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Catch Plenty, Release Plenty, Eat The Rest

By Dan Hutton on March 29, 2011 in

If, like me, your start to 2011 has been full paced and frantic, and finding time to get on the water has been a challenge with family, work and social commitments, don’t despair – April looks set to be a cracker for the fishing inclined! The water is still warm and the catches of all desirable species have been nothing short of outstanding throughout the early part of March. So rather than pack away the gear and call it quits as the days grow shorter, keep your rods and reels at hand and plan to get out on the water at every available opportunity.

If you’re wondering where to wander when you plan an outing, look no further than the local estuaries or near-shore environments. The action continues to be fast and furious and all the pocket rockets should be zipping about ready to deliver exhilaration to light tackle enthusiasts.

For heavier-handed targets it’s worth towing or down-rigging live baits of slimy mackerel, yellowtail scad and squid along the ocean washes, headlands and near-shore hard reefs. There have been reports of some spectacular catches of hoodlum yellowtail kingfish between 10kg and 16kg. Alas, the few I’ve managed to hook on my rare offshore outings have made short work of my locked up 80lb tackle and 150lb leader, so be ready to hold on and drive the fish out to deeper water if you want any chance of staying connected.

If you have a boat ready to go the distance, run wide to search for late season billfish or early yellowfin tuna schools. Your best bet if seeking out the majestic tuna is to troll a spread of lures and look for schooling fish, a temperature break or bait. If you find any of these, stop and start cubing where the action is. The lead up to the full moon is always a great time to plan a fishing outing. Having said this, there’s a famous saying that “the best time to go fishing is whenever you can”, so if the opportunity knocks, take the time to wet a line.

In spite of all the words above, April can be a hit and miss affair, so it is worth targeting bread and butter species if you’re simply looking to put a feed on the table. Try drifting for flathead in the estuaries and on the offshore grounds. Tow bibbed lures through the washes for tailor, bonito, Australian salmon and kingfish. If you are stuck on land, get down to the beach in the early morning or late afternoon with a light rod and reel set-up and a handful of beach worms, rig up with a long shank hook, a bit of red tubing and a medium-sized ball sinker, fish the change of tide and select a gutter that provides decent access for whiting and bream. Yum!

Remember, as anglers or seafood consumers who purchase produce from fish markets and fish shops, we have a direct impact on the ocean and the inhabitants of this watery domain. It is undeniable that worldwide fish stocks (both in volume and biodiversity) are diminishing. Always consume or use everything you catch and kill or purchase, be mindful of the fishing practices used to catch the fish and always consider future generations of both fish and humans before needlessly wasting this precious resource. There’s a motto that a few close friends and I share: ‘catch plenty, release plenty and have a good day on the water’!

If you would like to go fishing with Dan just give him a yell on 0405 308 496 or email