Estuaries kick in
  |  First Published: October 2010

Dust off the waders and charge the batteries, grab the underwater lights and have a nanna nap in the afternoon, because the dark of the moon this month means the first run of prawns in the lake for the coming season.

You should start to look on the run-out tide during the dark in the first week of October. Then the prawns should run again in the last week of the month, when they should be even better, particularly if there are a few thunderstorms about.

They are not just good tucker for humans, but for just about every fish, too, so they kick-start the season into action, particularly in the estuaries and on adjoining beaches.

The flathead will also get cracking this month and improve as the weather warms. The main channel is the place to be, from the drop off down to the bridge. Soft plastics worked along the edges of the weed beds go well, even in the shallow areas behind the caravan park.

Drifting with live prawns on the run-out tide will also score a heap of fish but you will be kept busy with all the small bream. Larger bream will be about, though, particularly around the bridge pylons just after dark.

If you are fishing the creeks try live unweighted prawns cast to the edges of the big snags and hang on – there are some monster bream in the feeder streams which are now well educated to plastics but can still be tempted by a live prawn.

Down on the sand flats east of the bridge, some quality whiting are starting to appear. Again, live prawns will bring them undone or try little poppers, but it seems for the poppers to work the boat traffic has to be fairly quiet.

The breakwalls of the lake have a few bream and whiting, again live prawns are the bait. There are also salmon and tailor at dawn and dusk on pillies and lures.

A fresh slab of tailor could tempt a school jewie, as could a big soft plastic worked along the walls during the evening.

Minnamurra is much the same, with the bonus of a few big trevally down around the entrance during the evenings on the run-out tide. The warm weather should also stir the bass in the upper reaches.


The beaches are starting to fire with Warilla and Windang the pick at the moment. Whiting, bream, salmon and tailor are all biting and a few flathead are starting to show.

Killalea has a few whiting and salmon while most of the northern beaches have the odd whiting, a few bream and plenty of tailor after dark.

Some nice jewies have been caught with the best over 30kg but most are schoolies to 6kg. Coniston, Towradgi, Thirroul and Coalcliff are all worth a look with fresh bait.

The rocks can be feast or famine, depending on wind and water temperature. A few north-easters and warmer water will have the bonito, salmon and even a few striped tuna off the deeper ledges like the Blowhole Point and Honeycomb.

Put in the time to get live baits and if the bonito stay away there are good kingies patrolling the ledges early and mackerel tuna later in the morning, with even the chance of a yellowfin if all the planets line up.

If the southerlies blow and the water stays cold then salmon, trevally and drummer are the ones to chase in the washes around Bass Point, Bombo, Cathedral Rocks in the south and Honeycomb, Stanwell Park and Coalcliff in the north.


Offshore, it’s happy days for the drifters because the flatties are back on the chew. Fish to 60cm are coming from all of the sand patches, up off Stawell Park scoring plenty.

The leatherjackets seem to be a bit unpredictable, with some spots jacket-free while they are swarming at others. They seemed to thin out in late Winter but are starting to build in numbers again.

Over the reefs there are quite a few nice small snapper along with good mowies. A few small samson fish have started to show, so you know the water is getting warmer, and the pigfish have turned up again.

If you want to challenge yourself, you could set up and see how many leatherjackets you can catch using small long-shanked hooks before losing too many sinkers gets the better of you.

A few nice snapper are over the reefs in 30m if there is not too much current. Use the sounder to locate a school and anchor well up-current and put down plenty of berley. Fish well back in the trail.

You will probably also get a few mini makos, with sharks up to 20kg common, great fun on light tackle and not bad on the plate, now we are allowed to keep them again.

Further offshore there should be a few yellowfin tuna. They made a bit of a show a few weeks back but are yet to get going. A few albacore and heaps of striped tuna have been about so the ’fin can’t be too far away.

Plenty of big makos and whalers are off the Stanwell Park Canyons, along with a few blue sharks.

It’s always worth trolling a few lures this month as the first of the striped marlin should show up and a yellowfin or bluefin is always possible.

Along the shore salmon, bonito and striped tuna are terrorising baitfish, just look for the birds. A few nice kings have come from the shallow reefs around Bellambi and the islands on slow-trolled live baits.

Deeper reefs like Bandit and Wollongong should be worth a look for good kings on livies and jigs, particularly in the lead-up to the full moon.

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