They’re coming out on top
  |  First Published: November 2011

Hard to believe we’re less than eight weeks from the festive season and I’m sure most fishing nuts who peruse these pages will be quietly going about their business, albeit with some quiet trepidation about the masses awakening from their Winter slumber.

November heralds the start of the Summer surface lure season.

Hands-down, I’d rather catch one bream or bass off the surface than 100 fish on smelly bait but each to their own, I guess. That’s what makes this pastime such a diverse and interesting obsession.

One thing’s for sure: I still find it interesting that there are so many fishos who are either completely stuck in an offshore heavy tackle mindset, or who firmly believe that lures just don’t work, particularly fat pink ones that float on the surface!

The facial expressions and boggled eyes of these people is priceless when they witness the soccer ball-sized boil as a big blue-nosed bream decides to grab the pink bit o’ plastic off the surface and head back to the timber or weed.

Then it’s straight off to the tackle shop for a swag of 2kg to 4kg gear and a bit of bling to dangle off the end of it!

Six months down the track and they’re doing ABT events and struggling to find the motivation to put to sea in a bumpy swell because the lure of an estuary jew in flat water dominates the majority of their waking hours.


November to May is prime southern estuary time when the fish look to the surface to feed.

The availability of terrestrial insect life and warm surface temperatures promote aggressive feeding habits.

The start of the cicadas singing means it’s time to tie on cicada imitations for those ‘barra of the south’, bass.

I saw my first Christmas beetle arrive in early September, believe it or not. Combine this with the amount of Winter rain and this summer should fire because most bass have been able to get to the estuary to spawn as the rivers ran high after years of drought.

The good thing about all this stuff about flicking lures is, you don’t always need a boat. The joys of stalking fish as you’re wading through warm, clear water are immense.

Just grab small box of lures, a bag, pliers, scissors and leader and you’re away.

Learning the art of lure casting can be a challenge but it’s not hard to do if you’re shown the right way from the start.

Yes, hiring a guide will shorten your learning curve by years, but there are also benefits to joining a good club full of members dedicated to this sport.

Consider joining the Basin Lure and Fly Club. For more information check out www.basinlureandfly.org.au or call Jim Barrie on 0409 275 434.

The talent pool of some of Australia’s best bream anglers has to be seen to be appreciated and, more importantly, this is a friendly club with people prepared to put back into fishing.

For example, the club was instrumental in securing the funding for the establishment of the St Georges Basin artificial reef program for what is now the largest human-made reef in the country.


Inside Jervis Bay and close inshore has been fishing really well recently, with striped tuna, good flatties and quality snapper to 3kg abundant.

I recently had the pleasure of guiding Nick Karadoukas and his 12-year-old son from Sydney to their first snapper on plastics. The cries of, ‘Oh my god, it’s just like in the videos, mate’ were priceless.

Finishing off the day with a dozen quick calamari has also been an easy task when the water was around 16° to 17°.

The interesting part in all this was the introduction of lightly weighted plastics fished down a berley trail of chook pellets and tuna oil, and I did say lightly weighted. Think bream gear, kids.

Off shore up The Banks way has still been patchy, to say the least.

There have been fairly thick patches of striped tuna of around 3kg to 5kg in close. They make great sashimi and go hard on light spin tackle. Temps of 18° to 21° have held throughout early Spring.

Leatherjackets seem to have moved in on The Block but as you read this, the kings should be in shallower now anyway and before you know it, the small black marlin will be back with the blue water.

If you have a picture or want to report on a local trip, feel free to email me.

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