Let’s just hope the water temperature holds for a little longer. It’s been unseasonably warm and the fishing in the Hastings region has been great, with plenty of baitfish on the beaches, in the river and offshore.
The beaches have produced some amazing catches of bream, flathead, whiting and mulloway.
With mulloway high on the target list, live worms have been in short supply in tackle stores as anglers line up to hook school fish. Mulloway have been commonly taken from gutters on North Beach, Lighthouse Beach and Dunbogan Beach.
Some anglers have been getting five or six fish in around a dozen casts.
And the schoolies are not only sucking worms, but are smashing soft plastics, with soft stickbaits working exceptionally well.
I just hope the jewie chasers are taking what they need, not their limit.
This month bigger jewfish should be landed off the beaches and breakwalls. Josh Anderson recently landed a personal best fish of 18kg that measured 130cm. I’m sure Josh will be out again this month putting squid baits in the water along the coal walls of the Hastings.
This month we should also see salmon cruising our beaches and making nuisances of themselves as by-catch.
But if you like fun, take some light spin gear and metal slugs down to the beach. It always amazes me how much these fish can fight and how hard they pull, especially on the beach.
If the water temps stay reasonable then the estuaries should fish well.
Solid bream are already schooling in the lower reaches and getting ready to go to sea to spawn. After dark along the coal walls some quality fish will be caught by bait fishers.
Lure tossers will target fish in deeper areas of the river. Quality fish should come from the deep water and weed beds around the Dennis Bridge. Best baits will be prawns and slab baits.
To target bream in deeper water this month you can’t go past cranking hardbody lures down deep.
I like to fish the edges of deep drop-offs around rock walls and weed beds where the bottom falls away quickly. I get parallel to the drop-off and cast my lure as far along the edge as possible and crank and rip it hard to get it down. Then I slowly roll the lure along with pauses and the odd twitch.
When you find fish in a particular spot it’s a good idea to work a small section then double back and fish it again. This can produce good results on schooled fish.
I use a selection of lures and will mix it up, choosing a different lure for each drift, then finding two that work and alternating them on each drift.
I like the Bassday Sugar Deep, Jackal Deep Chubby, Atomic Hardz 35 Deep and Bassday Kangoku Shad. The secret is to mix it up and try a variety of lures until you feel confident in catching fish.
A good sounder enables you to see your targets and gives you the confidence to persevere and keep trying until a lure works.
Best spots to do this type of fishing this month will be along the jetties on Hibbard Drive and the edges of the sand flats at Blackmans Point.
Flathead will also be viable targets, with spots up river more fruitful at this time of year. I like the deep-water spots from Dennis Bridge to Rawdon Island Bridge.
Large plastics are the order of the day with 4” and 5” shads, jerkbaits and grubs rigged on heads from 1/8oz to 1/4oz, depending on the water depth and current flow. Fish as light as the conditions permit.
Live mullet and yellowtail will also work well in these spots and don’t be surprised if a few mulloway climb on board.
Offshore action has been great with some good snapper being taken off Lighthouse Beach and this month things should only get better.
But the warmer than normal water has everyone talking, with those venturing north of Port getting into some nice Spanish mackerel and longtail tuna on trolled bonito bait.
Best spots have only been a short distance off Point Plomer and Barries Bay.
But all eyes will turn red this month as the snapper strengthen in numbers on the reefs off Nobbys Beach, Shelly Beach and the Tacking Point Lighthouse.
So with Winter kicking into gear it’s time to get out and enjoy some quiet time on the water. I love fishing at this time of year; there are fewer people and it’s more comfortable to fish all day.
Prepare for the conditions, wear appropriate clothes and take some food and you can really make a day of it.Reads: 2846