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Check Your Gear Or Live In Fear

By Dan Trotter on September 23, 2014 in Other

Photo: Dan Trotter

Photo: Dan Trotter

The last month has seen some of the most spectacular winter weather any one could wish for. Crystal clear waters, calm as a lake, warm sunny skies and very little wind; the confluence of these factors has made it perfect for all forms of fishing and gathering. The challenge on days like these is what to spend your time doing. Do you rise before dawn, don a 5mm wetsuit and slip beneath the surface, cast lures off the calm ocean rocks for tailor and salmon, launch a mate’s boat and head offshore in search of snapper and yellowtail kingfish, or do you make the commitment to run super wide and try your hand at catching southern bluefin and yellowfin tuna?

One thing is for certain, it’s great to have so many options to choose from, and we owe it to ourselves and everyone else to recognise how fortunate and blessed we are to live in a country with a healthy environment and well managed fisheries.

If, like me, you are interested in sustainability and conservation, but at the same time enjoy harvesting a feed from the ocean, you really should learn about the lifecycles and population dynamics of the seafood you love to catch and eat. Finding relevant information can be difficult at times, but the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation is one organisation that provides a wealth of information from scientific studies on a wide range of species and topics. There is so much interesting information available on its website that those inclined could spend weeks, months or even years learning more about the lifecycles of the organisms below the ocean’s surface. You can visit www.frdc.com.au to start your knowledge journey.

One last note before my quick roundup of the local fishing: September is the last opportunity to get all your gear into perfect working order. Send your reels off for servicing, repair those missing guides, replace your rusty hooks and do an overhaul of your gear before spring arrives and the time for maintenance has passed. I didn’t listen to my own advice last year and it kept biting me on the bum, all summer long. My favourite, reels, rods and lures were often out of action when I needed them most. I will not let this happen again; I will not let this happen again; I will not let this happen again…

The beaches and headlands are producing salmon and tailor in solid numbers at the moment. Off the rocks, the drummer and blackfish are well worth putting the time in for. Large mullet and leatherjacket have proven to be reliable targets in the estuaries, with bream, whiting and flathead dependable in the regular haunts with the right tactics. Squid and cuttlefish should also be present in the ocean reaches of the bays and harbours, and on the offshore reefs.

Snapper are worth targeting at this time of year, but can be tricky to find and tempt. The always popular yellowtail kingfish have been on and off on the 100-metre reefs, but if the current is pushing and the leatherjackets are sparse, it is worth the run and the effort.

While the tuna have been about in almost record numbers, they seem to be here one day and gone the next, so keep your eyes and ears open, be ready to go at a moment’s notice, pay attention to the details, ensure you use the appropriate terminal tackle and check your connections twice. Many tuna anglers have had their hopes crushed by failing tackle.

Tight lines my fellow fishers!

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