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“Happy New Year” to all fishos!

And thanks for all the post reads last month; did none of you have anything better to do over Xmas? But keep it up and share away please.

Google views December 2022

At least someone reads my stuff!

A new year and with it new expectations of a bumper summer season that so far has left most of us scratching our heads. Moments of complete ecstasy spread out between long languid periods of frustration and misery – the Sydney Harbour doldrums. This all sounds a bit depressing but when you’re catching metre-long kingfish and every other prize species under the surface on one day, and then spending the next three days scratching around for crumbs, it can make for a tough new-year hangover!

But now the new year gives us new life and Sydney Harbour is finally coming into its own. Large schools of baitfish are competing for space on the sandy drop offs all around the Harbour, followed closely by an ever-growing (and catchable) population of pelagic and bottom dwelling predators. Large kingfish, salmon and tailor are on the hunt right now and the offspring of last winters southern green eye squid are hunting the weed and kelp beds just waiting for a small to medium size jig to swing past. With the ever increasing warm east Australia current raging from the north, fingers crossed for a boom over the next couple of months.

On fly.

The fly has been super productive over the last few weeks. Clousers of varying size and colours have been getting nailed by hungry salmon up to 60cm. Fished with a long fast retrieve, salmon can be seen darting in from all directions to have a look before been deceived into a bite. Super fun for every level of fly guy out there. Top tip: has to be said that the colour of the week is white and olive.
The kings have been a bit slow up till now but a well placed cast definitely has a chance, larger clousers and of course squid flies are doing the trick but you will also get a lot of single followers. Look for areas holding bigger schools as they are generally more competitive and easier to catch.
Lots of flathead have fallen to the fly this week with some really cool surface takes in less than a metre of water. Fly choice hasn’t been too important but I like to use a floating line to get that fly hopping up and down in the water column instead of dragging along the bottom.

On lure.

Like the fly, soft plastics have been killing it! Salmon, kings, flathead, bream, flounder and kingfish are responding aggressively to a variety of patterns, but hot tip:  smaller ‘jerk shads’ do most of the damage – but any minnow style will do the trick. Lighter leaders and jig heads are your best friend and natural colours, especially white, are my favourites. I’m still loving 3cm blade’s, they cast a mile and catch fish! Just don’t lock your drag up too much as the hooks straighten out very easily.

On bait

There’s a new rule on the boat! If we get 25 squid in 26 casts first thing in the morning we’re going home! I always thought there was a link between how easy it is to catch bait and how hard it is to catch target species, i.e. when the bait play the predators are away… and the last few weeks have really confirmed this. Even though the squid are a good take-home!
More green eye squid are showing up in patches closer to the shore line. Smaller 1.5 jigs seem to work best and down deep, on any random day, arrow squid can show up in good numbers. Yellowtail have been ok and the smallest yakkas get more attention. And finally if you’re going to bait fish inside Sydney Harbour fresh is not best… it’s critical!

Snowies

My short Xmas holiday was spent in the mountains with my old mate Steve Dunn. We took two days to check out his favourite haunt, Lake Eucumbene, and I had my ‘best ever’ lake session on super fit rainbows and browns, loving the highest lake levels for over 20 years. You all know I love my ‘Minn Kota-mota’ but Steve has this down to a new level, using ‘spot-lock-jog‘ to move quietly into top spots in the deep soaks. He finds the deep channels on his sounder and can literally use jog to put me onto a fish at-will.

Lake Eucumbene Rainbow

These Eucumbene rainbows fight like demons!

Lake Eucumbene brown trout

…whilst the browns are dogged, tough and always trying to skunk you in the weeds.

The wrap

Signs are we are in for a bumper season, we have already had numerous encounters with oversized bull sharks which is always a great indicator of life out there. If you need the best gear check out Complete Angler. They’re always getting me out of trouble when someone smashes my gear, and giving me cool stuff to try out. True advocates for fishing. George Street in the city or Villawood. Say hi to the boys for me, the best service in town.