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Drawn to the prawn
  |  First Published: October 2010



That magnificent rain we had early in the year has left our estuaries in wonderful shape for the season, and with the bonus of increased amounts of prawn life, it’s good times ahead for fish and humans.

The start of the prawn season is now upon us and most of our lakes and estuaries are holding good stocks of small prawns with Wallaga, Cuttagee and Barragoot the best.

The lead up to the dark phase of the moon and the days after are best and they occur early in the month. Most of the prawns will likely be small but will grow quickly as the weather warms.

And at the end of the month and leading into early November should be excellent so refurbish your nets, patch the waders, charge the batteries and get ready for the raw prawn.

Good stocks of prawns in our estuaries usually mean great fishing. Estuary fish feast on prawns to gain condition they may have lost over the cooler months.

The upper reaches of the Bermagui River and Wallaga and Cuttagee lakes are producing some excellent captures of bream and flathead. Prawn imitation lures, especially over the flats around the weed beds, are doing the job.

Early on still mornings, look for prawns that have stopped out late and not yet returned to their sandy beds. These make for an easy meal and can often be observed as they skip across the surface with a predator close behind determined to deliver the last rites. This is prime time for the excitement of popper fishing.

There is plenty of action for the bait fishos as well. Of course, fresh prawns are going to work but so are nippers, worms or live mullet and there are plenty of whiting, bream, blackfish, flathead and trevally willing to feed.

OFFSHORE

Out to sea it’s tiger flathead time. The deeper you fish the bigger they get. Start in around 50m at places like the inside of the Four Mile Reef, then move further out in 60m towards the bottom end of the Six Mile Reef or, for the really big ones, 100m to 140m around the Twelve Mile.

The fringes of these reefs will also account for plenty of tasty reef fish. One of the best, the pigfish, is seemingly increasing in numbers. Mixed in are plenty of jackass and blue morwong, lots of snapper and Tassie trumpeter are still showing on the Twelve Mile.

Or you could try the trenches for blue-eye trevalla, hapuku, cod, gemfish and the other oddballs that call the deep home. It is very interesting fishing and seeing you are out there, you might as well try for a game fish.

Mako sharks are an option; employ a berley trail (preferably of striped tuna) and you may just encounter one of the best game fish you can catch. Striped tuna are starting to show, along with albacore, yellowfin and the odd big eye tuna.

These fish are being taken on the troll with skirted lures and diving minnows.

The edge of the continental shelf is a good place to start, working out wider to the canyons while keeping an eye out for feeding birds. Always expect the unexpected – there have been marlin caught at this time of year. Keep an eye on the water temp charts for the warmer areas.

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