Sadly, many folk experience the open ocean only by proxy. They flick through the pages of a book, watch a doco on the box, play an app or online video. But for those with a sense of adventure, not misadventure, there’s a whole new world to discover in and around the sea. Seasoned anglers will tell you that catching fish is just part of the experience. Encountering new critters can be just as moving. And there’s always something else to see. For example, over the course of a typical fishing season off Sydney you can expect to encounter several varieties of whales, huge pods of common dolphins and playful bottlenose, and we’ve even seen an unusual blunt-headed Risso’s dolphin in our wake. Turtles and seals arrive at various times and the changing seasons bring all manner of seabirds. None is more graceful than the albatross, although the Jesus birds walking on water are a sight. Find the birds and you’ll find the fish. Riding the hot summer currents are the game fish. Free-jumping marlin get the heart racing, as does the neon dolphin fish holding around the FADs, not to mention the vast schools of rippling tuna or bait. Hammerheads and mako sharks are often basking on the surface, as are the awkward sunfish dining out on jellyfish. Feeding on the rafts of blue bottles are the dragon-like glaucus and glaucilla, aka blue swallows, a species of sea slug. Pelagic crabs and other critters such as red algae join in the mix. Then when you steam home at the end of the day you leave that world behind. With the ocean rather gnarly it will be a while before we get back offshore. But in good weather the wide blue yonder always provides a day to remember.
WEATHER IT OUT
The dire weather forecast forced the Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club to postpone its annual Big Fish Bonanza. It’s always a great fish indicator for the Shootout and Interclub at Port Stephens later this month. There have been black marlin in close and some dolphin fish about. Snapper have been snapping on the reefs and are likely to remain that way in the aftermath of the storm. But estuary fishing reports prevail this week. Hawkesbury guide Ron Osman has found small jewfish to 60cm and bream around the headlands. However, the big wet has sent the surface fish packing. Catfish, eels and dog sharks prevail instead. The beaches are a wipe-out, but jewfish should return to those stretches near Narrabeen and Dee Why lagoons when the swell abates. Sydney Harbour is rain-affected, although there are still big tailor up top in the lower reaches. Kingfish are hard to find and Middle Harbour is miry. Word is the bream are biting at Sow and Pigs and, we’re betting, Botany Bay.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.