JonD

A day away from tuna

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Having taken a young lad out over the weekend new to fishing who I took through the basics, flathead, bonito's and a bit of reef fishing. This had made my daughter reminisce the old days before she became so hardcore on the offshore scene, so both herself and my young lad headed out for a fun session on small fish.

Soon found a patch of very hungry salmon at the back of the surf which resulted in hookup after hookup which I struggled to keep up with releasing!!!

From there on we tried a few spots for squid but no luck there, possibly due to the water temp drop to 17'c inshore. We always seem to find a few dolphins along the shore line which are fun to watch for a while.

Headed out to 60m water where the snapper used to be a few years ago before the jackets took over the local reefs. I dropped a micro jig, my son a baited rig and my daughter a soft plastic. The sneaky girl hooked a nice little snapper first drop, which had us all pretty excited as we haven't had much luck on them for the last 5 years. Unfortunately that was the only snapper before the jackets took everything we dropped. We moved and moved for two hours to only to find jackets ready to snip us off on our first drop. The funny thing (or not so funny really) is that these reefs no longer show signs of the marine growth on them they used to have. I wonder if the jackets have had such an effect on other species that the reefs have changed in themselves. 

I don't think I will waste fuel heading up that way for snapper again this year.

 

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Good work Jon.  We will head down for a week when they open the caravan parks and hopefully it doesn't get too much colder. We have Handkerchief Beach at the back of the park where we stay, but have never done much good off the sand.

 

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At least you found one Jon. To be honest, we struggled yesterday on the snapper too. Only managed 4 up to 70cms. A bit disappointing really. 😬😬
Sounds like a nice family trip anyway! 
 

cheers scratchie!!! 

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Funny you should mention about reef being barren once the dreaded Jackets have been in residence for a while, I kind of noticed the same thing, but just put it down to "something" no idea what goes on, maybe they simply eat every single edible thing and the other fish/weed/stuff just moves on to greener pastures?

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Great story and Super photos.

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3 hours ago, Killer said:

Good work Jon.  We will head down for a week when they open the caravan parks and hopefully it doesn't get too much colder. We have Handkerchief Beach at the back of the park where we stay, but have never done much good off the sand.

 

Yes that beach tends to be a bit shallow most of the time with no real deep gutters. A little drive down to Tilba beach should find you some decent deep gutters which normally hold good fish.

 

3 hours ago, Scratchie said:

At least you found one Jon. To be honest, we struggled yesterday on the snapper too. Only managed 4 up to 70cms. A bit disappointing really. 😬😬
Sounds like a nice family trip anyway! 
 

cheers scratchie!!! 

Stop it scratchie!!!!....there are a few around Montague which is closer and a good new challenge to find. It's funny how the jackets are far less of a problem in this area.

 

2 hours ago, noelm said:

Funny you should mention about reef being barren once the dreaded Jackets have been in residence for a while, I kind of noticed the same thing, but just put it down to "something" no idea what goes on, maybe they simply eat every single edible thing and the other fish/weed/stuff just moves on to greener pastures?

 

I do wonder if the jackets have eaten those vital cleaners of the reef like wrasse, morwong and algae feeding species. I'm sure they would destroy squid and their eggs pretty quick too. 

The area never used to get much comercial pressure but a few years ago it was hit heavily by traps, which I believe took away leather jacket predators. Montague island doesn't have the trapping and doesn't suffer jacket problems anywhere near the same but due to less fish in other areas suffers extra pressure from us anglers instead.

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Would they be the Ocean Leatherjackets Jon.

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1 hour ago, Blackfish said:

Would they be the Ocean Leatherjackets Jon.

Yes those are the ones.

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Sometimes the jackets move into Bate Bay, out from Cronulla, and they will eat just about anything. Fortunately does not happen too often.

When they are in plague numbers, they will attack hooked fish. At times when the small ones swim up under that boat, I have hooked one, killed it and thrown it into the water. The others swarm in and eat every scrap of the dead jacket in seconds - falling overboard would be like falling into piranha infested waters.

Two jackets I caught around the 45cm mark years ago had parts of a small blue spotted ray inside their stomachs. One had the entire tail, with bite marks along the tail, and the other had parts of the head, include one entire eye. It appeared to me that the school of jackets had ambushed the ray, attacked it and eaten it alive, as the body parts of the ray were still firm and unaffected by stomach acid of the jackets.

Other times the jackets have all had nothing at all in their stomachs, and were thinner than normal, suggesting they were short of food. Having seen all sorts of marine growth inside jackets stomachs at different times, leads me to believe that jackets will eat anything to survive, and may decimate marine growth areas when hungry and in large numbers.

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Love your photos Jon you just keep on doing it 

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Those yellow ocean jackets can and do eat anything, they can bite a 4/0 hook clean through, there can be schools with literally thousands on them swarming like a cloud, devouring anything, not too sure how or why they are as thick as they are now, I do remember years ago when I was a little kid my father was complaining about them, so maybe they run in "cycles"? and in a few years they will just fizzle out? Mind you, they have been around for a while now, and getting thicker, if they get in a fish trap, they can nip through the wire and escape if all the baits gone.

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46 minutes ago, noelm said:

Those yellow ocean jackets can and do eat anything, they can bite a 4/0 hook clean through, there can be schools with literally thousands on them swarming like a cloud, devouring anything, not too sure how or why they are as thick as they are now, I do remember years ago when I was a little kid my father was complaining about them, so maybe they run in "cycles"? and in a few years they will just fizzle out? Mind you, they have been around for a while now, and getting thicker, if they get in a fish trap, they can nip through the wire and escape if all the baits gone.

My grandfather, now passed on, said back in the 1920's and 30's that those mongrel jackets would swim up like a cloud under the boat, and it was just a matter of dangling a piece of fish in the water and picking out the jackets by hand, careful not to be bitten as he could hear the teeth chomping away.

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On 5/19/2020 at 12:12 PM, JonD said:

Having taken a young lad out over the weekend new to fishing who I took through the basics, flathead, bonito's and a bit of reef fishing. This had made my daughter reminisce the old days before she became so hardcore on the offshore scene, so both herself and my young lad headed out for a fun session on small fish.

Soon found a patch of very hungry salmon at the back of the surf which resulted in hookup after hookup which I struggled to keep up with releasing!!!

From there on we tried a few spots for squid but no luck there, possibly due to the water temp drop to 17'c inshore. We always seem to find a few dolphins along the shore line which are fun to watch for a while.

Headed out to 60m water where the snapper used to be a few years ago before the jackets took over the local reefs. I dropped a micro jig, my son a baited rig and my daughter a soft plastic. The sneaky girl hooked a nice little snapper first drop, which had us all pretty excited as we haven't had much luck on them for the last 5 years. Unfortunately that was the only snapper before the jackets took everything we dropped. We moved and moved for two hours to only to find jackets ready to snip us off on our first drop. The funny thing (or not so funny really) is that these reefs no longer show signs of the marine growth on them they used to have. I wonder if the jackets have had such an effect on other species that the reefs have changed in themselves. 

I don't think I will waste fuel heading up that way for snapper again this year.

 

_JDP2090.jpg.bb6a8253b12186ab2677bb734aba98be.jpg

_JDP2169.jpg.f7ef513506b552fe1aebbfbe903af18c.jpg

_JDP2171.jpg.93f1349606846b653253ec58b93b96f4.jpg

_JDP2212.jpg.45bf74d2409a5c6707ea45fd9d102015.jpg

_JDP2229.thumb.jpg.eee07bf4c77483c172c5c7e8f4744def.jpg

 

 

 

Awesome photos!

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