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A change of approach
  |  First Published: July 2011



Cool morning sou’-westers shouldn’t deter you – there's still some great fishing on offer.

The middle of Winter isn't everyone's cup of tea to wet a line but I love it: There's no boat traffic, you have the estuaries to yourself and, best of all, there are still stacks of fish.

Fishing the colder water, you do have to change your approach, especially when lure fishing. I quite often downsize my leader to 4lb and make it a lot longer due to the water clarity.

And probably the most important thing is to slow down your lure retrieve speed, whether fishing plastics, blades or hardbodies.

Over the past few weeks we have implemented these tactics with some outstanding results, especially at Tuross.

This bit of water continues to fish extremely well even though the water is a cold 12°. Flathead and bream are in good numbers in the shallower sections with the basins the prime areas to fish.

Smaller plastics fished slowly will produce solid results on flathead, with bream responding better to hardbodies.

Those fishing blades have fared OK, too, with a few big whiting hitting these little bits of metal. You can also expect a few bream and the occasional blackfish.

Because Tuross is open at the mouth, some big schools of salmon and tailor are entering on the run-in tide. These have been caught as far up as the road bridge, around 7km from the entrance, but the majority are in the lower sections.

Bait fishers have struggled during the day but if they brave the elements at night it's a different story.

Some good catches of bream and whiting have occurred but the freshest of live bait is the key to good results. Bloodworms and nippers have worked well.

This action should continue right through Winter but remember to bring the woollies.

At Wagonga Inlet the fishing in the main basin has been good for salmon and tailor, with some big schools encountered. Quite a lot of the salmon are 70cm and 3kg, awesome fun on light braid.

Under the tailor schools have been a few solid flathead and legal (30cm) snapper. This has mainly been when the tailor have been hammering the whitebait schools and I'd expect the odd jewie under them, also.

In the channels there have been heaps of trevally to a kilo, with soft stickbaits ideal to bag them.

A few locals are still getting the odd bream and trevally on bait down at the main wharf and Apex Park, with striped tuna cubes working well.

MONTAGUE LOTTERY

Fishing Montague Island in July is a lottery. Some days are OK and others, well, stay at home!

The snapper fishing will be good if early indications are anything to go by. Some ripper reddies have been caught recently with fish up to 3kg common.

Soft plastics, squid, cuttlefish and slimy mackerel fillets are working a treat. The southern end and the south-west corner are fishing well, but this time last year some bigger fish were on the eastern side of the island.

There have been some solid reds at Potato Point in 60m, too.

You can expect morwong, leatherjackets, trevally and john dory to make up the remainder of the bags.

The kingfish have been hit-and-miss over recent weeks. It depends on current, water temperature and bait activity. Last year we did get a sprinkling of kingies throughout July, with most succumbing to jigs.

There still should be the odd bonito around with some in recent weeks 6kg and bigger.

Out wide will be quiet with the only real possibility of some pelagic action coming from southern bluefin tuna. If we get some of those horses that were caught in Victoria, some exceptional fishing could be available. Let’s cross our fingers!

BEACHES, ROCKS

On the beaches, salmon are in plague numbers with almost any beach with a half decent gutter producing plenty.

All methods seem to be working with a bait/popper combination on a paternoster rig seeming best. I know of some fishos who have been getting two fish at a time.

Those after fun will have a ball casting smaller shiners past the breakers and cranking them in. I regularly go down to my local beach with a bream stick and a handful of 20g to 30g lures.

Sure, you do lose quite a few fish because the fights are longer, but I'll guarantee you won't stop smiling with the fun you have. It's also a great way to get the kids interested and improve their casting skills.

Mixed with the salmon are tailor to 3kg and at that size they know how to pull on beach tackle. A lot of these bigger tailor are coming after dark with Tilba, Brou and Blackfellows beaches best.

Anglers fishing the stones are in for a good time. With the cold water the usual rock suspects like blackfish, drummer, groper and the odd snapper will be keen for a chew.

Locations like the Golf Course rocks, Dalmeny Headland, Mystery Bay and the rocks at the southern end of Handkerchief Beach are all worth a look.

Fresh cabbage is best for the blackfish with cunjevoi, black crabs and even bread for the drummer.

Some good bream should also be around.

Salmon will be plentiful on all the above platforms with ganged pilchards and chrome slices the best way to tempt them.

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