Home' Afloat : AFLOAT April 2018 Contents Take monthly with water April 2018 47
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
You can contact the author at David.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at
If you want to involve your shipmates in
a really rewarding activity I recommend
trolling outside The Heads. Trace the
sandstone cliffs, weaving in and out of the
swirling blue currents, and continue to your
intended port of call if you are a cruising
sailor or motorboater. But do make sure
you have a lure or three dancing in the
wake to catch something along the way.
This is really easy fishing.
With reports of marlin, mahi mahi and
more from the Gold Coast to Bermagui and
beyond, just about everyone with a boat and
a rod holder or 20 has been posting up pics
of their terrific offshore catches. Contrary
to what you may think, finding fish while
trolling isn’t very difficult. You just need
the right gear, the right lures and an idea
of where those fish are hiding in the ocean.
Of course, if you want to tackle the
striped, black and blue marlin, which have
been especially abundant this season,
then you’ll need to know something about
fighting fish, too. Tracing a lively billfish
close to your boat isn’t something for the
faint of heart. If you don’t know what you’re
doing, game fishing can be downright
dangerous. At best, your boat will get
scratched and do remember to wear gloves
when holding those raspy bills.
But trolling with easily-managed light-
to-medium tackle and diving minnows
and small skirted plastic squid lures is a
pretty safe bet for catching fish. There are
perils anywhere that hooks and thrashing
fish are involved, so make sure you swing
your catch into a storage bin and dispatch
the fish quickly if you intended keeping it.
Blunt instruments like a baseball bat are
useful, so too a sharp knife to promptly
bleed the fish.
Anyway, with a lot of fish about, I had
my little fry round up some mates who
happened to know a thing or two about
adventure, following their recent around-
Australia family tour, and we made a 7am
sharp departure from the berth.
As Huey would have it, we had a couple
of hours before a 20-25 knot southerly
change would whip through Sydney. So I
trolled south and then, when the wind hit,
did an about turn and trolled back home,
down-sea and surfing all the way back to
whence we came.
This took us from South Head to Rosa
Gully, Diamond Bay and Ben Buckler,
before rounding an
imaginary mark off
Bondi and heading back
to the Heads via The
Colours off Macquarie
Light. This is very basic
stuff and should the
wind forecast have been
from the north then
we’d have trolled North
Head up to Long Reef instead.
With five kids aged from 7-13yo and
four adults, we zoomed out to The Heads.
Approaching South Head, where there is
a dangerous break in any kind of swell,
we set the lure spread. As I’d slept on the
boat the previous night, all the rods were
rigged and at the ready. (Tip: Preparing
your tackle before you head out is a
really good idea, especially where kids
are involved, you have rolling decks and
Two Rapala CD7 deep divers were fed
astern in blue pilchard pattern, along with
a gold Bomber diver, a 4ins pink squid
down the centreline, and a big 9ins diver
in fluoro pink just in case we could wake-
up a decent kingfish.
It didn’t take long for the rods to arc
over, line to zing off the reel and the crew
to get stuck into catching some feisty
little bonito, frigate mackerel and a decent
striped tuna. The screams and laughs were
audible from the flying bridge.
Catching these little tuna, which are
used mainly for ‘bait’, aren’t anything to
crow about, mind you. But to the kids this
was an awful lot of just-add-water fishing
fun. And when the southerly did hit and
a decent striped tuna jumped on, it was
a pretty good showdown for one of the
11-year-old girls on the other end of the rod.
Tip: A decent landing net is an
essential aid when fishing. When trolling
with lures, be extra careful around
thrashing fish and treble hooks. I’ve visited
Manly and Mona Vale hospitals to have
lures removed from my fingers and, on
one occasion, my throat.
Meantime, the oldest of the kids got
to drive the boat as I attended numerous
de-hooking duties. He was beaming in
the captain’s seat and pics were taken as
proof. Before long, we were back safely
inside The Heads and swimming off
While we didn’t eat the assortment of
red-meat tuna, their fillets are now salted
and stowed in the freezer. You won’t find a
better bait for snapper. Come April, when
the winds drop away, and the ocean barely
heaves, the snapper appear on the inshore
reefs. Meanwhile, try some trolling with
the kids or, if passage-making this month,
make sure you have a lure in the water. h
The Captain of The Kids
Catching small tuna on the troll around Sydney Heads is a great
way to entertain the kids.
Eleven-year-old Manly girls Summer and
Rose with a solid striped tuna taken on the
troll off Sydney Heads.
Get your gear rigged and sorted the night
before to save time at sea.
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