There is really no excuse for anyone to come home without a feed of fish, crabs and maybe even prawns over the next month.
The lake, estuaries and offshore have been fishing well and April is in the middle of the best season of all.
The Summer/Autumn species changeover is still current, with some bream heading out along the breakwater among the tonnes of mullet that run to the nets on the beaches around Easter time.
The bream use The Paddock oyster racks and the bridge as a transition area before they make the move out to the ocean rocks to spawn. The fish need condition to get through the rigors of spawning so a lure casting session around the lower racks or a soaking a bait of an evening from the wall will produce great results.
Some big bream, sand whiting and flathead have been taken in the lake’s lower reaches and blue swimmer crabs have still been around in good numbers.
One word of advice with the crab nets is to check the float rope for fatigue. If the nets have been lying around the yard in direct sunlight the lines may be weak and hauling a hoop full of blue swimmers to the boat, only to have the rope snap and the lot sinking out of reach, can be disheartening and cruel.
Also make sure all your floats are marked and no excess rope is floating on the surface. The easiest way to weight the rope is with a sinker or a strip of old lead flashing coiled around the rope.
Whiting are easily taken on live worms or yabbies under and around the bridge, with many of the larger specimens flushed out of the rivers and tributaries with the rain though February.
Worms or nippers on long-shanked hooks and light ball sinkers drifted back to the bridge during the run-out tide will score numbers. Fish as light as possible so your bait isn’t anchored to the bottom and cast well up current so the bait can sink to the bottom as the tide carries it.
From the bridge you can see large shoals of whiting flitting in and around the bridge shadows.
Apart from the blue swimmer crabs in the lake there has been an abundance of leatherjackets and some good flathead around the sand and mud flats and the islands.
Big garfish are still haunting the currents and can be encouraged with a little bread berley. Anyone wanting to stock up on tailor bait, now is the time to do it.
There are plenty of flathead around and some monsters among them. Drifted live poddy mullet are probably the best tactic to cover a lot of ground but for those wanting a big lizard on a lure, it is only matter of visually pegging out some likely water and systematically casting over it.
The best lures to use would be shads like the Squidgy Fish in 85mm or 1/4oz DOA Shrimps. Keep the lure near the bottom and you are in with a chance. Hooking it may be the easy part, though.
The bonito that have been so plentiful offshore have been raiding the estuary and carving up bait schools as far into the lake as Forster Keys, so don’t be surprised if you happen to catch one in the lake somewhere.
With warmer water along the coast it’s good to see some decent fish coming in and from what I’ve heard, trag, flathead and more than the usual numbers of john dory are filling the fish tubs.
A few morwong, bonito and snapper of around 4kg are also likely. Small black marlin are out there for those that want to spend the time and money chasing them.
Mack tuna and longtails are about and some small specimens made a slow but enthusiastic start to the LBG season. All we need is the schools of bait to thicken up and move inshore and the big fish will follow.
Charlottes Head is the best of the platforms, with Flat Rock and Cape Hawke worth a fish, too.
One word of advice though: Get in early because I suspect there will be a few guys out to have fun this year and positions on the rocks may come at a premium. Looking back at Charlottes from Elizabeth Beach the other morning, the long rock looked like a porcupine with the silhouette of a dozen anglers.
School jew seem to have gone from strength to strength and soft plastics and beach worms are braining them. I know of fish that went 10kg and 15kg from Blueys Beach and I have been scoring more than a few fish each session from Elizabeth.
Very early mornings with a rising tide seem to be the secret ingredients. As the sun gets up the jew tend to hide, stacked up, in dark corners and trenches around the rocky headlands.
Big bream will be showing up from now until September and I have heard that big tailor are making their way up the coast, with fish over 60cm reported down Seal Rocks way.
It is shaping up to be a great Winter if that damn rain holds off.Reads: 1652