Now we’re starting to get into the full swing of things, with fishing on all fronts set to spark up this month – providing the weather behaves itself, which it certainly hasn’t for much of the year.
Offshore fishing has been very difficult over the past few months, mainly due to the strong winds, which simply don’t allow you to get out there in the first place.
Then there’s the freezing cold water, often as low as 15°, although it tends to be a touch warmer out wider. Leatherjackets, sharks and seals have given everyone a hard time while trying to jig for kings and in close the water has been clear, green and fishless on many days.
However, there have been some reasonable kingfish boated and a sprinkling of snapper, flathead, morwong and trevally to take home for a feed.
As we move towards the end of the month there should be some improvement, with numbers of smaller kingfish moving around the inshore reefs and bommies.
Salmon will also remain in our waters this month and it could be worth trying for a jewfish just after dark if the winds back off.
Beach fishing is another victim of the cold water, with salmon the main species available this month and they’ll probably stick around until mid-December or whenever the water starts to warm up.
A few bream, tailor and jewfish have been caught along some of our beaches over the past month and from this point on, it’s well worth putting in the effort to chase jewfish after dark. The best baits are fresh or freshly frozen calamari, big beach worms or fresh tailor or mullet.
Rock fishing can be a bit more reliable if your goal is to simply catch a few fish for the dinner table.
Drummer, bream and blackfish are likely to take baits fished right in close to any wash, adjacent to points, gutters that cut back into the rocks and patches of semi submerged reef.
I keep saying it, fresh white bread squeezed over the hook and fished in conjunction with a light bread-based berley trail is the best way to go if you would like to score a mixed bag of species.
Depending on what’s there, some days you’ll hook only bream, while other days drummer will repeatedly get in on the act, but it’s reasonably common to catch all three species in the one session when using plain white bread.
Having said that, don’t expect great fishing just yet as there’s also a good chance it will be tough going.
Other fish that may be active along the rocks include groper, tailor and salmon. Pick of the spots would be South Avoca, Frazer Park and Catherine Hill Bay, but remember to take care and don’t even think about fishing if the seas are rough.
Back in the calmer water, Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water should really start to improve as water temps rise. Flathead are probably the best bet this month but bream, blackfish and whiting should also be active.
Flathead are widespread through our waterways but some places tend to be better than others.
The Entrance is certainly one of our best flathead spots, although the size of the fish encountered there isn’t as good as the numbers.
A better class of fish can be found down around Ettalong and through to Woy Woy and if you’re on the northern end of the Central Coast, try the lower parts of Lake Macquarie around Chain Valley Bay and Mannering Park.
I still reckon soft plastics are the best thing you could cast when flathead are on the wish list. Some of my favourites include Atomic Prongs, Berkley 4” Power Minnows and 5” Gulp Jerk Shads.
Down around the lower end of Brisbane Water you may need to match these plastics with reasonably heavy jig heads if the current has some push to it, but in Tuggerah or the shallow southern end of Lake Macquarie, lighter jig heads are a better choice.
It’s now time to break out the surface lures for some fun bream action.
One of the better new lures to try is the Maria Pencil, a 55mm stickbait that has a great walk-the-dog action. This is the perfect size for bream and if you fish it in super-shallow water, expect a few whiting and flathead to latch onto it.
If we have a week of colder or rainy weather then it may be a better idea to go back to casting plastics, metal blades or diving hardbodies.
Rises or falls in water temperature are basically like a big switch that turns bream on or off and I’ve seen a lot of that sort of thing this year. Hopefully, though, that bad weather will stay away and let us all get on with the important stuff – catching fish!Reads: 1710