As Spring takes over, offshore anglers start to turn their attention to the annual run of tiger flathead. They are just starting at the moment, although as the water warms further, more of these tasty bottom dwellers start to appear.
To find tigers you have to start looking on the edges of the Four and Six Mile reefs in depths from 40m to 60m. If you manage the appropriate north-south drift you will be able to slide along the fringes of the reefs, picking up these fish regularly.
Mixed in with them are likely to be some reasonable snapper, plenty of jackass and rubberlip morwong and the usual by-catch like ocean perch, pigfish and, commonly and sometimes annoyingly, those tasty leatherjackets.
If you are really looking for some very large tiger flathead, concentrate your efforts out around the Twelve Mile Reef. Even though the water is deeper you will find that the fish will be extremely large and there is always the possibility of other good species, such as Tassie trumpeter.
This is also a good time of year for those who have the gear to handle the deep water beyond the continental shelf, where lurk those hapuku, blue-eye trevalla, gemfish and some of the ugliest and tastiest cod you could ever imagine.
Unfortunately, this time of year the weather is unpredictable and you will have to judge your window carefully to be able to make the most of this style of fishing.
While you are out in the deeper water, keep an eye out for early season tuna that may be working their way back down the coast, although it may be still too early to see any of these fish in numbers.
The best opportunity for game fish would probably be to lay a berley trail and entice a mako shark to the boat.
Beach anglers are encountering plenty of salmon all along the coast and these fish will move into in any decent gutter at the top of the tide. There is not a lot accompanying them at present, only the odd tailor and the occasional gummy shark of an evening.
Salmon are also an option from the rocks, where anglers can also turn their attention to the many black drummer presently available. Throw in the odd luderick, blue groper and trevally and angling can be interesting there.
The best option for anglers in the estuaries is either Bermagui River or Wallaga Lake, around and downstream from the bridge.
On the bottom of the tide in both systems fish like luderick, bream, whiting, trevally, the odd flathead and an occasional tailor will gather, waiting for the tide to turn.
Anglers fishing with nippers, squirt worms or weed will often get a result as the tide gains momentum, although the bite may not last for very long.
To know you are in the right area you will be able to polaroid these fish in the cool, clear water, although you may have to cast to them several times before you get a result.
Just remember, persistence will be the key in getting these fish to feed.
For those who wish to fish lures, little wriggle-tail soft plastics will often produce a result, especially from the trevally and whiting.
But no matter what, use this month as a lead-up to what is to come, because it is shaping up to be an exceptional season.Reads: 1296