There seems to be a lot of action on the surface this month with mahi mahi and marlin offshore and heaps of bream right throughout the estuary tributaries.
The mahi mahi have been haunting the FAD (S32° 13.211', E152° 40.680') and trap floats with some big bulls around 12kg coming to the cleaning tables.
Pilchards and live bait work well but for a bit more active fishing, casting a 7” or 9” soft stickbait often has the dollies climbing all over themselves to get at the lures.
There have been many marlin seen free-swimming and it’s no wonder, with the amount of bait hugging the coast. There have been loads of bonito and slimy mackerel travelling close inshore, attracting the big predators.
We should look forward to larger mack tuna, cobia and longtail tuna from now until after Easter – fingers crossed.
In March we see the beginning of the land-based live -baiting pilgrimage from the south as anglers prepare to take advantage of the run of tuna from the local rocks.
The water hazards are many, including large waves on the wrong days and the packs of sharks that can reduce an angler to tears as they thrash a trophy fish to shreds.
I am predicting that this season from the rocks is going to be a scorcher. All the rain that has pushed past the breakwaters over the previous 12 months will provide ample nutrients to the coastal waters.
In 2001 we saw a tremendous run of cobia on the Mid North Coast; in 2009 it was pigs, last year it was school jew. This year, who knows?
Regardless of the fishing, the LBG anglers will be spread out from Seal Rocks, to Charlottes Head, Flat Rock, Cape Hawke and Bennetts Head. All the fishos will be hoping the current and wind push the pelagic fish close to their baits.
Generally, live bait can be caught on site with slimy mackerel, yellowtail and garfish the main game.
Spinning from the rocks will produce the odd small kingfish, mack tuna and bonito along with the packs of small chopper tailor that seem to just appear at random.
Soaking full or part pilchards on ganged hooks under the washes is well worth it if you aren’t inclined to tossing lures. In combination with a trickle of berley you can encourage silver trevally, bream, pigs and even the occasional gold-spotted sweetlip, if you are lucky.
Bonito, rat kings and tailor will all raid the berley trail as they do their laps of the coast, so be prepared.
In the lake the bream are a month or two away from their spawning aggregations and are still scattered well up the rivers.
The snags and rocky shores of the upper tributaries are holding very good bream to 40cm that are chasing prawns as they skip close to the mangroves.
Berkley Pup Dogs, Hawk Splashers and cicada patterns are all worth throwing to the bank but be mindful that the lure needs to be very close to the bank to make the most of the fishing. The closer the cast, the more likelihood there is of provoking a strike.
Working the shoreline a little deeper will produce flathead from legal (36cm) up to 70cm. Soft plastic minnows on 1/8oz jig heads are sufficient to manage the flathead and I reckon pumpkinseed is the gun colour in the upper estuary.
I have had reports of some stud whiting from the beaches taking live worms, along with heaps of annoying dart.
Finding formations like deep gutters on the beaches is not too difficult and a high tide is the to fish. Remember that worms are available from several boat sheds along Little Street at Forster or you can try your hand at collecting your own worms on the beach along with the pipi twist.
For the luderick anglers, there is weed available in the pond on the Forster side of the breakwater.
It seems like we are getting at least local flooding every month but I’m hoping this Autumn will be a little drier than the last.
If not, we can look forward to a great bass season later in the year and a good run of jew and bream along the coast. So even though it can be a annoying, there is a bright side to everything.Reads: 1680