It’s the season of the jewfish, it seems. In the 11 years I've been living here and the 30-plus I've been visiting the area, I have never struck such a hot run of jewies from the beaches, rocks, and estuaries.
Everyone who has talked to me has a tale about jew, from schoolies to 35kg monsters, from Old Bar to Seal Rocks.
Many of the fish have been bagged while fishing for other species like bream and tailor. The most remarkable capture was a guy south of Blueys Beach who landed a 22kg fish on a small hook and worm bait intended for bream. Nice work – bad luck, jewfish.
I've been using 7” Gulp Jerk Shads in various colours on 3/4oz 5/0 jig heads from the ocean rocks and pulling some good school jew from under the washes.
Losing fish is part of the game and in spite of being done over a few times; there is no greater feeling than dragging in a good jew on a lure from the rocks.
The best thing is that generally if you manage to locate one school jew you will find lots more. I guess that's why they call them ‘school’ jew!
There is always the chance of a big fish, too, lurking in the shadow of the schoolies.
The gannet population has been enjoying bombing massive schools of pilchards. Gannets from the air and tailor, salmon and sharks from the water, the poor pilchards have little chance but to try to survive in the tight bait balls that have been rippling the surface and franticly skipping in panic.
So spinning from the rocks is still very much an option, with tailor and salmon hunting along the washes when there are sufficient seas to create some. Otherwise, early mornings and late afternoons are the go.
The water has been very clear with some westerly winds flattening out the sea and making daylight fishing a little difficult from the rocks and beaches.
With a bit of bump on the ocean, the pigs are still around with the bream and blackfish schools thinning out somewhat.
‘But fewer bream around the rocks means the estuary will benefit from an influx of bream back to the lake.
The first stop-off for the ‘snowy’ sea-run bream will be the bridge pylons and at slack water you will find a good number hanging around the concrete feet of the newly named Wallis Lake Bridge.
Further into the lake, the bream will be redistributing though the leases and weed flats until they push further up the tributaries as the water warms.
In October we will also see the first schools of sand whiting in the lower lake and next month, the popper action on the whiting gets in full swing.
The whiting will be aggressive and happy to accept lures and baits of worms and yabbies, and there will be some elbow-slapping big fish mixed in.
Along the shallow edges of the channels from the Paddock to the Forster side of the Tuncurry Channel sand spit is a good spot to target the whiting.
Flathead should start to make more of an impact on catches from now on.
Plenty of legal fish will turn up in preparation for spawning, starting mid to late November, and perhaps to take advantage of the red spot whiting that also seem to amass a significant angler following.
Offshore, the leatherjackets should thin out and give way to the flathead and pearl perch to find a bait.
Daff Saxby caught a great 6kg pearl perch last month, along with a 27kg cobia. It was a good effort but Daff knows his fishing and it isn't much of a surprise, really.
Flathead have been reported off Blackhead but fishing out too wide will attract the jackets.
Talking of jackets, fishing the rocks the other weekend Dave Scarlett and I scored three big seven-spine leatherjackets. We'd have caught more had we targeted them but we were after pigs, which we just couldn't stop on 30lb braid.
There is just nowhere you can escape leatherjackets of some kind, it seems.
Great Lakes Tackle has moved into the new premises and Brad and his wife (with help) have done a great job setting up the place with more fishing tackle and the inclusion of camping gear. If Brad doesn't have what you want, I'm sure he can arrange it. He doesn't have any purple LPG bottles, though, I've asked!Reads: 2008