Red-hot Winter
  |  First Published: June 2011

It’s definitely beanie weather in this part of the world. The morning air temp may be cold but if the past few months are anything to go by, winter is shaping up to be red hot.

It’s also just a great time to be on the water with minimal boat traffic and calm, sunny days in between those storm fronts which are essential to stir up some great inshore action.

Now the estuaries have cooled, we can only hope for some stable Winter temperatures so that the fish don’t get knocked around too much by the sudden fluctuations due to heavy rain.

In the lure department I’m hoping the Winter bream ‘edge bite’ will continue until late in the month before the focus shifts to working blades for schooling fish in the deeper holes of most of the coastal lakes.

Catching bream on hardbodies is a year-round proposition for those in the know and the number of flathead by-catch caught on hardbodies in the shallows at this time of year will also certainly keep a feed on the table.

The closed lake systems that opened during the Autumn rains will also be a bonanza until they’re netted after the water level rises. How in this day and age we can still allow netting of closed lake systems that don’t have regular recruitment is beyond me.

I reckon bream and mulloway should be made recreational only species and the affected pros given an exit strategy and generous buy-backs.

The bream, particularly, is worth far more to coastal communities in terms of its economic broad base as a sport and table fish and you only have to look at St Georges Basin for the proof of that.

If you can pick your days this month then try to time an outing the first few days after a big swell on the beaches and inshore reefs.

Everything really gets stirred up after a big blow and if you can get the boat out then, drop anchor, lay out a berley trail and fish floaters you should get results.

If you haven’t tried this method before, give it a go.

Use mono or braided line, the smallest sinker you can and no swivel. Throw it out and leave the bail arm open for five to 10 minutes unless the bait gets nailed by a bonito on the way down.

After this long in the water it really pays to keep your eye on the reel or you’ll get spooled when the bite does come.

Watch your catch rates go through the roof but take only what you need and put the big ones back if you can.


Attention will be turned to yellowfin tuna this month after a great Autumn run of blue marlin. The warm water seemed to stick around this year so let’s hope all the rain which has provided much-needed nutrient for the bait draws in the ’fin.

Whether the southern bluefin will show this far north again this year is anyone’s guess.

The I Seem to Have Soiled My Trousers Award for the month goes to the crew of The Enforcer, skippered by Scott Sharpe from Culburra Tackle. Fishing 19 miles to sea in the Kiama Blowhole Big Fish Classic, the boys got whacked by a 47-knot squall.

If you’ve ever experienced storm-force winds at sea you’ll know this kind of situation is a very scary nightmare in a small boat. And all this was while they were hooked up to an estimated 180kg blue marlin which they lost at the boat after it was tail-wrapped and harassed by a seal.

They did manage a few 20kg dollies and a 120kg black marlin for their trouble and lived to tell the tale.

Bottom line is you can have all the technology in the world to get forecasts but Mother Nature will always dish up a bouncer at the head!

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