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Chasing the Action

By Lewis Kennedy-Hunt on February 4, 2022 in Other

Lewis with a sizey mangrove jack. photo: Lewis Kennedy-Hunt

With uncharacteristically warm water for this time of year, the harbour and inshore areas around Sydney continue to produce the pelagics. Surface feeding kingfish, tailor and salmon are heavily on the chew and can be spotted easily, although at times may prove hard to fool with lures. The summer run of jewfish is also beginning to show up, if you know where to look. Anyone that knows fishing knows that jewie fishermen are some of the most secretive folk about. Fresh baits like squid strips or fillets of yellowtail and tailor are your best friend. Live baits can work exceptionally as well, but persistence and time on the water are the biggest keys to success if you want to crack your first silver ghost.

Failed Mission North
Two weeks ago my mate and trusty fishing associate Ethan and I embarked on an eight-hour mission north of Sydney. With two kayaks atop our 4wd, we ventured into some remote territory to chase freshwater native Australian bass and Murray cod. It was a trip that we had researched and planned for over six months, with many a dollar spent on expensive lures and gear.
With some of the most rain we’d ever seen we were already sceptical as to the state of the rivers. Anyone who knows freshwater fishing will be aware that sudden changes in water levels can have a huge impact on the behaviour of fish, and the fishing. We arrived to find the rivers we had scoped out were a muddy, turbulent mess and our hopes of insane fishing sessions instantly dwindled. To put a kayak on them would have been impossible. Finding a pocket of water that we could safely fish was just as hard. But that’s fishing, so they say, and we’ll certainly be back!

South Coast Antics
Three Blue Ducks Senior Events Manager Katy has been fishing off the beaches and rocks down on the South Coast, as she loves to do, with lightly weighted pilchards and peeled cooked prawns proving successful with good sized trevally, salmon, tailor, tarwhine and bream. Other South Coast systems have been firing for those fishos who like to try their luck with surface lures, with the high water temperatures and increased prawn activity activating many target species – one 48cm trevally caught in Burrill Lake had over 100 little prawns in its belly! Now is the time to put in the hours to catch whiting, bream and even flathead off the surface. Those who have caught fish on surface lures before will be able to empathise with the explosive excitement this style has to offer.

As I pen this piece, I’m stationed on the remote tip of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sand island, Fraser Island. We’ve been fishing for dart and tailor off the eastern beaches using mainly pippies as bait, although we are most keen to catch and release one of the many species of shark that make the waters off Fraser Island their home. A tip I was given years ago by a local Bundabergian was to forget using sinkers off the beach for sharks as the current is too strong. Rather, he suggested using a biodegradable hessian bag filled with sand as an anchor for the bait in the strong current. Of course a kayak or boat would be needed to drop the bait out the back. We’ve not caught a shark yet, but after witnessing a huge lemon shark caught at this exact spot on our last trip two years ago our hopes are set high. Interestingly, Fraser Island boasts the Australian record for the biggest Spanish mackerel, which was caught off the eastern beach using a slider rig and a live bait. It is almost unheard of to see consistent catches of Spanish mackerel off a beach elsewhere in Australia. Fraser truly is a magical place, and if you haven’t been here yet I really couldn’t recommend it more, and not just for the fishing either.

Looking to the future, we’ll head further north in a week, up towards my mate Ethan’s location, who has reported multiple hookups on big GTs (with none landed yet) around the Whitsunday Islands. The 50lb braid setup – heavy by Sydney standards – seems to have left him heavily undergunned given the calibre of fish up there. 1770 is the destination for us, but with hopes of mangrove jack, cricket score catches of flathead and even a mackerel, GT or long tail, it should be an exciting summer.