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Get Out And Enjoy The Dusk Run

By Dan Hutton on March 1, 2012 in

Welcome to the fishiest month of the year! I just love getting out for late afternoon sessions in March, with its calm afternoons and lingering twilights, and the warm, fish-rich waters that abound around our home turf in autumn.

If you’ve been diligent in keeping your diary and referring to its valuable information you may have already identified that March is a cracking month for big yellowtail kingfish off the ocean rocks, in the estuaries and on the inshore reefs of Sydney. Big fish can eat big baits so wherever possible use the largest live baits you can catch, fish with a heavy trace and try to hang on.

Trolling small bibbed lures and pink or purple squid skirts close in along both North and South Head is a great way to encounter some action. Australian salmon, bonito and the ever-present kingfish – as well the hope of northern visitors such as spotted mackerel, cobia and even Spanish mackerel – should keep the excitement levels up, and don’t be too surprised if a small black marlin turns up to eat a lure or one of the fish you’ve hooked.

For land-based anglers, try casting metal lures or poppers. Vary the retrieval pace and style, and be persistent. Within the harbour, hit the prominent headlands or wharves, send out a live bait under a float and spin lures past it for best results.

Whilst it has been hard for most Sydney anglers to go past fishing for the kings, those who have turned the focus to other targets have also been coming up trumps. Snapper have been around in decent numbers, both in the 200-foot deeper water and inshore on the shallow kelp and sponge encrusted reefs.

Also offshore, the jewfish (mulloway) have been sporadically abundant. Unfortunately, due to their schooling nature, once encountered the jewfish schools are fished aggressively and to the limit by groups of unscrupulous, greedy anglers – some individuals go back night after night to catch their bag limit and fill the freezer. This makes many anglers angry and disgusted and is the kind of behaviour that has seen the east coast jewfish populations plummet. Do these guys never learn from their actions? It surely has to sink in sooner or later.

Out on the FADs, juvenile dolphin fish and the occasional larger one are gobbling down anything that resembles food. Be mindful that there is a minimum size on these fish these days, and a bag limit too. If you are lucky to catch a take-home dolphin fish, bleed it immediately upon capture and get it on ice. Filleted and dressed dolphin fish, or mahi mahi as they are know in the restaurants, are up there with the tastiest eating fish in the sea.

I love fishing in March. It is the month when I tend to farewell the pre-dawn early morning starts in favour of midday to mid-afternoon launches, coming home at a reasonable hour once the sun has set, the tide passed and the action slowed. Don’t overlook these autumn afternoons as great potential fishing options – you’ll usually have the place to yourself, the ramps are quieter and I believe the fish bite more freely. So get out there and enjoy the dusk run!