The whiting are well and truly on the job in the lower parts of Smiths Lake.
Surface lures are a great and exciting way to get a bag of fish and to secure good numbers without the distraction of the pesky little bream that steal baits.
The usual method is to use cup-faced poppers worked in a short, sharp stabbing retrieve over the shallow sand patches and channels.
I much prefer to use a LuckyCraft Bevy Prop (as I mentioned last month) and rip it flat out across the surface.
Good polarised sunglasses are essential to see the fish as they rush from often-deep water to intercept the lure.
I have also found that the fish love the speed of the lure and occasionally shy away if you slow up too much. It is a matter of working out the fishes’ mood on the day, but a rising tide is certainly the best time to target the sand whiting.
Try the speed retrieve – I think you'll be surprised at the reaction of the whiting.
The sand build-up in the lower lake is getting ridiculous but the sand humps have their advantages, too.
The flathead that hunt the lower lake, and spawn from now on, love to sit on the edges of the sand spits to ambush the schools of baitfish that invade the estuary.
Remember, too, that at this time of year if you find one flathead around 40cm there may well be a few more in the area, all attending to a larger female. So throw a few more casts in the area.
Whitebait and soft plastics are my pick to attract the flathead, while drifting with pilchards on ganged hooks is also very successful.
Try the 6” Gulp Grubs for the larger flathead with a 1/4oz head and see how you go. I picked some up from Great Lakes Tackle the other day and they look great in the water.
The lake has plenty of other fish roaming this month, apart from the usual bream, flathead and whiting.
Sand mullet and big garfish are available for those with the patience to berley a little and attract the school in the current lines and weed flats.
The fronts of Regatta and Wallis islands are good spots, though Regatta can get a little busy with tubes and skiers.
The blackfish are well and truly back in the lake and schools can be seen milling in eddies caused by the lease barriers and in the deep holes in the weedy flats.
After dark the blackish respond well to yabbies but green weed, if you can get your hands on it, will be the prime bait in daylight hours.
The seawall has surrendered a few jew lately but evening fishing can be plagued by whaler sharks and now is the time the small hammerheads also visit the estuary. They can be seen from the bridge cruising the channels and the lower end of the lake. At night they can be a lot of fun.
The word from the rocks is that there have been some rat kings at Shelley, along with bonito, salmon and tailor.
The school jew have thinned out a little from the rocks but I have had great success fishing the hole at Shark Beach, the north side of Janies Corner.
There are a few pigs still hanging around but the increase in toads and butterfish, along with the kelpies, make for a very frustrating drummer session.
Paul Albery encountered some XO-sized tailor from the rocks at Janies and estimated one fish to be 5kg. They do tend to make a mess of 7” Gulp Jerkshads but if you manage to hook a tailor that size, who's complaining?
The nor’-easters that are a constant reminder of Summer will, over the next couple of months, push the whiting onto the beaches.
Live beach worms should be available at the tackle shops through the warmer months. If they aren't available, I reckon the next-best bait is a live yabby on a No 1 hook weighted lightly enough to cast out into the gutters and trenches that form along the surf line.
Along with whiting, the dart will be around along with the odd flathead. Sand flathead often move close to the beach so a ganged pilchard or flesh bait cast wide is worth a go.Reads: 1846