The holiday thing seems to have started very early this year with people arriving from Queensland and Victoria in early November.
January is traditionally a tough time to catch fish in the popular areas close to the bridge and nearby areas. That is unless you plan on fishing early morning and later evening sessions.
Getting up early and being off the water by 10am is how I do it, or I get on the water as the sun goes down while I’m thinking of the thousands of square metres of burnt and red skin having cooling lotion applied to it!
Seriously, sun protection on the water should be a primary concern. If you have ever seen the deterioration in the health of a melanoma sufferer, sunscreen would be the first thought.
There will be a lot of watercraft on the lake over the next month or so and making the best of it can often mean looking farther afield.
The mud flats behind Rest Point Road (Ohmas Bay) are a great spot for flathead and the place gets very little attention. It is also too shallow to be disturbed by holiday pleasure craft.
You do need a rising, almost top of the tide to fish it properly.
With the motor leg up and a slow drift, I like to cast DOA Shrimp or a 5” Gulp Jerk Shad around the patchy weed areas. The flatties average 45cm to 50cm but fish of 3kg to 5kg have been caught after a welcomed hard fight.
Those who have been braving the jet skis and other boats in the lower lake have been rewarded with some big sand whiting. That early morning session I was talking about could be well spent popping whiting on the surface near the bridge.
The channel side of Godwin Island is also a good spot for bream, flathead and whiting and following a rising tide along the island from the oyster sheds should produce something.
Of course, live worms and yabbies are the gun baits for whiting and they are also very good for undersized bream – but you’ll find that out pretty quickly!
This time of year it is worth having a cruise up the Wallamba River close to Nabiac for a bit of surface bream action and for dark dusky flathead.
You need to travel above Shalimar Holiday Park to escape the ski and wake boats but it can then be a very rewarding and leisurely fish – canoes and kayaks are perfect for the area but the fishing isn’t restricted to them.
Beach fishing has been pleasant with the warm nor’-easter and enough bites to ward off despondency.
Dart, whiting and average bream, along with the odd stray flathead, will be the main catch on pipis, worms and yabbies. Tailor and even a few salmon will take flesh and pilchard baits.
It is a little unusual to have salmon still in numbers at this time of year but I guess stranger things happen.
Elizabeth and Blueys beaches are two of my favourites this time of year and the rocks down at McBrides Beach are also worth a lash.
The bonito should still be thick off the rocks and the first of the serious pelagic fish should turn up between now and the beginning of March.
The rat kings should improve in size and the deeper waters around Charlotte Head and Seal Rocks should have some brutal kings just waiting for a live pike or bonito.
Live bait, in the form of slimy mackerel and sea gars, are easily attracted to the wash with a bit of bread berley.
Spinning will produce the bonito and tailor with the chance of a king or a mack tuna; it is just a matter of persistence. Raider or slice lures are popular although I love my big Cotton Cordell pencil poppers.
While reports from offshore have been thin, I do know there have been some great catches of trag off Blackhead and Old Bar on the full moon. Chat with Brad at Tuncurry Tackle and Camping for more up-to-date offshore reports.Reads: 1748