I can’t believe we are so close to Christmas and the associated holiday crowds that swell the local area by more than triple.
It’s a good thing for the local economy but it makes getting out for a quiet fish more difficult than usual.
For the locals and vistors who want to enjoy the area without the buzz of jet skis and wayward once-a-year pleasure boaters, you’d better do it now.
From the beginning of this month there will be a significant increase in the level of whiting activity in the lower reaches, over the sand flats and around the bridge.
The annual aggregation of spawning whiting infests the clear, ocean flushed flats and this is when they are very responsive to surface lures and blades.
If you do target the whiting on surface lures try lures like LuckyCraft Bevy Prop and rip them back quickly. The whiting are capable of a good turn of speed and the added attention and competition the fish have, the more likely one of them will climb all over it.
Cup-faced surface lures work too, but with speed and a good pair of polarised sunnies you can cover more water and find the schools more easily.
The whiting, especially the big ones, are also less cautious after dark with a lightly weighted live worm or yabby drifted along the sand edge drop-offs and around the bridge pylons.
The bridge has some rather large bream scattered at some of the individual pylons.
These fish are very mobile and use the bridge as their first stop before making their way back into the estuary system from their travels along the coast.
Reports of large flathead over the shallow weed beds and sand are encouraging, although fish are large females and really shouldn’t be killed.
There will be plenty of smaller males in the 36-50cm range that make much better fish fillets for the table.
The best of the flathead so far this season has been 91cm, but I’m sure as the water warms up and the crocs get feeding that size will be average for the big girls.
Bream in the lake have been patchy with schools of fish holding around some racks and not others. The next day they can be somewhere else as they distribute back though the system.
There are still heaps of big blackfish milling around the leases and weed beds and if you can get hold of good green weed you should get a good feed and have a whole lot of fun.
The rocks are fishing well with some good pigs still hanging around and bream thinning out.
Chopper tailor and the start of the bonito schools will keep the lure anglers happy as will the increasing numbers of macks and larger pelagic fish.
Schools of slimies and gars should attract the bigger fish a bit closer to the rocks. While the salmon are generally patchy at this time of the year they are always a chance while bait fishing or spinning.
One thing I have noticed is the numbers of small groper being caught. It’s common to hook and land half a dozen in the course of a bait session with prawns, so targeting them with crab baits should not be a problem for the larger fish.
The seasonal rain and numerous freshes we had this year has set the bass fishing up nicely in the Manning and other local rivers.
Water volumes are good and the fish should be well and truly on their way back to the upper reaches of the rivers.
While reports have been less than encouraging to date I’m confident the bass fishing this year will be at it’s best.Reads: 2004