June can be a tough month on the water with the weather and the species available often stacked against you, but being an optimist, there is always the chance that there will be a few fish about and the weather will be in your favour.
But you will have to put in extra effort to have a bit of fun.
Offshore can be hit and miss, even for the well-prepared angler. The snapper won’t hit their straps for a few weeks yet, but there always will be a few early arrivals but they are not going to be easy.
A good berley stream trickled out over your chosen reef is the way to go if you are looking for a feed but if you want to get a bit of practice with the plastics, now is a good time to start.
Wollongong Reef is straight out off Wollongong Lighthouse and goes for several kilometres seawards. It is close to Port Kembla and for the most part it hasn’t been pulverised by all those massive chains from anchored ships waiting to get into port. They mostly anchor further north.
Check your charts for some of the rises on the bottom and fish your plastics over these reefs for some early snapper.
If you are out there and the wind changes and you can see the ships swing and move on their anchors, get in to where that massive anchor chain is being dragged across the bottom and get your offering down in the drag zone.
As the chain drags across the bottom with the wind change, it smashes everything in its path, creating a massive berley stream. It doesn’t happen every day but it’s just worth keeping note of if you are out there.
Fish aren’t stupid and they know there will be food where that anchor drags.
Work over areas up to 30m deep and always keep an eye on the sounder for any fish holding off the bottom and get your lures to them.
Further offshore, weather permitting, there have been a few decent yellowfin tuna smashing trolled lures. Skirts, bibless lures and big minnows all work well.
When you find a few fish, a trail of pilchards usually works to bring them in and there is no better time to start that trail than when you have that hooked tuna close to the boat. Any others following will get straight onto the pieces and hang about.
When trolling, look for the birds, be they prions, shearwaters, albatross, terns or the best indicator of the lot, diving gannets. Even better, if you have them all in the one place at the same time you know the fish are close by. More birds, more fish.
A few striped tuna are about as well and are the No 1 bait for snapper and bream until the cuttlefish arrive in numbers.
Closer to shore there are a few kings hanging about the islands but don’t spend more than half an hour working live baits without a hit. They are either there or they aren’t.
A bonito up to 6kg is more likely to take your live bait. Some solid salmon to 4kg are about the islands but it may be difficult to get any fish out even if you hook a good king because the seals at Gap island are increasing again and will be there all Winter.
Gap was a great kingfish spot, and probably still is, but now the seals have reclaimed, it making it impossible to get a fish out.
Salmon are working the surface around the islands and along the coast for a bit of fun and fish cakes, but that’s about it for surface action.
Over the reefs your berley will attract more trevally than snapper so they are a good fallback if the reds are not co-operating.
In the washes and sheltered bays the bream are on the move and some are well over a kilo.
Beaky Bay at Bass Point early, the western side of Toothbrush Island, behind the pool at Bellambi and in the bay at Sandon Point are all top spots this month. You only have to be in 2m of water to get the bream – but only if the sea permits.
For the drifters it is not too bad with a few small snapper and the odd bigger fish, a few samson, silver trevally, mowies, pigfish and heaps of leatherjackets. Flathead have slowed right down but there are always a few if you are persistent.
The rocks are well worth a look with plenty of drummer in the washes, particularly up north on the rock platforms around the Seacliff Bridge. But you will find them off most local platforms at the moment.
Bream and trevally are in good numbers and the odd bonito and kingie can be found on the deeper ledges early in the mornings and there are salmon all day. There is even the chance of a late longtail if you keep a live bait out of the way of the salmon.
The beaches aren’t too bad with some good tailor hanging around in the deeper gutters just on dark. Pilchards seem to have taken over these days as the bait of choice for most anglers but sea gar on ganged hooks ruled supreme for decades before we got lazy.
A nice big gar on ganged hooks will tempt the biggest tailor way before a frozen pillie. Salmon love them, but salmon love everything. Filleted gar make great bream bait that stays on the hook way better than a piece of pillie and jewies are rather partial to them as well.
So give the good old garfish a try, you may be surprised at how well they work.
There are a few jewies getting about and there should be some bigger fish over the next two months, with big tides in the evenings making for ideal conditions.
A fillet of fresh tailor or fresh yellowtail should get their attention.
Bream will be on the beaches, particularly in the rocky corners. An onion bag tethered in the wave zone containing fish scraps and bread should lure bream right to your feet.
If you really want to take on a challenge there are some trophy whiting in the surf but you will have to work for them with beach worms, but they are ripper fish when you find them.
`The estuaries are pretty slow at the moment with a few bream around the bridges and rocky areas in Lake Illawarra and the Minnamurra, or along the edges of the weed beds on the eastern side of the lake, particularly if you can find the tide line where the new water hits the old as it pushes in.Reads: 923