It’s a great time to hit the estuaries. With the temperature climbing in and out of the water, the likes of bream, flathead, blackfish and whiting will all be available.
As usual, the lower reaches will generally be the better option early in the season as fish return to the rivers from the ocean.
Luring bream from oyster racks is a popular choice at this time of year.
While you can pick up the odd bream around the racks at any stage of the tide, the prime times are usually when the water level is about 15cm higher than the top of the racks on the run-up tide or, preferably, running out.
The fish certainly become more aggressive at this time which makes life easier for us anglers to fool them.
There is a multitude of lures you can use.
Tiny shallow-diving lures cast up-current and worked along the edges of the racks back towards the boat is one way to try.
While this certainly is effective on bream, it can be frightfully expensive if you suffer a number of bust-offs in a session. At around $20 a pop on average, it’s pretty easy to do yourself out of $100 in lures if the big fish are in town.
A locked-down drag and decent leader coupled with some heavy-handed tactics will definitely swing the odds in the angler’s favour.
I did spy some nice looking bream lures by Troll Craft recently in my local tackle shop that were around $7. They looked worth a try so there are a few cheaper alternatives if you look.
Another method is to work surface lures over the tops of the racks. A slow, constant retrieve or a stop-start blooping retrieve will draw the attention of any prowling bream. I prefer the latter approach, making sure to really pause the offering so the bream can get a good look at it.
A floating lure is much better than one that sinks in this situation as the fish can often hang motionless just centimetres below the lure. I won’t move the lure again unless the fish is losing interest, because I have found they often shy off instead of bite if you twitch it at this crucial stage.
Just be sure you are ready for a lightning-fast strike should that fish decide to bite.
If you are lucky enough to have prawns present on the surface, or medium-sized insects, then the fish will be much easier to fool and generally will just crunch your offering, more akin to a pelagic fish.
Lightly weighted soft plastics, again worked with the tide, are another option and one of the cheapest choices. The retrieve generally is to simulate a wounded baitfish.
Try to present the plastic in a rising and falling manner along the edge of the rack. Don’t bother too much with working the lure deep because the fish are there to feed off the oysters and other growth, rather than on the seabed, so that will be where they focus their attention.
Of course, you can also slip back to the dark ages and use bait for bream. Just be sure to anchor where your berley will drift into the racks with the current to tempt them out.
Choose a nice oily fish bait like striped tuna or slimy mackerel and you should be able to bag a few.
Some good jewfish action has been also occurring in the Clyde River lately with reports of fish to 13kg. It has been a real long time coming for the Clyde’s jew population to start nudging into double figures.
It doesn’t take much brain matter to deduce that the removal of commercial nets, thanks to the marine park restrictions, is the reason for above-average fish around all of a sudden.
Give it a few more years and the Clyde will be a jewfish stronghold as it once was back in the good old days.
Off the stones, some good snapper are still lurking around despite being way past the traditional season.
Dean Heycox made use of the first day of calmer conditions after a solid few days of swell and bagged snapper of 2.5kg and 4.5kg and still managed to make it to work on time!
Some great drummer are being caught, with solid pigs to 3kg common. Drummer are usually considered only Winter targets by many but are often abundant and basically untouched throughout the warmer months.
Numerous times I can recall an LBG trip being salvaged when a surprise session on pigs went down because someone noticed a school of black tanks chewing on the weed at our feet.
It is pretty comical watching a drummer session when high-speed spin tackle is all that you have!
Speaking of LBG, the first wave of kingfish should start to filter through by now and I have a gut feeling that this will be a good season.
This month often sees a big influx of pike and squid to the area and anyone who knows kingfish knows that these two species figure high on their list of favourite foods.
Already I have the LBG itch creeping into my everyday thoughts and plan to do plenty of trips over the ensuing moths.
Roll on Summer!
Sunset is always a good time to be wetting a line, whether you fish the rocks, beaches, estuary or offshore.Reads: 810