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Anglers wait with baited breath
Greg Clarke

There are plenty of pan-sized snapper over the inshore reefs this month.

Christmas is done and dusted. For many, now is holiday time with plenty of days to hit the water and get amongst the big ones. The offshore scene this month is always looked upon with great anticipation, as it generally sets the pattern for the rest of the summer. If the hot water shows late or the pelagics like marlin and mahimahi are slow off the mark, it can mean a short season. If they hit with a bang in numbers, all will be good for weeks to come.

Unlike last year, the striped marlin have been a bit slow over the past few weeks. With a push of warmer water, the luderick could show up and get things going. We can expect them from New Years day onwards, but the major action is later in the month when all the reefs along the coast fire. As always, places like Bandit Reef, Wollongong Reef and the reefs off Shell Harbour have schools of bait – the main targets.

A few stragglers will always be about, so it always pays to have that live slimy or yellowtail out swimming, no matter where or how you’re fishing. They can pop up anywhere. Without a bait in the water, you don’t stand a chance.

With the first clean bluewater that pushes down the coast, mahimahi arrive. The ones that sit on the front of the current are usually big. They pass through and small fish take up residence on every FAD and marker all along the coast before a few bigger fish move in later. They are extremely popular these days with boats jostling for positions on the FADs often at speed, throwing lures and baits and generally making a lot of noise.

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