The season of stormy evenings, northeasterly sea breezes, backyard barbeques and cricket is with us now and that normally means that fishing here on the Central Coast really kicks into gear.
To say it has been a tough year would be an understatement. Heavy rains wiped out a lot of estuary fishing through the early part of winter, then we had some of our coldest temperatures on record, followed by incredibly strong winds and some periods of huge swell.
On top of all that, boats fishing out wide have had to contend with hordes of leatherjackets, barracouta, sharks and seals that loved snatching your hard earned fish. Fishing can certainly be a challenging pastime.
Hopefully all the bad stuff is well and truly behind us for at least the next few months. So let’s look at the best options around the area this month.
Keen bream anglers will be happy now the water temperatures have moved up, meaning that bream will be keener to hit surface lures.
I’ve caught bream on surface lures all through the year, but during late winter and early spring you really don’t get too many fish on the top. The better months are actually from December through to the following April, but November isn’t too bad for it.
Any of the shallow areas around Brisbane Waters, Tuggerah Lakes and the southern end of Lake Macquarie can be productive, but it’s generally better where there is a mix of clear sand patches amongst weed beds.
Throw in a few rocks, cockle beds and old logs or sticks and the bream will be there. Tides aren’t important in the lakes, but when fishing in Brisbane Waters a rising tide is best.
Some good new surface lures to try this summer are the Maria Pencils and Viking Pop n Crank.
Plenty of flathead should be about as well and they’ll take a variety of baits and lures now. If you haven’t already tried it, cast white soft plastics in the illuminated water around bridges and wharves at night.
There are usually stacks of flathead under the lights at The Entrance bridge now, but Toukley bridge can also be good at times.
Beach fishing is improving now. The salmon that have been around all through the cooler months may still be lurking along the beaches, but they will thin out by the time we get to December.
Jewfish are well worth chasing around the full and new moon periods and there will be tailor and bream taking baits as well.
Whiting may also be present, but generally these little silver bullets are a better bet later in the season when water temperatures are higher.
Rock fishing normally offers a mixed bag at this time of year. Just this morning I received a message from a mate who said two blokes had scored a nice mix bag of big drummer, salmon, bream and tailor at Pelican Point early in the morning.
That’s the sort of thing to expect at the moment and with the cold mornings behind us, it can be a very pleasant and exhilarating time to fish the rocks.
Even though summer is pretty much upon us, don’t forget that blackfish can still be quite a reliable fish to target. In the past I’ve scored plenty of big blackfish off the rocks at Norah Head and around Frazer Park through November.
If the ocean currents are favourable it could also be worth casting whole pillies on ganged hooks or throwing a few lures around for kingfish and bonito.
There was an early push of warmer water down the coast and bonito were caught off Terrigal and Avoca during September, which is not normally possible. So providing the water doesn’t turn green and cold, they may well be within casting range.
Offshore is similar to rock fishing, in that it largely depends on what the ocean currents are doing. As I mentioned earlier, it has been tough going out wide with pests like seals, sharks, jackets and barracouta, but there have also been plenty of nice kingfish caught and a good sprinkling of bonito as well. It’s just disheartening when you hook into a good king, fight it for a few minutes and then the line goes limp.
Smaller rat kings have been active in close around the headlands and bommies.
November and December is normally when they are at their peak, but the perpetual problem is that the majority of them won’t make the legal size of 65cm.
Although it may be tempting to keep a few undersized kings, be aware that fisheries inspectors often wait around boat ramps at Norah and Terrigal.
If you’re simply out to enjoy some light tackle sport fishing fun, then the rat kingfish will certainly provide some thrills.
There should also be a reasonable number of salmon around this month. Tailor are also a good chance closer in around the rocks and washy inshore reefs.
As we move into some warmer weather fishing the reefs at night is another option. Just make sure all your safety gear is up to scratch and you don’t take any chances by driving too close to the headlands or beaches. The rewards for staying out after sunset may come in the form of a big red, jewfish or a bunch of trag if you know exactly where to go.Reads: 2835