Another month of unforgettable fishing has galloped by with inshore and offshore reports very fertile.
With the mercury finding a more comfortable position between 17ºC and 27ºC these days, our attention has taken a detour to the seasonal fish brought on by the cool change.
While the creeks have dropped in temperature remarkably, the fishing has painted a different picture with barra still responding very well to live baits and lures. Now the water has noticeably cleared up allowing lure enthusiasts to at least see what their lures actually swim like, a sight that hasn’t been seen for a while.
Remember in the coming weeks the barra and jacks will become sluggish with the fall in temperature, but keep in mind that these guys still need to eat. A change in metabolism usually means it’s time to bust out the live prawns and slow sinking soft plastics to draw some kind of attention from these predators. Prawns become a major part of their diet in the cooler months.
As the water clears on the flats, flathead and big winter whiting become the major target species, but expect to see schools of blue and threadfin salmon peruse over these areas. Areas such as Cungulla and the northern beaches like Saunders, Toomulla and Toolakea become major ‘hotspots’ for the bread and butter species with freshly peeled prawns or live yabbies exemplary bait.
If you want a challenge try chasing whiting on small poppers and stickbaits; it’s been a proven method down south for many years and the technique is slowly being applied up here. A fast non-stop blooping action seems to get the whiting fired up (as fired up as a whiting gets) and tends to encourage more than one fish attacking your lure upon each retrieve.
I haven’t forgotten about the bream! The best bream fishing can be experienced right under your nose with excellent bream easily accessible from The Lakes on both baits and lures.
In the crustacean department, the crabs have been running amuck in local systems such as the Bohle, Haughton and Cocoa Creek producing the best reports. Regularly checked pots often produce a higher strike rate, with full pots often deterring big bucks from entering a crowded pot.
The first class crabbing should continue during this month and the prawn reports should also improve. While the big prawn run didn’t quite happen this year, hopefully this means next year should be a bumper!
Winter time is mackerel time and the school mackerel have been thick around the shipping channel lately, many try and glorify their freezers with a few hefty Spaniards. If a 30kg plus Spaniard is what you’re after, then trolling XOS baits like wolf herring and legal school mackerel close to islands and rocky headlands will give be your best bet.
Areas such as Cape Cleveland, Maggie Island and the Rattlesnake Island group are notorious hideouts for such fish. Out at the shoals you will encounter better numbers but generally speaking, these fish will be of schooling size, around the 6-10kg mark.
In this situation you can begin to have a bit of fun, trying different methods such as jigging. Working metals at high speed amongst schools of hungry mackerel rarely fails with the trick being not to use a wire trace. Also if you think you’re winding fast enough, than wind faster. Employ the match the hatch theory, using bigger metals and working your way down to a size that starts to get some attention. You will be surprised to find the size of the fish that will take a small lure.
While we are on the shoals winter time often brings the good size reds into the shallower water and with the reports still phenomenal, be prepared for a battering. Winter also seems to bring all wrecks to life with big golden trevally, nannygai and red emperor all calling these hideouts home for a while.
I’m yet to hear of any of decent reports of big grunter turning up at trademark locations, but it’s about now that things should start to happen. Cape Cleveland and West Point are excellent grunter hideouts with Pallarenda the best for those who prefer to stay on dry land. Fresh mullet fillets sent out using the lightest sinker possible has been a good old remedy for big grunter, which are a highly underrated table fish.Reads: 1558