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A Month For Contemplation

By Dan Trotter on August 20, 2013 in Other

With the winter solstice a distant memory, the days are beginning grow noticeably longer, the water temperature is getting significantly colder and the northerly migration of the majestic Humpback Whales is slowly drawing to a close.

Where does all that time go? I can tell you where. It goes into working hard, striving for a better life, saving precious pennies, buying material goods and, most fantastically, just living our lives. Here’s to making the most of this short time on Planet Earth – the longest thing any of us will ever do.

August is month for contemplation, and in any fisherman’s diary that means it’s time to repair what is broken, maintain what is working, discard what is old, wet a line occasionally and dream of long days, warm water and fish on the chew.

As I sit hear tapping away on an idyllic winter’s afternoon, over the horizon crews of dedicated anglers are on the hunt for the mightiest fishes in the sea: southern bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna and the broadbill swordfish. Amongst those fish-maddened men are a few of my mates. They’ve been up since way before dawn and will come home after dark; probably bloody, definitely smelly and hopefully smiling.

Fishing for tuna is not for the casual angler. It is a pursuit that requires commitment, persistence, knowledge, long days and a love of being far out to sea as the sun sets over the coastal cliffs some 40 to 80 kilometers away to the west. Running home in the dark is not for the feint hearted but it sure is exhilarating, especially in a small boat with fish on the deck and mates by your side.

Other worthy offshore finned adversaries during winter include yellowtail kingfish along the ocean headlands and deepwater reefs, snapper and silver trevally in the shallows and John Dory around the near-shore wrecks and manmade structures.

Off the beaches and bays in the east expect tailor, salmon, blackfish, drummer, flathead, bream, whiting and succulent southern calamari. Be prepared to wait for calm days with a little bit of wash and concentrate your efforts on the hour or two after sun up or before sun down. Take care to watch the waves and always remember: safety first, fish second.

In the harbour times can be tough. Use the afternoon sun’s warmth to your advantage, keep a consistent stream of berley on the go and fish lightly-weighted fresh baits drifted out the back for a mixed bag of tailor, bream, silver trevally and the chance of a mulloway.

It is also worth having a few live baits out. Set a tiny yellowtail scad down deep suspended just off the bottom for a visiting John Dory, or swim a lively slimy mackerel in mid-water for resident harbour kingfish.

If you have the coin and the time, August is also a great month to escape Sydney and head to the tropical north. Fishing during the dry season can be spectacular. The days are often calm and almost always warm.

Further afield, far flung fishing destinations including Norway, Alaska, Central America and the South Pacfifc Islands beckon, so if tackle maintenance and dreaming of summer’s return isn’t enough for you, do the research book the flights and go chase those fish.

Till next month, tight lines, happy journeys and pleasant ponderings!