AFTER a few days of largely unfishable weather, the message is clear this weekend.
“if you’re not going offshore fishing this weekend, you’d want to have a good excuse,” Jason “One For” Nunn from Fisherman’s Warehouse, Marks Point, said on Thursday.
Huge swells and high winds have closed beaches and kept fishing activities confined mostly to protected corners in lakes, bays and estuaries since the weekend.
However, conditions are predicted to ease over the coming days.
But just how fishing will be affected by the bluster at beaches and offshore is a mystery.
Nunn, though, believed the swells and “biggest wind blow in ages” would improve fishing after a period of mostly stagnant weather.
“What is going to be interesting is to see how much the wind and swell has impacted fishing, but many believe, as I do, that the fishing should be out of sight,” Nunn said.
“We’ve got some pretty good tides and after such a dramatic churn up, there will be a lot of fish drawn to the inshore reefs to feed.
“Temperatures will be up, but there will be light to moderate on-shore winds to cool things down, so if you’ve got a boat and you can get offshore, that’s where you’ve got to be, because you won’t have seen it as good as this for a long time.
“I think over the next few days we’ll see some of the best offshore fishing, certainly this season, because it’s been one of those seasons where we’ve had no weather events.”
He said snapper, trag and an abundance of bonito were on the inshore reefs before the big blow and they should be there again.
Further out, though, game-fishing is a greater unknown.
Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackle World Port Stephens, said signs were good before the big swell up his way.
“Last weekend we had a few boats catching marlin on the inshore reefs, which was good,” Hancock said on Thursday.
“On the Saturday we had a few black marlins caught, from 40 up to 85 kilos, but that could have all changed now with that swell.
“There will be a few boys heading out today and tomorrow so it will be interesting to see if that good water is still there.
“The shelf might still be an option so we’ll have to wait and see, but after a big blow like this there’s always plenty of snapper around.
“The reefs will still fish OK, There will be plenty of trag and nice snapper around.”
As for the beaches, Nunn said said it was hard to know how they would shape up.
“All those traditional banks are going to be busted up so until it settles down we won’t know if we’ve got one big gutter or lots of smaller gutters to fish from,” he said.
Like Hancock, Nunn said his shop had been inundated with anglers buying bait and getting ready for offshore trips after the enforced break.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom this week.
Nunn said surface lures had been doing the trick around the Lake and there had been strong demand for tube worms to catch whiting.
“The fishing in the estuary has been good,” he said.
“There’s a lot of flathead around, as you would expect this time of year, but there's also a lot of school jew, bream and whiting getting caught on surface lures.
“Young Corey Reid used Nomad surface poppers to get a nice big tailor over a kilo, a couple of whiting and a couple of bream on Wednesday afternoon, just walking along the shoreline and casting into the shallows at Green Point.”
Hancock had a similar report from the Bay.
“The estuaries have still been fishing OK, even though it’s been windy,” he said.
“There’s pockets where you can get out of it and there's been some nice flatties and whiting around in the Bay, mainly on the beaches, anywhere from Soldiers to Shoal Bay, and that’s only going to get better with this nice weather coming.”
THE BIG BLUE
It was at the other side of the country, but a record blue marlin catch has raised excitement ahead of game-fishing tournaments in the region, especially the Garmin Billfish Shootout at Port Stephens.
The February 17-18 tournament carries $100,000 prizemoney for the heaviest pacific blue marlin caught exceeding 236 kilograms.
On January 1, a blue marlin more than twice that size made headlines in Exmouth, Western Australia.
The Australian record catch of 496.3kg (1089.7 pounds) fish was the first to break the 1000-pound mark.
Before the Billfish Shootout, Lake Macquarie’s Big Fish Bonanza will be held on February 9-11. The Shootout will be followed a week later by the NSWGFA Interclub titles at Port Stephens and Newcastle’s East Coast Classic on March 10-11.
“There’s a lot of small marlin coming down the coast and quite a few blue marlin up at Port Macquarie the past couple of weeks,” Nunn said. “We’ll see a lot more fish coming down the coast now.”