Let’s hope the New Year brings more regular and improved weather patterns.
After seemingly perpetual wind, heavy rain and below average temperatures, I would have to say 2010 was the most fishing-unfriendly year I can remember and we certainly don’t want a repeat of that!
So if all goes well, the next few months should be very good for most styles of fishing around this area.
The main problems we normally experience in January can be some overly hot days, strong north-east winds and some overcrowding at boat ramps and popular places like The Entrance.
So it pays to fish very early in the mornings to minimise all three potential problems.
In our estuaries the main fish on offer will be bream, flathead and whiting. All three can be widespread, from the sea right up into the creeks but, for the most part, they should be found in better numbers around the edges of weed beds, drop-offs and channels in the middle to lower reaches.
If we experience heavy rain this month then definitely look for these fish closer to the mouths, at The Entrance and Ettalong.
If it’s excessively hot, try deeper water but under average Summer conditions I recommend you concentrate more around the shallows.
Most holiday anglers will probably prefer to use bait so their best bets will be peeled prawns, bloodworms or freshly pumped pink nippers. Live prawns are always a good idea if you’re able to catch some.
If you just want to go for a quick fish without stuffing around too much, don’t forget that white bread pinched over a hook will interest bream and mullet.
Those keen on casting a few lures around should find it easy enough to catch a bream, whiting or flathead, provided the weather behaves.
Surface lures may be the big thing for bream these days but here’s a tip: If we experience a day or two of cooler weather which lowers the water temperature a bit, try shallow-diving lures rather than the topwaters.
A lure which dives only 30cm below the surface may well score a lot more hits if the water is a bit cooler than normal. Remember to give any bream lure a few pauses during the retrieve because this is when bream often hit.
Around Brisbane Water, try to fish during the first half of the making tide for bream and whiting and around the bottom of the tide for flathead.
The fish will still be active around high tide, but at this time they may also be spread out all over the place.
The lower the tide, the more concentrated the fish will be in the deeper holes and channels but as the tide moves in they become more eager to take lures or bait.
However, don’t be concerned about the tides when fishing around Tuggerah Lakes, just focus more on fishing early in the day in this system.
Offshore anglers always wait eagerly for January because it’s the start of the real blue-water season.
Although the ocean has warmed up much earlier this season, there’s always a chance of colder currents pushing in at any time. So if the water is warm, say over 21°, get out there and make the most of it.
Bonito have been out in full force over the past 18 months so hopefully that trend will continue over the next few months. A lot of the bonnies were very small last Summer with just the odd better one among them.
During the Winter of 2010 we encountered quite a few oversized bonito out wide so with a bit of luck those bigger fish will also move in closer.
It remains to be seen exactly how things shape up for marlin but everything indicates that it should be a good season off Swansea and Terrigal. If not, there should at least be other fish like mahi mahi, kingfish, jewies, trag, samson fish and sharks to chase.
Rock and beach anglers are also a happier breed at this time of year.
Most of those salmon should have moved on by now, leaving us with bonito, kingfish, jewfish, tailor, whiting and bream.
I hope that in 2011 we also encounter bigger jewfish with more consistency. That may seem like an obvious thing to say and something that we all want, but over the past two years most jewies caught along our beaches have been only schoolies up to 5kg or so.
Ten years ago when I chased these fish a lot, the average jewfish caught was between 10kg and 15kg. In fact, until a few years ago I never caught a jewie off our local beaches under 8kg. Bring back the big ones!Reads: 1819