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Wahoo - life's a lottery with big game fish

FORREST GUMP'S momma was right. Life really is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you'll hook, especially when it comes to game fishing on the wide blue yonder.

FORREST GUMP'S momma was right. Life really is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you'll hook, especially when it comes to game fishing on the wide blue yonder.

The good news is that the heavy-tackle season for giant black marlin off Cairns is one of the best in a decade. Plenty of big marlin have been hooked and released in the past month.

This bodes well for future stocks. With lots of big marlin about, chances are their offspring will range down the coast. But therein lies the lucky dip. It all depends on the East Australian Current.

Most years, the marlin swim south to at least Bermagui. But in the best seasons they leap within cooee of the coast. I've fought many marlin against the backdrop of Centrepoint Tower.

Then there are the mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and occasional species such as spearfish that add to the mix. Dispatch a spread of lures and troll in the abyss. You never know what will jump on the hook.

It's the thrill of the unknown that keeps keen game fishers coming back. The other sure thing is that the fish-aggregating devices deployed in NSW help your chances. Many of us have caught mahi mahi or dolphin fish from the FADs before. But several that I've landed have sported scars across their flanks from marlin-bill strikes. Find the FADs at dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/

recreational/saltwater/fads/map.

Meanwhile, a smattering of yellowfin and bluefin tuna are reportedly out wide, but the warm water carrying marlin is only starting to trickle down. The new current has had a more immediate effect on the snapper fishing. Keen fishers have been launching after-work midweek sorties along the northern peninsula. Long Reef, Mona Vale and Avalon have been productive.

The beaches are another beneficiary of the 19-degree water. Whiting are biting, along with tailor and a few bream in the rocky corners. The jewfish will be just around the corner, too.

Central coast skipper Paul Minto saw a free-jumping black marlin on the 50-metre line last week, where a few striped tuna are splashing about. Kingfish are still coming from the deep reefs.

The inshore grounds along the 40- to 55-metre mark are producing mixed bags of morwong, flathead, trevally and snapper. Some big nannygai have been landed as well. Whales, dolphins and seals are plentiful.

Hawkesbury guide Ron Osman found oodles of Aussie salmon anywhere between Broken Bay and Cowan Creek. Anchoring and berleying is attracting scores of trevally and bream. Flathead are being landed on bait not lures. Thumper luderick to 42 centimetres are coming from the Hawkesbury, Brisbane Water, Pittwater, Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay and Port Hacking. Big blue swimmers have arrived for those with witches-hat nets.

Narrabeen Bait adds that flathead, bream and whiting are coming from the local lake, with the latter preferring live worms near the entrance. Whiting to 40 centimetres have turned up on the beaches.

Local anglers using fresh squid on downriggers have been taking a few kingfish in Pittwater. There are also keeper-sized snapper around Scotland Island.

Charterboat Allie Hunter has been scoring mixed bags on the reefs off Sydney. An odd kingfish is lurking on the 12 Mile. Seven-gills, makos and blue sharks are cruising around. But the flathead drifts are more reliable.

In many ways, the fishing is between seasons. Botany Bay is a case in point, with a few bream and trevally keeping company with a few flathead and whiting. Tailor and Aussie salmon are around the washes, while the Georges River has small jewfish.

We just need that East Australian Current to kick in to stir the game fishing. Given the great action from Queensland to Coffs Harbour, it's only a matter of time.

david.lockwood@bigpond.com


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