Big Critters On The Move
  |  First Published: November 2010

There is plenty to talk about this month with the water warming some of the bigger critters have started to show up and others are not too far away.

But there will always be time for some snapper fishing and they seem to be hanging about in 30-50m water depth of late.

Drifting is getting a few pan sized fish but a few clued up anglers are catching fish up to 5kg on plastics and bait by motoring around with the sounder on and looking for schools of fish over the reefs and gravel.

Then either anchor up current and put down a berley trail or drift back over the school while working larger soft plastics in the depth range the fish are in.

There have been some weird and wonderful captures mixed in with the snapper when you fish in this manner as you are often hitting places that are not the so called hot spots and don’t get hammered as frequently as other places.

Creatures like pearl perch, John Dory, teraglin, rock flathead and the usual culprits of trevally and Samson can be encountered on any little patch of reef less fished.

Over the known pinnacles there are some good kings to 1m+, but for the bigger fish you have to be there fishing well before dawn.

Jigs score some fish but for better results you can’t go past a slimy mackerel or yellowtail fished deep in these places. This posses the problem of getting bait in the dark and getting out there at the required time.

Catching baits the evening prior and keeping them tethered somewhere is hard work but usually worth the effort if the fish are about. Catching bait in the morning means a very early start and they can’t always be guaranteed, sometimes catching the bait is harder than catching the big ones.

Bandit, Wollongong Reef, Bellambi Reef, the islands and the front of Bass Point are all good spots of late.

Further offshore the tuna have been patchy so far but it can change any time. Yellowfin are there one day and gone the next with a few to 30kg along with jellybeans spread along the shelf.

Albacore to 10kg are around but most are between 3kg to 5kg.

There seem to be plenty of striped tuna about and this usually means bigger fish are with them so a striped marlin or big blue is on the cards this month.

November is traditionally the start of the striped marlin run. Slow trolling a live striped tuna around a school of his mates will turn up any marlin on their tail or any big tuna as well.

Big sharks like the stripies too and anything could swim up the berley trail this month as the warm and cold water collides.

Whalers, makos, tigers, hammerheads and blues can all be encountered on the one day and are more often than not in the large category. Remember don’t go taking any threshers, as they are banned.


Back in closer there have been schools of pelagics working all along the coast, mostly consisting of salmon and rat kings, a few bonito, trevally and barracouta are in the mix as well.

Try casting soft plastics into the schools and letting them get to the bottom before retrieving for some decent snapper that are hanging underneath.

Trevally will be the main catch along with a disproportionate amount of sergeant baker. They seem to be enticed by the surface activity that probably filters down the water column and they want to get their share of the spoils too.

It is looking good for the bottom bouncers as well with all the regulars getting going this month.

Small snapper are taking tuna strips over most of the reefs with mowies, trevally, pigfish, some legal kings and heaps of sweep. The odd trag has shown up but they are only random specimens; in the bays there are also even a few tailor on the bottom.

Flathead have kicked right into gear with all the sand patches giving up good catches of quality fish at the moment.

The jackets that were so prominent last year have all but been cleared out, much to the flattie chasers delight but there are still a few about. It’s funny how quickly a species can be eradicated when the pros put in an effort to catch them, even leatherjackets.

Beaches, Rocks

The beaches have plenty on offer this month.

The whiting are on the move on just about every beach if you have beach worms.

Salmon and tailor are also about in excellent numbers with schools chasing bait right into the shallows, making for some exciting fishing if you happen to be in the right spot when it happens.

Bream are not overly abundant but they all seem to be quality fish when they are encountered.

Some decent flathead have also started to move into the surf zone. Soft plastics have been scoring fish as have baits meant for bream and tailor. Even a few trevally have been caught in the deeper gutters, so it is a real mixed grill this month.

Jewies are out there with one fish a short while back reportedly going almost 40kg. There has also been plenty of reports of jewfish to 20kg filtering through the grapevine, so if you put in the hard yards this month you should reap the rewards as they are feeding up ready for spawning in a few weeks.

On the rocks break out the heavy floats, long leaders and flies as the salmon and bonito have been working in close on the deeper headlands and port break walls. If flies are not your thing, then small metals will do just as well and they are easier to cast.

Undersized rat kingfish can be a nuisance but their big brothers are welcome and as usual live squid or mackerel fished early in the morning are having the best results.

A few schools of striped tuna have been reported in close down around the Kiama headlands and are great fun if they come into casting range.

The water is not hot enough to put the drummer off the bite and some decent fish have been eating royal reds and cunjevoi in the washes. Throw in a few bream, trevally and even the odd small snapper and it looks all good for the month on the rocks.

Even a few good blackfish are starting to show, particularly after a bit of a bump, but be careful and keep an eye on the swell and if it looks dodgy, fish the beach.

The lake is firing now the water has heated up from the sun and the mullet and prawns are on the move.

Just about everywhere has a flathead in residence, just look for the sand and cast at it with plastics or live baits. The drop-off and main channel have been popular as usual but most areas around the lake hold flatties.

Bream are getting better along the rocky shoreline and bridge pylons and there are plenty of whiting over the sand flats grabbing worms. There are plenty of tailor in the lake and some are decent sizes.

Jewies have made an appearance as well for those who are willing to try unusual spots with the usual techniques. The break walls to the lake have salmon, tailor and jew if you are persistent.

Minnamurra has blackfish along the weed beds if you have good green weed, plenty of flatties in the main river from the entrance up to the bridges and bream from the bridges and beyond.

Some good whiting are coming from the flats around the entrance on worms and poppers during the weekdays with low boat traffic.

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