Few people are better qualified to write of the delights of the Central Coast
SECTION: location guide
NOTES: 2 maps with keys in text below
For generations, the Central Coast from Terrigal to Avoca has been a very popular tourist destination, as well as a favourite with local anglers, surfers or those just wanting a nice day outdoors.
While the area has certainly changed with the times, the fishing here remains in very good shape.
My earlier times here were mainly spent casting baits and lures from the famous South Avoca rock platform.
I can still remember my first fish there, a mack tuna of around 3kg. However, by the time I started fishing here, there had already been a number of very notable captures at South Avoca, including black marlin and large Spanish mackerel.
Although larger game fish aren’t often caught here these days, there’s always plenty of other action, thanks to species like bonito, kingfish, salmon, tailor, bream and others.
The same fish can also be caught from the rocks surrounding the large wedge-shaped headland known as the Terrigal Skillion.
Spinning with metal lures, poppers or diving minnows has always been a reliable way of getting into some action around these rocks, especially from late Summer through to early Winter. During these months the bonito, kings, salmon and tailor are in full swing.
Top metal lures here are typically around 40g to 65g and I’ve found the SureCatch Knights to be among the better ones.
A lighter style of spinning is also available in the calmer waters of the Terrigal Haven, where frigate mackerel often show up through February, March and April. In this case, gear that you would normally use in the estuary on bream or flathead can be used to cast small metal lures of 10g to 20g.
Another perhaps even more reliable option is to use whole pilchards pinned to a set of ganged hooks when fishing from the main platforms at Terrigal or Avoca. These can be cast unweighted and retrieved slowly or they can be suspended about 2m under a styrofoam float.
Fish like bream, drummer, luderick, silver trevally and blue groper are favourite local Winter targets. Baits like peeled prawns, white bread or cunjevoi will tempt these fish, but a more specialised approach may be required for the luderick and blue groper.
Green weed or green cabbage picked off the rock right where you’re fishing works well on the luderick, while the best groper baits are red crabs or whole cooked prawns.
Needless to mention, the rocks here can be dangerous to fish if the seas are up. So before venturing onto the rocks, take a long, hard look to make sure no larger waves are spilling onto the platforms. If in doubt, there’s no point taking any risks.
Offshore fishing is quite varied and generally productive. You’ll find excellent launching facilities here, including a large car parking area dedicated to the trailer boat angler.
Launching is straight off the wide concrete ramp into the sheltered waters of the Terrigal Haven. There is no bar to cross and the waters here are generally quite calm and safe, except during periods of large swell.
Snapper, trevally, jewfish, kingfish, morwong, leatherjackets, flathead and a variety of tuna species are caught in these waters through much of the year, with late Summer through Autumn and into early Winter pretty reliable.
Out wide, marlin and mahi mahi are encountered from late December through to the end of April and as the water cools off, yellowfin tuna and kingfish are the main Winter options.
Occasionally these larger predators will move in close, taking baits or lures intended for less exotic species.
Smaller boats can also do quite well on kingfish and bonito from December to May around the inshore reefs and adjacent headlands.
Terrigal and Avoca offer pretty good beach fishing through most months.
Tailor, salmon, whiting, bream and jewfish are reasonably common, but other fish you may encounter include flathead, dart, silver trevally and whaler sharks.
If you’re not having much luck, other nearby beaches like Wamberal or Forresters may be fishing a bit better and they are only five to 10 minutes’ drive away.
Overall, from January through Autumn and into late Winter are the best for most beach species.
Pilchards pinned to a set of ganged hooks make excellent baits for salmon and tailor or they can be cut into pieces and used on smaller hooks for bream.
Beachworms, pipis or peeled prawns will tempt whiting and if you’re keen on catching a jewfish after dark, it’s hard to go past fresh squid, tailor or mullet.
If you would like to try your luck in calmer water, there are three semi-landlocked lagoons here and the Brisbane Water estuary system is only a short drive away.
Terrigal Lagoon is right near town and Wamberal Lagoon is a five-minute drive up the road, while the more complex Avoca Lagoon system is just behind the main part of town.
Casting from the shore may produce flathead, bream or whiting, but you can also launch a small canoe or kayak on any of these lagoons.
Occasionally a few big-eye trevally, estuary perch and even bass are also hooked in the lagoons.
In Brisbane Water there is the bonus of larger flathead or jewfish.
Terrigal and Avoca are very family-friendly places and there’s plenty to do for non-angling family members.
Surfing and swimming is quite safe along the patrolled beaches and when the water is clear, you could go snorkelling or diving.
There is certainly no shortage of pubs, clubs or restaurants and Terrigal has a thriving atmosphere over the weekends for those enjoy the nightlife.
BAIT AND TACKLE
There are a number of smaller outlets in the area and a limited selection of bait can also be purchased from most local service stations. However, for a complete range of bait, lures and any other tackle, you’ll find it all at Freddy’s Fishing World at Erina, only 10 minutes away.
Terrigal and Avoca, as well as surrounding places like Gosford, Wamberal and Forresters Beach, have plenty of places to stay, from the very upmarket to the most basic.
Try Terrigal Pacific Motel phone 02 4385 1555, Crown Plaza phone 1800 669 562, Avoca Beach Caravan Park phone 02 4381 1456 or check out www.accommodationterrigal.com for more information.
Offshore fishing can be great here even if you don’t own a boat. There are several local charter boats that cater for a range of offshore fishing and varying skill levels.
Haven Sport Fishing Charters offers full or half-day trips through the cooler months, mainly kingfish jigging or marlin charters in season, phone 0419 440 869.
Blue Water Charters offers deep sea fishing for the likes of snapper and kings, but also caters for whale watching or game fishing trips, phone 041 8293 886.
So if you’re planning a trip, it’s advisable to book in early, as these charters are very popular.
A: Terrigal Lagoon – bream, whiting, flathead.
B: beach fishing for tailor, salmon, bream, whiting, and the chance of a jewfish at night.
C: The rocky point at Terrigal Haven, Spin with small metal lures for frigate mackerel, tailor or bonito.
D: General rock fishing options for a variety of species.
E: Good ledge here for most species
F/G: Can be good spinning for tailor, bonito and kingfish but rocks are quite snaggy here
A: Washy area for bream and drummer
B: Cast out for tailor or fish in close for bream, drummer, trevally or groper
C: Spinning or live-baiting for bonito, tailor, kingfish and salmon
D: Main live-baiting area
E: A small rock just of the main ledge can be good for bream, trevally or drummer
F: ‘The Gulf’ is a good spot to catch yellowtail for live bait or to try for bream, drummer, groper or trevally