Quality late season Spaniards
  |  First Published: July 2017

So the icy depths of winter are upon us, and game fishing becomes a very low priority on the list of fun activities. Sensible late starts and inshore reef fishing for snapper, trag, pearl perch and tuskies is now the focus for most of us.

Both local game fishing clubs could barely raise a fish in the dying weeks of their respective seasons, despite a fairly strong presence out there due to some favourable weather windows. A couple of blue marlin were lost, but as has been the case all season, there was a substantial amount of water between them.

The Spanish hung on in there though. The bite slowed somewhat after all the rain, so fish were few and far between, but some quality late season specimens were boated once the clarity improved a bit.

Nambucca Heads was quite consistent, and my mate Liam Williams scored the fish of several lifetimes in close a couple of months back. It pulled the electronic scales down to 37.9kg, which is an absolute beast of a Spanish for far north Queensland, let alone this far south.

Having blitzed the mackerel the day before, for a change of pace a soft plastics snapper session was deemed in order. A live slimy mackerel was left to do its thing out the back as they floated along, working their soft plastics forward of the boat as they drifted.

Surprisingly, the big mack only took 15 minutes to land, possibly because it was full of baby mackerel tuna that were schooling along the coast at the time. However, its stomach contents revealed just a couple of yakkas and the jawbone of a small snapper.

Asking around, there has been the odd fish larger than this boated over the decades, with a couple topping 40kg in years gone by, but Liam’s Spaniard is still one of the largest ever weighed in NSW waters. Unfortunately it was caught on braid, so un-claimable as any sort of state game fishing record, but it’s still an impressive capture.

Obviously with a fish of this size you’re asking for a severe dose of ciguatera poisoning if you try to eat it, so its final destination is the lounge room wall, with Scott Ward doing the cast. The otoliths are going to be examined by DPI Fisheries to get an idea of the fish’s age, so I’ll report back on what that reveals in due course.

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