Home' Afloat : AFLOAT December 2014 Contents 62 AFLOAT.com.au December 2014
with David Lockwood
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26/17 Bowden St, Alexandria Sydney 2015
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NANNI DIESEL AUST
HAPPY HOLIDAY HOOKERS
Fishing and politics make great bedfellows but, you know
what, it’s the festive season. That means fishing and families are
coming together and politics can take a backseat. Let’s take this
opportunity to help you make the most of the summer fishing
opportunities instead, with some sage advice for happy holiday
angling during the sabbatical.
The good news is that you don’t need to travel far to find the
action. Having been involved in the Sydney fishing scene for more
than three decades, I am of the view that we’ve never had it so
good. The fishing guides who cut a living from Pittwater to Port
Hacking, my angling peers and those with even more hands-on
experience all concur. Sydney fishing is five star.
Since the deep-water ocean outfalls went on line, commercial
fishing practices such as kingfish trapping were banned, and the
pros have been forced to leave Sydney Harbour, our biggest fishery
has rebounded to the point of offering truly world-class angling.
Big bruiser kingfish are the headline act in our deep-water
estuaries, bays and harbours. The big fish have been on the
offshore and inshore reefs, but they are now making their way
inside the estuaries for summer. This means there are now
trophy fish to target even in adverse weather. Fresh squid are
the ticket, of course, and they’ll score amberjack and Samson
fish this month, too.
Jewfish are the other big prize, with the beaches warranting a
dusk session. Fish the run-up tide with live worms at your feet for
whiting then pitch a whole fish bait out wide in the deep gutter
on dark. The big jewfish mulloway are also be making their way
upstream, although you will find many more school-sized fish
around the lights of road and rail bridges crossing rivers like The
Hunter (a hot spot for them) at night.
As humble as they may seem, the flathead is your holiday
mainstay. The fish is the perfect all-in-one, jumping on lures, in
the calms of estuaries, a cast from the shore or boat, then putting
up a decent sport and making top tucker. Take a tip and use
those neverfail soft-plastic prawn lure bumped across the sand
or mud bottom in 4-5 metres of water. The run-out tide is best.
Should Huey be compliant then the offshore sportsfishing
will fire. Every year, the marlin and mahi mahi seem to arrive
a month or two earlier. This spring has been no exception,
with striped marlin and dolphin fish already off Sydney (as I
write this the phone has beeped with news of a metre-plus live
mahi mahi capture). But with a bumper black marlin season in
Queensland, we’re betting on a run of baby black in close by
Januar y. Trailerboaters gear-up.
Otherwise head to the NSW FADs (locations at http://www.dpi.
nsw.gov.au/fisheries /recreational/saltwater/fads /map) at dawn
and be the first to cast a livebait towards the buoys. Nothing
surer, the mahi mahi will jump on. They tend to start as big bulls
but end up much smaller as the fishing pressure increases and
Crustaceans are the other big Christmas hook. You will find
prawns around the dark moon in our coastal lakes and lagoons,
blue swimmer crabs on the sandy shoals, mud crabs around the
mangroves, and rock lobsters if you drop a pot around the kelp
bays with rocky caves. Add some calamari to the basket and
you’re just about set.
There’s a lot of pressure on our fisheries, but stick to existing
bag and size limits and you know you’re OK. The proof of
sustainable fishing is in the catching. To reiterate, NSW anglers
have never had it so good, with hard-fished Sydney Harbour
defying the odds and the gloomy forecasts of odd marine-park
It’s a good news story economically as well. The 2011 Australian
Bureau of Statics determined there are more than 490,000 adult
recreational fishers in the Sydney region. At holiday time, kids
might account for another 100,000 dangled lines.
The Recreational Fishing Expenditure Survey 2012 by the
University of Wollongong found each Sydney angler forks out
an average $250.07 per trip on everything from travel to tackle.
Sydney anglers therefore account for almost a third of the $3.42
billion recreational fishing dollars generated in NSW each year.
So if you’re stuck at home during the holidays, fear not. The
prospects for nailing some fish in your backyard have never
been better. h
Ocean Hunter charters Sydney.
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