Home' Afloat : AFLOAT February 2014 Contents 44 AFLOAT.com.au February 2014
with David Lockwood
• ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
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NANNI DIESEL AUST
THE HOLY JEWFISH
Few fish hold the
reverence of a big
jewfish. They are the
ultimate trophy, the
biggest creature besides
sharks and rays that you can catch in our estuaries and rivers,
and truly the stuff of angling legend and fishing folklore.
We were reminded of this very thing at jewfish HQ aka the
Hawkesbury River these past holidays. It is here that some of the
most solid jewfish in Australia have – and can still be – caught
by those in the know.
It was during a visit to the Patonga pub that we found further
proof. There were grainy black-and-white photos of local anglers
struggling to hold mighty jewfish dangling from the walls.
The front cover of the January 7, 1983 edition of Fishing News,
a journal of angling record published in the pre-internet days,
screamed ‘Monster 52kg jew at Juno.’
The behemoth was reportedly weighed at Hawkesbury River
Boats where the proprietor at the time said he’d never seen
anything like it. Apparently, the monster jewfish was subdued
in just half and hour on a handline.
So named after the prized jewels or otoliths hidden inside
their head, jewfish were renamed mulloway by The Australian
Fish Names Standard AS SSA 5300 introduced in 2007.
Political correctness has also seen the name jewfish fall
out of favour for other so-called fish caught around the world.
But in Aussie anglers’ hearts there remains no other word that
commands the same respect.
WHITING ARE BITING
You can fight them
on the beaches, in the
surf, and on the sand
flats. And they will
surrender to your live
worm offering. Yep, the whiting are biting right on cue.
Top tucker, a real scrapper and just an all-round pretty fish,
the whiting proves the old adage that good things come in small
parcels. The big ones, the elbow slappers, grow to about one kilo.
The surf beaches are the happy hunting ground for anglers
chasing the more common school-sized yellowfin whiting in
summer. Anyone can catch them, even from Sydney’s famous
surf beaches including Manly and Bondi. But go early or fish
into the night to avoid hooking surfers.
The key is the bait. Nothing can hold a candle to live
beachworms. These, too, can be caught around Sydney’s beaches.
Search youtube for how-to worming videos. Or cut to the chase
and book a guided beach-fishing trip with Alex Bellisimo at www.
When beach fishing for whiting you don’t need to cast far. Find
the gutters running close to shore and lob your worm bait with
light tackle and a running ball sinker. The bait will move along
the bottom with the wave action and tempt foraging whiting.
Live nippers work almost as well for whiting on the estuarine
sand flats and drop-offs. In recent year, sportsfishers have been
fooling plenty of whiting with the latest prawn-like mini-popper
lures. You need finesse tackle to cast and work these little lures.
The eating qualities of whiting are indisputable. Fillets in
tempura batter with a Japanese soy-dashi based dipping sauce
work well. But you can’t go wrong however you decide to cook
them. My daughter prefers hers raw.
marlin have arrived
and all indications
are that this will be
game-fishing season. After all, it’s not every day that you score
nine marlin in a single day’s fishing.
Such has been the action out of Marlin Mecca aka Port
Stephens, where the Interclub tournament will attract more than
150 boats this month. Meantime, as I write this, well-known Sydney
angler George Trinkler put his crew onto eight black marlin from
50-100kg and a lone feisty striped marlin one Sunday. All the fish
were tagged to fight another day.
Lady angler Sheridan Purvis landed three black marlin, while
junior angler Josh Dickson caught four blacks and the striped
marlin, the latter fish taking two hours to get to the boat. The
aptly named Carpark in 80-90 fathoms has the bait and billfish.
At last month’s Golden Lure tournament at Port Macquarie,
anglers enjoyed one of the hottest blue marlin bites the event
has seen. A massive 336.1kg mako shark was landed. A tad further
north, trailerboat fishing hotspot South West Rocks has been
firing for marlin in close.
Closer to home, there has been a smattering of black marlin in
the 50-100kg class anywhere from 40 to 60 fathoms off Sydney, with
much bigger blue marlin over The Shelf where the water is cobalt.
On the South Coast, striped marlin have been snapping, But
while the big boats will be burning plenty of diesel looking for
that trophy blue marlin in the wide blue yonder, this summer has
all the hallmarks of a great game-fishing year for the mosquito
aka trailerboat fleet.
Troll lures or drop live baits around bait schools in 30-60
fathoms. Try the FADs at first light for dolphin fish and marlin.
Make the most of what’s looking like a great season.
The hot water has delivered some sub-tropical species to
Sydney as well. There have been a few cobia about and the spotted
mackerel may well arrive in the next month or so. Wahoo will be
out wide with more dolphin fish this month. h
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