Downright dismal
  |  First Published: August 2001

We’ve unfortunately hit rock bottom here on the Central Coast. August is normally our worst month for fishing and this year, with all the rain and howling wind, it’s been downright dismal.

The only bright side is that we haven’t got much longer before things start to pick up.

Did I mention rain and howling wind? How about floods, huge seas, freezing temperatures and some more wind and rain on top of it all?

OK, we all know it’s been about the worst Winter in the past decade, so let’s get on with the important stuff. What fish can be caught, when and where?

Tuggerah Lakes received a big flush-out in the middle of Winter and while the fishing over the following weeks was appalling, when the same thing happened in 2007 and again in 2008 the following Spring and Summer turned out to be exceptionally good.

So later this year here’s hoping for a good run of bream, flathead and prawns.

For now, though, a few bream and blackfish are about the only fish worth chasing and that will mainly be at The Entrance and perhaps in Budgewoi Channel.

Brisbane Water has also been a bit dismal but again that’s completely normal for July and August, especially after the mid-Winter rains.

A few jewies, big bream, trevally, flathead and some luderick have been caught and there should be a few around this month. You’ll just have to put in the effort to find them and don’t be too put off by failed missions.


Rock and beach fishing has also been very difficult, with big seas rolling in a lot over the past two months.

Just as the seas settle back down, a number of snapper have been caught in the Avoca area as well as up around Snapper Point and Catherine Hill Bay. They are mainly pan-size fish, but the odd one up to 3kg has been landed.

Drummer, blackfish and the odd bream have also been caught when conditions allow.

Pretty much the same fish will be around this month. Of course, blue groper are always an idea to fall back on when those westerly winds flatten out the seas, making it easier to gather up a few red rock crabs for bait.

Although these crabs are by far the most reliable groper bait, it’s also worth considering other baits like cooked prawns, fresh squid, cunjevoi and any of the other crab species that lurk around the rocks.


Salmon are certainly on the cards if you fish the rocks with whole pilchards. Tailor and bream may also pick up a pillie but expect sambos more than anything else.

The same goes for beach fishing this month. It’s most likely to be salmon or nothing much else. Having said that, there’s a chance of bream, tailor, snapper and the odd jewfish.

It’s just not the ideal time of year to be putting in much effort for beach jewfish, though.

Offshore fishing can also be very tough in August.

The biggest problem lately, has been trying to time a day to actually get out there. With all the wind, it’s not an easy task and most of us have only the weekends to fish. The few times I’ve been out, the fishing has been very up and down.

Close in and out to about 40m some reasonable snapper have been caught and they should remain in close this month. Leatherjackets, morwong and trevally will fill in the time between snapper bites.

Around the bommies and headlands there has also been a sprinkling of trevally and bream, along with the occasional snapper.

Of course, salmon are also around if you want to have some light tackle fun. Small metal lures will work, but not as well as small soft plastics like the Berkley 4” Power Minnow. Best colour is the casper clear, if you can find any in the tackle shops.

Out in the 100m zone the kingfish and bonito have been active but, unfortunately, so have the seals which quickly zoom in and nail your fish. Amazingly, the seals almost never get hooked, as they seem to know what a jig is.

They are quite a sight up close next to the boat and I could imagine people paying to see stuff like that. When you’ve driven 20km out to jig up kings, though, the seals are no fun at all.

It’s bad enough putting up with the line-snipping jackets and the odd shark chopping your fish in half. But you won’t have to worry if these persistent westerly winds keep blowing.

It all sounds quite dismal this month, I know. Sadly, that’s what August can be like in this part of the world.

As I always say, though, if you persist with good bait or lures there are still fish to be caught.

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