and even getting eaten by – larger yellowtail kingfish.
In the same estuaries, as well as offshore, the mulloway should school up at dawn and dusk and be hungry for a feed or a well presented fresh, dead, butterflied bait. Remember, they have big bony mouths so big hooks are required for successful fishing, as is setting the hook and staying tight all the way through the fight.
This January there’s plenty to smile about, so get out and spend some time teaching young boys and girls how to fish and how to respect the ocean.