Good times are ahead for all forms of fishing along this part of the coast, and don’t we deserve it after such a tough few months of bad weather and slow fishing.
Estuary fishing has been kicking along nicely, after slowly picking up in September and then improving further through October.
Now our water temperature has risen to a point where fish like bream, whiting and flathead are all quite active and will snatch baits or hit lures with little or no hesitation.
Bream have come on quite well in the lakes and in Brisbane Water.
All those shallow areas surrounded by weed have been the hot spots and the bream have been taking surface lures like Jackson T-Pivots, Maria Pencils, Viking Pop ’n’ Cranks and Ecogear PX45S.
Exactly how the fish respond to surface lures over coming weeks largely depends on the weather.
If it continues to heat up, it could be worth throwing around bigger lures like the favourite Lucky Craft Sammy 65.
Rain or cooler southerly winds tend to slow bream down a touch, so if that’s the case, stick to the smaller surface lures or try subsurface hardbodies or Gulp.
As always, The Entrance tends to be quite reliable through the warmer months, especially through the dark of the moon when the prawns are running.
However, as we get closer to the holiday period it can become crowded there, so I advise locals to take advantage of what’s on offer now.
If you’re not doing so well through the channels, around the islands and shallow flats, try soaking a bait or casting a few soft plastics around the bridge at night.
Flathead are pretty much a sure bet, although the bridge area can also produce some good bream, whiting and tailor. No doubt the odd blackfish will still be possible as well, so keep an eye out for them.
There’ll certainly be fish around other places in the lakes, Brisbane Water or the southern end of Lake Macquarie. Just concentrate around the sun-warmed shallows not too far from weed or rocks and it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up a few fish.
At this time of year it’s always worth trying live prawns for bait if other baits or lures aren’t doing the job. So an hour or two with a scoop net could be worthwhile.
After the Winter floods it’s quite likely to be a very good season for our lake prawns.
If you’re after more of a challenge, jewfish may also become slightly easier this month. I always maintain that live bait is more effective than lures, so try trapping some mullet and give them a swim around Woy Woy, The Rip bridge or in the lower Hawkesbury.
Anglers on the northern end of the coast could try some of the deeper parts of Lake Macquarie. If mullet are proving too difficult to catch, yakkas or other small fish will do, as will good quality calamari squid.
Rock and beach fishing has also been on the improve, although salmon are still the main species you’re likely to hook.
From now on, though, jewfish are definitely worth putting in the hours for.
November and December can be better beach jewie months than January and, as I’ve said, the crowds will start to line our beaches soon, so I would be securing some good bait, driving around to pick out a few suitable gutters and then returning to fish the high tide after sunset.
Jewies can also be caught from some of our rock ledges, especially from Wybung up to Catherine Hill Bay and a few keen locals pick up some nice fish on soft plastics.
If you simply want to score a feed of fresh fish, though, drummer and blackfish will be the reliable way to go this month.
The odd bream, tailor, groper and trevally may be lurking around rocks and if the currents are favourable, bonito and kings could be a chance.
Offshore fishing can be a frustrating game at this time of year.
The main problem is that most of us are waiting for the warmer currents to push down the coast.
There’s a good push of water on the way but it’s likely to remain a bit cold here for a little while yet.
The normal pattern over the next two months is for fluctuations in temperature from a freezing 16° up to about 21°.
Generally, if the north-easterlies blow hard for a few days they will turn the water cold, but after a southerly pushes through it can warm back up again.
While I wouldn’t be getting overly enthusiastic about offshore fishing this month, there may be some good times to be had if you strike good water.
As for surface fish, we’ll probably still see some salmon around in close and rat kingfish starting to build in numbers. The odd bonito or small tuna could also turn up.
Fish like snapper, trevally, kings, trag and flathead will make up mixed bags for bottom bouncers in anywhere from 30m to 70m.
Of course, leatherjackets will get in on the act as well.
I would be fishing in close early in the morning before the sea breeze kicks in and I’d concentrate on simple stuff like tailor, trevally and small kingfish.
Some jewies could be worth a shot after dark as well if the wind isn’t too strong and the water’s not too cold.Reads: 2035