The early signs for the Winter season could not be better. If I told you over the course of a week (collective 12 hours of fishing) you'd catch 20 jew to 8kg, flathead to 3kg, countless tailor to 4kg, torpedo-sized salmon and striped tuna of 3kg plus, you'd get excited, wouldn't you?
If I told you that that was just from the Tuncurry and Forster breakwalls, you'd think I was pulling your leg. Well it's true and it’s now a matter of the old saying ‘you should have been here last week’.
Things have quietened down somewhat, with a flush of fresh water hunting out mullet onto the beaches and spreading out the bait schools, some wide of the coastal rocks.
As you could imagine, the breakwall rocks have been littered with anglers employing a variety of baits and techniques, from soaking live yellowtail, slimy mackerel and herring to casting soft plastic shads and paddletails rigged on 3/4oz and 1oz jig heads.
Chrome slices and even surface poppers have tidied up the tailor and some salmon.
From the ocean rocks the tuna schools will be thin out with the last, and possibly the biggest, of the bonito becoming scarce.
Tailor and salmon are replacing the pelagic fish and those tailor can be very big. The best I have heard of so far this season is 6kg, caught at the northern end of Nine Mile Beach along with barrel-sized salmon and a few bream.
Pilchards seem to be the preferred bait for the tailor, rigged on three 5/0 ganged hooks.
There is also a chance of picking up a school jew from the beaches on the same rig, though a butterflied tailor or worm bait would also do the trick.
This month we see the start of the bream and blackfish spawning run along the coast with large schools of each foraging the washes of the ocean rocks and surf breaks for a feed.
Along with the bream from the beaches you will have to contend with dart and the odd silver trevally but during the cooler months they just add some interest to the day's catch.
If you are looking for a few big bream on bait the ocean washes are best for that. Cooked prawns, flesh baits and yabbies, as well as a mobile approach, will have the bag filled in no time.
Be prepared to look for the fish. If your first location doesn't produce, move to another, or further around the rocks. The nature of the schooling fish means once you find some you'll find a lot.
A bit of bread berley will also draw other fish into the area including rock blackfish or pigs.
Early sessions on the pigs have been encouraging with fish in the 2kg range showing up. There are also lots of fish in the just legal range of 30cm.
Again, cooked prawns and bread baits are ideal and they take the pressure off the natural resources like cunjevoi and also eliminate the time it takes to collect it at low tide.
Naturally nobody is using abalone gut since it was banned a few years ago to stop the spread of a deadly (to abalone) virus.
Wallis Lake fished well immediately after the most recent fresh. The flush pushed reluctant bream out of the tributaries and flathead will still be available around the lower parts of the lake.
With these cooler months the lake and rivers will quieten down but if you approach your fishing from the point of view of having a nice day on the water, you haven't got a care in the world.
The tailor schools will push into the lake early mornings and the bream are always keen in Winter around The Paddock oyster racks.
Offshore, snapper, pearlies and the odd trag will be hitting the decks and with some luck the good fishing that we have enjoyed through the Autumn will spill into the Winter.
Good luck and remember fishing anywhere, anytime is better than sitting at home doing nothing.Reads: 1862