Anthony Stokman of Compleat Angler: Jigging the depths between Inshore and Offshore
After an awesome tuna run and now with winter coming towards the end we start thinking about sunny days ahead and with the way the currents are looking at the moment there are signs of an early spring, which kind of makes sense as the bluefin were early also. So even though we just experienced 14 degree water temp over the weekend being a peak low which is normal for winter there are signs of water warming in other areas and currents starting to run downhill. Wattles are starting to bloom and winter is soon behind us, and at this stage there is not much water pushing towards the shelf but what is coming down is what can bring the school yellowfin that we experience throughout spring. I’ve had some great sessions on these guys on the snapper gear, but this has been more throughout October and November. Don’t rule out big yellowfin throughout September which is usually the last month these days for the larger fish to show up. September can be a quiet and very hit and miss month offshore.
What makes things more interesting offshore is bottom fishing between 60m depths to the Continental Shelf. Combing the 120m depths is a lot of water to comb but if you do and if you come across some structure, and what I mean by structure is it can be just one rock, then that’s all it takes to have life around it. These depths have been more commercially fished over the years and now is becoming more interesting to rec fisho’s with electric reels, jig and bait outfits.
At 5kms from our coastline you are in 60 to 70m depths and this is usually where most boats draw a line for their inshore fishing. Beyond here the fishing can be very quiet. Usually in that depth onwards you’ll find mostly quality table fish, but they are very spread out and hard to find at times. Closer in shore you have a lot of undesirable fish mixed with a lot of good table fish and all kinds of species sticking closer to the weed and structure. Fishing in shore means a lot more activity and more bites. Fishing beyond 60m depth means less activity and less bites and less structure. It’s more barren out there and it means a lot more moving and watching the depth sounder to find the fish. From 60m depth to 150m depth there is a lot of water and many kilometres to travel which then means weather and boat size plays a part. It has to be safe and this is why most fish around the 60 to 70m depth so when the wind does come up in a smaller boat it’s not that far to start heading in. A new trend however is starting to merge with increased sales of electric reels and an increased fade of micro jigging and jigging in general. Added to improvements in technology in our sounders these baron grounds are becoming more interesting. Just ask Brent Smith and Jem Abbott who have been watching the weather and currents and picking their days to venture out between inshore grounds and the shelf. These guys have been using the electric reel and jigging at the same time catching bar cod, snapper, flatties, sea perch, nannygai, john dory and you just never know what else is going to jump on out there. You could be as fortunate as Chris Cleaver and find a honey hole of solid sampson fish. Chris and his mates have been dropping jigs into the depths and have been getting absolutely buckled by these freight trains.
So if September gets boring then try looking for some new grounds in some new depths, weather permitting and if you are thinking of doing so you’ll need the gear so come into Compleat Angler Batemans Bay where we have electric reel packages, we have the best jig and micro jig rods in the business. When it comes to sounders we have Furuno and Garmin, when only the best will do. What is a must have for offshore boats is the Garmin Inreach hand held satellite communicators that will keep you connected. Offering 100% global coverage via the Iridium satellite network, both Garmin Inreach units can send and receive text messages with any mobile phone number, email address or another Garmin Inreach device, so users can be outside of mobile/radio range and still keep family and friends up to date with their trip and expected return home and that’s only the tip of the ice berg, they are packed with many more features, come in store to find out more.
If you are land based this coming Spring then hit up the beaches and spin metals and stick baits as the salmon and tailor haven’t slowed down since winter and they are still in good numbers and monster sizes.
If you are on the stones then drummer has been as consistent as usual and soft plastic flicking for snapper is on the cards as well. I’ve also been noticing some good grouper getting caught of late.
The estuaries are naturally quiet at this time of the year but if you persist you will find. One of our customers found a nice metre mulloway caught on raw chicken the other day. It’s not long till Spring has sprung and the estuaries will be heating up.
Squid have still been relativity consistent and octopus has been on some fisho’s menus through winter into spring as there has been a good amount of them getting around.
So with the warmth just around the corner it can be a bit slow at times but there are other and new options out there. Let’s go fishing with Compleat Angler.
Images Below: Jem Abbott is catching all kinds of species on jigs. Check out his sea perch and bar cod.