JASON Maling might have caught this week’s Fish of the Week, but without the assistance of his mates he would never have been able to land it, according to one of those mates, Adam Janik.
Jason, Adam and fellow Department of Works employee Ronny Watts hit Newcastle Harbour early last weekend in their recently acquired tinnie to target jew.
They went armed with GPS and a few charts to locate deeper holes where they hoped to find mulloway.
‘‘We were out by 5.30am,’’ Adam explained.
‘‘We spent an hour catching livies.
‘‘We set up in a secret spot just out of the shipping and ferry lines where we noticed the water dropped from about five metres to 11 and we dropped lines.
‘‘Jason hooked up around 7.30am and it took about 25 minutes to get it in, mainly because we were fishing on pretty light 6lb flathead gear.’’
The boys were pretty happy with the catch as it was definitely the biggest fish they’d ever caught, measuring an estimate 1.2metres and weighing in at 18 kilograms.
‘‘It was a real team effort to bring it in,’’ Adam said.
‘‘I had to lean over and grab it by the gills as it was too big for the net. Jason had to give it line and Ronny was at the back of the boat driving, making sure we stayed balanced.
‘‘The fish was the width of the boat.’’
The boys lobbed in recently to buy their 3.9metre runabout online and have been very happy with the purchase.
‘‘It’s got a good reliable 25hp motor that took up most of the money we paid, but the older tinnie itself is good because we don’t mind so much if we hit snags or oyster racks or whatever. It’s pretty durable.’’
All three anglers are into catch and release, but when they tried to re-swim this fish its swim bladder had swollen and it was showing definite symptoms of barotrauma.
‘‘We spent about 20minutes trying to swim it back,’’ Adam said.
‘‘We released it once and [it] swam off but then reappeared belly up.
‘‘It definitely couldn’t get down.
‘‘In retrospect, I think it would have been more advantageous to the fish if we’d used heavier line because the light line extended the fight and so the fish was very tired.
‘‘The smaller school jew tend to go back down OK, but the bigger ones struggle.’’
Adam reckons it’s worth reminding anglers that ‘‘weight release’’ sinker systems should be used when releasing fish with obvious signs of this swim bladder swelling or barotrauma.
Otherwise they’ll just float around the river belly up and die.
‘‘Weight release systems will return the fish to the bottom quickly and safely,’’ Adam said.
‘‘These can be purchased from most tackle stores for minimum cost and can greatly increase the chances of releasing big mulloway successfully to breed and be caught again!’’
The boys are looking to get out on the water again this Australia Day long weekend in search of mulloway.
‘‘There’s been a few schoolies taken up near Stocko bridge,’’ Adam said.
‘‘They’ve been getting the odd one near the pilot station.
‘‘The key is to pick the tide – the last hour before runout tide is always good, although you need to weight down your baits more.
‘‘Another key is picking those deeper holes as well. A little drop-off always helps.
‘‘But if you’re willing to spend the hours you’ll get the reward.
‘‘I’ve heard there’s been lots coming off the beach this week too.’’
Keep it legal
IT looks like we’re in for a few thunderstorms over the long weekend with temps up around the 30-degree mark and nor’easters the prevalent wind.
But in the main there should be some windows to wet a line. Estuaries have been producing flathead, bream and whiting in good numbers.
Remember to have all your fishing licence paperwork in order as Fisheries officers have been active.
Fish of the Week online
LAST week’s Fish of the Week winner, as decided by the Herald, was Tri Tran, and it seems he was the People’s Choice too, accumulating a decisive 59per cent of the vote in our online poll.
Blake Jackson came in second with 10.3per cent, closely followed by Hugh Thomas and Andrew Linton.
Get online at theherald.com.au. and check out this week’s submissions. Just punch ‘‘fishing’’ into the search to get where you need to go.