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The Lure Of The Sea And The Call Of Summer Holidays

By Dan Trotter on December 31, 2013 in Other

Picture: Fishing Friend

Picture: Fishing Friend

You really have to love this sunburnt country, and this time of year brings with it the very best for us sun loving, road tripping, holiday making, fishing fanatics. As we race towards December 25, work loads intensify as we clear our desks and consciences of this year’s ‘must-do’ tasks, leaving what can’t be completed to fester until mid-January.

As a nation we are recognised as one of the hardest working populations on Earth, but the Christmas period provides an acceptable excuse to go slow, forget about work for a while and spend time engaged in all the great things life has to offer. Family, friends, sleep-ins, delicious meals, good booze, parties, camping, big walks, long surfs, lazy afternoons with a book on the sand or in a hammock under the shade of a tree and, of course, countless hours spent fishing. In fact, the Christmas break in Australia has become synonymous with some of the most magical and enchanting times we get to enjoy in this life.

Every year when I right this prediction I reflect that December can oft be a tough time to catch fish. The reason for this is that it can be hard to forecast what the season will bring. If the East Australian Current is in full swing, driven by powerful low pressure systems in the Coral Sea, then its warm strong current will deliver exceptional fishing with hordes of bait and crystal clear waters pushing onto our doorstep. When the EAC is weak and the predominant northeasterly summer winds turn the costal waters at our feet cold, fishing can be slow and downright frustrating.

The key to success at any time of year is having a plan, learning to read the signs and adapting to the predominant conditions any given day on the water delivers.

December is a time to hit the water pre-rigged and prepared. Expect the unexpected and be ready to rumble. This time of year offers encounters with large numbers of ‘pocket-rocket’ pelagics in the form of bonito, frigate mackerel, mackerel tuna and yellowtail kingfish; if they are mixed with Australian salmon and tailor, even better. Be at the ready by having a small 7-14 gram metal slug or lightly weighted baitfish-profile soft plastic tied on to a light seven-foot spinning outfit. This way when a school pops up you can be into the action immediately.

If chasing big yellowtail kingfish or mulloway, know where to catch your bait, have the live bait tank full of clean salt water and don’t waste time rigging when you get to the bait ground. Have options up your sleeve and be prepared to spend the hours catching the bait well before the time you’ve selected to target your main quarry.

The same rules apply for snapper on the inshore reefs or marlin and other game fish out in the cobalt currents far offshore. Preparation, planning and a finger on the fishing pulse will put you ahead of the game every time. Watch the weather, refer to the sea surface temperature charts, plan your big outings with relation to the moon and the tide, read the online reports and refer to your fishing diary. These same factors apply whether you are based in home waters or lucky enough to be away during December or the well-deserved Christmas break.

To all my regular readers, I hope you’ve had a great year, enjoyed reading The Beast and that this December delivers great times doing what you love most.

Safe travels, happy holidays and fishy fishing!