It’s that crazy time of year again, when everything seems to be a bit rushed and all we really want to do is kick back with a line in the water. With a bit of luck, the horrendous weather we’ve endured through much of the year will give us a reprieve over the coming month and into the holiday period.
As mentioned last month, I strongly suggest that local anglers try to get a bait or lure in the water as much as possible over the next few weeks, because some boat ramps and fishing spots are sure to become crowded towards the end of the month.
On the subject of ramps, the Norah Head ramp at Cabbage Tree Bay, while usable, certainly isn’t in the best shape.
A combination of rough seas and local council neglect means that Terrigal is still a far better option, especially for larger vessels. The whole Norah Head set-up is sorely in need of complete replacement.
So if you’re on holiday and not familiar with the Norah Head ramp, plan to launch at Terrigal or possibly drive north to Swansea.
Other than that, just take a good look how a few other boats launch and ask any locals questions before launching.
Small tinnies are mainly fine, but heavier boats can have a few problems, particularly when a north-easterly is blowing.
Ocean currents can be all mixed up at this time of year, although we should be getting some more favourable, warmer water pushing down over coming weeks.
Don’t be surprised if you strike some freezing water, though, because that’s certainly not unusual in December. Generally, the wider you go, the warmer the water.
Kingfish are definitely worth chasing this month.
As is usually the case at this time of year, most kings are hovering around the legal length of 65cm so don’t forget the measuring tape. These fish can show up around the inshore reefs in good numbers, so even if they’re a bit small they can still provide hours of light tackle fun.
Top baits are live yakkas or freshly cut squid and as far as lures go, it’s hard to beat soft plastic stickbaits like the 4” Berkleys or 6” Atomics. If you’re keen to pin a bigger king then try rigging up a live squid.
If it’s not too windy and you’re properly prepared, fishing at night for jewfish or trag can be worthwhile. The new moon or build-up to the full moon tend to be better than the week after the full moon but if time allows and the weather’s OK then it’s worth a try at any time.
There are still quite a few salmon around but they will most likely be replaced by bonito as the ocean warms.
Apart from that, I wouldn’t say December is a great month for offshore fishing. Better times will come in the New Year but for now there are at least a few fish around worth chasing.
Rock and beach fishing has been a bit patchy over the past two months. Some cold, green water has put fish off close in to the rocks but a few bream, blackfish and drummer have been showing up here and there.
Salmon have also been caught from the rocks and beaches, with the odd tailor and jewie.
The beaches should be getting better through the holiday period, with some more tailor and whiting showing up.
Estuary fishing has been going along nicely, with bream and flathead the most active species.
I’ve picked up flathead just about everywhere I’ve fished lately, with The Entrance probably being the flattie hot spot for fish around 40cm to 50cm and the southern parts of Lake Macquarie for larger flathead.
With prawns running in the lakes, bream have become more willing to hit lures.
Going against the normal Summer trend, I’ve been catching more bream lately with small blades and vibes cast along the edges of the weed beds and retrieved quickly over the top of weed or shallow rocks.
The bream have been zooming out in packs of 10 or more to have a swipe. Yes, weed fouling these lures is a constant problem but after a while you just make some minor adjustments in the retrieve style. Obviously it’s no good casting them right into a patch of dense weed.
Although the numbers of bream have been good, the size isn’t that great, but it’s still fun fishing.
One problem that needs addressing right along the Central Coast is the amount of rubbish people leave behind at fishing spots.
By far the worst places for this sort of thing are Avoca rocks, Snapper Point and the pipes at Wyee Point.
So over the holidays, please make sure you don’t leave old bait packets, beer cans or other crap behind.
Imagine trying to introduce the kids to fishing and turning up at a spot with smelly litter all over the place. It’s not a good look, so let’s keep our area clean.
Overall, fishing on all fronts is definitely looking up and it should continue to improve as we head towards the New Year.Reads: 2045