Tight Lines and Sunshiny Grins
What a cracking start to the year – a solid month of proper Sydney summer, plenty of hard work to get the year off to a successful start and a few fishy days to keep the dreams alive. How’s your start to 2018 been? Fishy and full of friends, I hope.
With the second month of a shiny new year underway, it’s time to re-establish your resolutions, drink less, exercise and meditate more, work smarter (not harder) and focus on the goals you’re going to achieve in 2018.
Now let’s get down to fishy business and look at what the month ahead has to offer. With the full moon on the first day of February, hopefully you’re reading this in late January and have managed to sneak out for a few days of kingy fishing in the lead-up. If not, you should focus in on the last few days of February and the first few days of March and get properly set up for some arm-stretching on some solid Seriola lalandi (yellowtail kingfish).
February is also a cracking month to chance all manner of pelagics off the coast of Sydney. If late December and January are anything to go by, there should be some magic days out on the wide blue yonder. Also worth chasing are the majestic mahi mahi, using similar tactics as you’d use with kingies – look for current lines, temperature breaks and baitfish marking up on the sounder.
Closer to shore, there’s always a good possibility of snapper and some late summer jewfish. Anchor up and fish floaters down currents for snapper, while pinning a butterflied or live slimy mackerel or whole yellowtail just off the bottom to put yourself in good stead for a silver-flanked, opal-spotted mulloway.
In Sydney Harbour, February is a month that really shines, with warm water, plenty of baitfish and a stable offering of northern pelagic visitors, along with the local bread and butter residents like bream, flathead, whiting, yellowtail kingfish and mulloway.
If crustaceans are something that make you drool, get your witches hats and crab pots sorted, make sure you name and licence number your floats, and get them out on the sandy straits through the harbour to catch a world class feed of blue swimmers – possibly the tastiest meal the sea has to offer.
An obscure and often overlooked species is the leatherjacket. These tasty fish are great on the plate and the harbor has an abundance of them, if you know where to look. Fish with small long shank hooks, peeled prawns and 10-14lb leader suspended under an almost neutrally buoyant float around kelp beds and rocky headlands. The bite is very subtle and the fight less than exhilarating, but they are fun to catch with the kids and easy to prepare for cooking. Once skinned and cleaned, simply pan fry them whole in a pan with butter, check that they are cooked all the way through and serve with white rice, fresh salad and a crisp glass of Riesling, if that’s your type of tipple.
That should be plenty to keep you busy, fishy and smiling for now. Tight lines and sunshiny grins to you all.