Fishing: Offshore pelagic action running hot and cold

THE ocean might be bath-warm but the offshore pelagic action can still be hot and cold in this early part of the season.

Tropical pelagics like mackerel, mahimahi and tuna are certainly on the cards for offshore fishers but sometimes they'll bite and sometimes they won't.

Mackerel at this time of year frequently have an "off" day and an "on" day and if you haven't timed things right, fishing can be hard for no apparent reason.

It helps if you can schedule your trip a day after a southerly blows through but weekend warriors just have to wear the vagaries of the fish.

Mahimahi are the same, with the FADs firing up for all and sundry some days and almost dead on others. But, as one FAD fisher says, it doesn't help when the other boats out there bump into the buoy or, worse still, tie off on it.

And on those golden days, things can really happen, as a bunch of Ballina fishos witnessed on Wednesday when a mob of tuna exploded all over a ball of bait near the Big Gap in the Porpoise Wall inside the Richmond River.

The river itself is harbouring the usual suspects, according to Brett at Ballina Bait and Tackle.

Whiting and flathead are working up to Pimlico, where the bream and school mulloway take over to Wardell and beyond.

The fatal tinny

MEN not wearing lifejackets in small boats made up around two-thirds of NSW boating fatalities in 2014/15, according to recent government stats.

Each of the 16 fatalities for the period was male.

The RMS report Boating Incidents in NSW - Statistical Statement 2014-15 showed fatalities had doubled from the previous year and serious injuries were higher than the long term average, with 16 fatalities and 82 people seriously injured.

"The majority of deaths occur when people are forced into the water, underscoring the need for everyone to wear a modern lifejacket every time they go boating," a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

Key points of the report include:

  • The total of recreational (15) and commercial (one) boating fatalities was close to the long-term average (16.9).
  • A long-term downward trend remained evident for recreational and commercial fatal incident rates.
  • Nine of the 14 fatal recreational incidents involved a vessel less than 6m long and of those, five were less than 4.8m.
  • Eleven out of the 15 victims were not wearing a lifejacket and a further victim was wearing an inflatable lifejacket that was not deployed. If more reason for purchasing and wearing an auto-inflate jacket were necessary, here it is.
  • Nine out of the 11 people presumed drowned in recreational boating incidents were not wearing lifejackets at the time. The long-term rate of non-lifejacket wear among drowning victims remains around 90%.
  • The long-term data also suggests that more than 60% of recreational boating fatalities could have been prevented if all people presumed drowned had worn lifejackets, regardless of requirements.

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