REPORT: A Day of the Weird & Wonderful

AS the height of winter takes hold, the fishing has definitely tapered off in Sydney estuaries. Don’t get me wrong, the fishing is still good but the champagne action of autumn is well and truly over.

While some lucky fishos are heading offshore to tackle the tuna brigade, the rest of us have to capitalise on the opportunities that remain closer to home. To that effect we headed to Botany Bay on Saturday with thoughts of winter kings and salmon to get our sportfishing fix.

For a change the wind forecast looked good and it seemed the boffins who predict the weather finally got it right. It was a magic day out on the Bay as it resembled a sheet of glass with just a bit of cloud cover to spice up the action. Well, it looked like it was going to be a pearler but unfortunately the fish didn’t read my script…

While we didn’t catch every fish in the ocean we did have an unusual day which kept things interesting. It was a day of firsts and a day of “wows”.

Early in the morning I hooked onto a good fish that pulled decent string on 4lb line. I usually like to call the type of fish I’ve hooked, and invariably get it right – after a while you know how fish fight. This one was different though and I couldn’t quite get a gauge on what it was. Even when we saw flashes of colour we called it for a tailor and a small jew. We were astonished when a 44cm whiting came up with the 70mm Squidgy Fish totally disappearing into its gob. It was my PB whiting on bait or lure.

After a short time I loaded up again. Once again I was confused with the fight thinking my touch might be off today. I called it for a spirited flathead but it showed unusual agility. When a flying gurnard came to the boat I knew the sort of day we were going to have. I haven’t seen one for nigh on 10 years and it was a first for me on a plastic.

After a few pics and some laughs about our weird visitor, I hooked up again. On the way to the boat I called flathead but my mate Gio called it for a flying gurnard, which I thought was a damn good joke seeing the last was the first one he’d ever seen. When another bloody gurnard came up I just about gave the game away…

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Not to be outdone, Gio chimed in with his bit of material. Having an absolute shocker, his day was summed up when he hooked the fish of his life that turned out to be a rod and reel that had obviously lived on the ocean floor for a long time. It amused the rest of us seeing him battle with the lifeless outfit. Once again it was a first.

To top it off, my mate Christian, who hasn’t been fishing for over five years, hooked into a thumper fish. We called it for a kingy and after a torrid fight on 4lb string we were surprised to see a solid sambo come to the boat. It was funny watching it unfold as this was the biggest fish he had ever caught. I made a remark that he was like a virgin on prom night. Being inexperienced and far too anxious he tried to rush things and force the issue but after some coaching form the sidelines he finally calmed down and got into his groove. In the end he did well and got his prize. It was Chris’ first sambo and another PB.

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To top things off we got 11 flathead, a bream and a squid for the table. Of note were the sheer numbers of undersize snapper currently in the Bay. We got a heap of them and it’s a positive sign for the future.

While we didn’t set the world on fire, we managed to hook the weird and wonderful and enjoy a few laughs while doing it.

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