Estuaries begin to warm
  |  First Published: October 2011

Now that we have more hours of daylight, we can get out on the water after work a bit more often and remain warmer and more comfortable. Not that we’ve completely shaken off some of those cooler days, and the ocean water temperature will remain quite cold for another month or two yet.

Inside our estuaries, water temps and the fishing are starting to heat up. Bream are becoming much more active and through the dark phase of the moon this month we can expect some prawns to be running, which will also encourage our bream to be more aggressive.

Those of us who enjoy casting surface lures for bream can really start to indulge in this entertaining form of fishing.

The action may not be as intense as it will be during the months ahead, but it’s certainly worth putting in some time with surface lures from now on.

At this stage of the game, I recommend casting some of the smaller, more subtle lures like the Jackson T-Pivot or Ecogear PX45 and working them slowly, especially if the weather is a bit cool.

As we progress to warmer weather, it could be worth trying bigger lures like the Lucky Craft Sammy and using more energetic retrieves.

If, however, you’re not having much luck with the surface lures or see bream following without actually hitting, try a small shallow-diving lure or an unweighted soft plastic.

If bream are in a hesitant mood, they’re a bit more inclined to bite a sub-surface lure.

Bream are widespread through our waterways but for now I would be concentrating on some of the more open flats and weedy areas.

I’ve been into some good bream around The Entrance lately, using surface and sinking lures.

The weed here can be quite thick and lures do get fouled up a lot. To combat this, try removing the rear and belly trebles and just use a ‘W’ or double hook at the rear.

With the hook points facing upwards, a W hook picks up much less weed than a treble so you’ll increase the odds of a bream getting to the lure before the weed does.

There are plenty of other spots that are often overlooked but can provide some excellent surface action.

Around the lakes, try just off Canton Beach and over towards the Magenta side of the lake. Launch at Peel Street and cast lures around the weed beds out in front of the houses and the Beachcomber Hotel and towards the Toukley end of Toukley bridge.

Lake Munmorah up towards Elizabeth Bay and along the eastern side of the lake can also be very good when it comes to finding bream with surface lures.

In Brisbane Water, the lower reaches of Erina Creek and just out from the mouth of Erina Creek can be excellent, as long as the tide is rising and it’s not too windy.

The same goes for that little area inside the Gosford rail bridge, Fagans Bay and the mouth of Narara Creek.

A rising tide means most of the floating weed gets pushed upstream with the current, leaving you with less hassle and hopefully more bream.


There’s also a nice little pocket of water in the protected area on the western side of Pelican Island, near Woy Woy. It’s quite shallow here and some oyster racks are a bonus that can keep bream in the area. I’ve picked up some big whiting in this little bay as well.

Speaking of whiting, there have been a few thumpers around lately although not in any real numbers.

As with the bream, they should become easier to catch as things warm up. Whiting will certainly hit a surface lure this month but, realistically, you’re probably better off sticking with good baits like bloodworms or beachworms for now.

That’s if a feed of whiting is more of a priority than just having some fun with lures.

As mentioned last month, flathead are definitely worth chasing at this time of year. The water is warming and flathead will take lures but as we move towards the hottest months, they should be more aggressive about hitting lures, including surface lures aimed at bream or whiting.

A few blackfish remain a possibility this month and in Brisbane Water or the Hawkesbury, jewies are a good chance.

Overall, estuary fishing is slowly picking up and the only thing that will slow it down again is heavy rain. Fingers crossed that won’t happen, but the way things have gone this year I wouldn’t count on it.


It isn’t exactly the greatest time of year for rock, beach or offshore fishing. The main reason behind that is the cold ocean.

Even though we expect it should be warming up, the truth is late Spring is normally the peak for cold currents off the NSW coast.

Having said that, each year is different so it’s still worth getting out there and trying.

Off the rocks, go for salmon, blackfish, drummer or groper.

Along the beaches, salmon will still be the dominant species with a few tailor, bream and the odd jewie poking around.

Offshore, snapper will still be a good chance and I would probably be fishing in 40m to 70m for the best chance of picking up a few.

Closer to shore, there’s still a chance of snapper but if they’re a bit elusive, have a look for some trevally or salmon to stretch some line.

We’ve still had a few striped and mack tuna showing up lately. That was a normal occurrence during Spring in years gone by but not so common in more recent times.

For now, though, our estuary fishing should be about the most reliable, with bream and flathead the best bets.

If you’re not having much luck, don’t worry – the situation is sure to improve as we get closer to Summer.

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