It’s officially beanie weather in this part of the world now and while the Summer crowds are a distant memory, the fishing has remained fairly consistent bar the calm clear days around the full moon, with the usual mix of weather from the south and west followed by some glorious days.
Now we’ve had a few consecutive wet Summers it will be a different ballgame this Winter with good prawns and concentrations of bait holding.
Autumn had pockets of gold, as usual, with a good jewie bite in the lower Shoalhaven River after the consecutive rain events.
Those prepared to put in the time reaped dividends. You got to give credit to the bait fishos who will sit on the pick until 2am waiting for the silver ghost of the estuary to hunt down a butterflied tailor or a live mullet. That’s dedication.
Those bait fishos have fared pretty well in the past month with some esky-sized hauls of bream and reds notched up from that pond down the road from the river.
Not to be outdone, the lure casting brigade well and truly held their own with a late Autumn finesse surface bite on quality bream, big flathead on the edges and big tailor.
We’ve had some amazing surface sessions with clients in the past few months on tailor to 76cm and fish that have bitten clean through 80lb leader. If you fish St Georges Basin, Lake Conjola or Burrill Lake regularly then having a dedicated big-tailor rig is essential because the surface bite may only last seconds.
Try doubling your 6lb braid (without tying a double) and use a double uni knot to around 50cm of 60lb-80lb mono leader. Alternatively, use wire.
Small metal slices jigged off the bottom and in particular the Rapala X-Rap Walks on the surface will achieve memorable hook-ups.
While jewfish are somewhat of an enigma in the Basin, one would have to think the odd silver slab would be lurking underneath the big choppers’ natural berley machine.
The nice run of quality reds well and truly kicked into gear in the past month or so and June is the time for an opportunity for a big red in close, where they congregate on many inshore reefs to feed on post-spawn giant cuttlefish.
Floating baits down a berley trail thing will always be the gun way to put a feed of reds on the table but from a sporting perspective, try tossing a very lightly weighted white soft plastic or squid strip next to a floating cuttlefish carcass.
Big reds sit just below the surface when in a feeding frenzy and it’s a great angling challenge to bag one with this technique.
As far as kings go, attention will now more than likely be focused on the deep offshore reefs as the fish school for the Winter.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t the odd big solitary fish that hold in Jervis Bay and under the cliffs all Winter, in fact we were still catching rats in JB last July.
Switch to squid as the preferred live bait for the Winter. Recent reports of big concentrations of jackets out wide means it might kick into gear in July – we live in hope.
In the meantime, off the stones the drummer and blackfish will come into their own with the cooler water and for my money, the old drummer is one of the easiest and tastiest feeds you can put on the table in this part of the world.
Don’t forget the bread berley to fire up the ‘pigs’ and check the ocean conditions when planning a session from the rocks.
There have been a few crews putting in the miles lately for not much in the way of a marlin bite but there has been the odd yellowfin, with Randall and crew on X-Rated landing a 68kg model in late Autumn.
There is still 22°-24° water slightly north of here and one would have to think that a blue or striped beakie would still be on the cards. Last year’s sea surface temp charts indicated the warm water stuck around until July but many seasoned offshore crews will now be having sleepless nights in anticipation of the arrival of some southern bluefin tuna next month.
In the meantime, sunny Winter days are great for all the offshore reef species like mowies, reds and poor man’s lobster (red rock cod or red scorpionfish), with some great sport options of salmon and reds under the cliffs in the washes. A gulp 5” Jerkshad in white or nuclear chicken on a 1/4oz 3/0 jig head is the lure of choice.Reads: 1966