December is one of the better months for Central Coast fishing. The only thing that could throw a spanner in the works is the unpredictable weather, so let’s hope it doesn’t flood or blow a gale all month.
Tuggerah Lakes have warmed up and a few fish have kicked into gear.
At the time of writing bream numbers seem to be a bit down compared with the same time last year but they are willing to hit surface lures, so that’s good.
Flathead are also on the prowl and some above-average fish are around. For the lakes, that means 50cm to 60 cm flathead rather than the typical just-legal (36cm) lake fish. But there are still plenty of little ones scattered around the lakes.
Prawns have also been active at Canton Beach, The Entrance and Elizabeth Bay, so if you want some for bait or a feed, the best nights this month will be from about the December 23 to 31. The more prawns we see running, the better the bream, flathead and whiting fishing will be.
Brisbane Water is pretty much the same, with bream and flatties more active around the dark part of the moon, rather than the full. A few small jewies have been caught in Brisbane Water over the past two months so there’s every chance of running into a couple this month.
Of course, there’s always the possibility of a better jewfish of 10kg or more, so tie your knots well and be prepared.
A few estuary perch have been encountered around Brisbane Water and at this time of year they are more common towards the Gosford end of the system. While I won’t mention exact spots, look for structure and try small soft plastics like Berkley minnows, Squidgies and Atomic paddletails.
Rock and beach fishing can be a bit up and down this month, depending on the sea temperature and weather.
If all is well, we can expect a few more tailor to show up, particularly towards the end of the month. Bream have turned up along the rocks and beaches over the past six weeks, so they should stick around this month and through the holiday period.
Jewfish have also been active, with fish around 10kg to 12kg about the average size to expect at this time of year. Of course, there’s always a chance of a bigger jewie to 30kg but you’ve got to have some luck on your side.
December isn’t known as a good month to target blackfish and drummer off the rocks, but that’s probably because most rockhoppers are focused on fish like tailor, bonito or kings from now to Autumn.
Realistically, though, the real warm water hasn’t hit here yet and drummer and blackfish are well worth fishing for right now. By using baits like cunje, peeled prawns or white bread, you’re likely to take a mixed bag of these as well as bream or trevally.
Kingfish are another species that have been caught at places like South Avoca and Snapper Point. Typically, the early season kings are generally little rats, with few making the 65 cm legal size. Spinning with metal lures or drifting out a whole pillie under a float will interest the smaller kings, but fresh squid or live baits are a better bet to score fish over 70cm.
Offshore fishing has been tough over the past few months, but it should really pick up this month. Kingfish are generally the most popular target in December but, once again, a lot will only be small. A few more bonito should be on the cards and with a bit of luck those line-snipping leatherjackets may fizzle out.
This season, inshore jigging is set to take a few twists and turns as a new breed of lighter rods and lures hit the market. As has been the case in recent years, this new crop of jigging gear comes from Japan and some names to look out for include Hots, Maria and Yamashita.
Some of the lures I’ve been playing around with are quite different from what we’ve been jigging with and should appeal to fish like snapper, perch, morwong, bonito and flathead as well as traditional targets like kingfish or samson. More on that next month.
Now let’s all pray to the weather gods that we don’t have any major floods and that ocean currents remain warm right through the holiday period. Remember to stick to size and bag limits and always carry your fishing licence because Fisheries officers will be out in force over the next few months.
Above all, stay safe and we’ll all be back next year.Reads: 2012