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Plenty Of Fishy Opportunities

By Dan Trotter on January 21, 2011 in Sport

Wow, what happened to January? NYE disappears in a blur of fun and celebration then the first week back at work hits like a tonne of black market fish!  Hopefully we’ll eventually we find an even keel, set sail and stay on course for the rest of the year.

The arrival of the second month of the Gregorian calendar brings with it plenty of fishy opportunities here on the east coast. From the northern rivers – which have been reshaped and pushed to their limits by the recent floods – to the picturesque south coast, there are fishing opportunities for every angling persuasion.

In our home waters the story is much the same with most fish species active so there’s a good chance you’ll encounter a few of them on your next aquatic outing.

For fresh water fishers, it is worth the time and effort to get to the areas that our native Australian Bass inhabit. Spend warm afternoons wading or paddling a canoe or kayak up willowed creeks. Work top-water lures close to structures with deliberate pauses in anticipation of explosive surface strikes, then hold on. Alternatively, seek out colder mountain streams and rivers to site cast dry flies to rising brown and rainbow trout – unbeatable.

In the salt it is important to hatch a game plan and try to stick to it. Otherwise, with plenty of options available you can run the risk of a day of distractions.

February is a great time for the large trailer boat or fly-bridge boat owner to head to the shelf and beyond. With the warm currents pulsing down the coastline all manner of spectacular pelagics will be on the hunt. Look for temperature breaks, bait and bird activity, and concentrate your efforts on these areas. It is always worth having a dozen or more live-baits in the tank if you are heading wide; not only can they be switched to a lit up billfish at the back of the boat, it is also well worth slowing down, pulling the skirted lures in and deploying a couple of ‘livies’ in the hope of mahi mahi, wahoo and striped, black and blue marlin if you find a floating object in the ocean.

On the inshore reefs, it is still well worth fishing for snapper, whether at anchor fishing floaters or on the drift casting soft plastics. In the middle of the day head wider and in the mornings, or as dusk approaches, fish in closer. One thing is for sure, look for hard reef’s edges bordered by sand and gravel patches for best results. (Check out the February 2011 Modern Fishing Magazine for an in-depth article on catching Sydney Snapper written by Dan, on shelves now!)

As for the mighty yellowtail kingfish, these tackle busters have been a little harder to find this season but there’s no doubt a number of them will break anglers’ hearts and spirits. It is worth having a vertical jig at known haunts or drift with live baits of yellowtail scad, slimy mackerel, pike, garfish or squid.

Other offshore encounters may include jewfish, teraglin, silver trevally, samson fish and sharks, while northern visitors like spotted and narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, mangrove jack, sweetlip and occasional cobia will delight a handful of lucky anglers.

In the Harbour, Botany and Port Hacking anything is possible. Afternoons and nights will produce quality jewfish to anglers with patience and knowledge. Anchor up so the boat is positioned above the deepest part of a channel or adjacent to the bottom of a structure, and fish big baits on large strong hooks and heavy tackle either on or just off the bottom.

As always, the bread and butter species of our fishy nation such as whiting, bream, flathead, flounder, leatherjacket and tailor all make for a tasty meal and they’re out there in abundance.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab the tackle and get to the water!

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