As Winter creeps in with its chilly days and is occasionally highlighted by the odd spark of pleasant weather, it’s comforting to know that the fishing can be hot.
Tailor schools are tracking along the beaches and headlands, following the bait schools and mullet so the beaches and rocks should provide plenty of opportunity for anglers.
But I guess the highlight of Winter for me is fishing the rocks for pigs during the day and blackfish and bream of an evening.
As the water temperatures drop the pigs get more active and the travelling bream and blackfish become very competitive for the limited food supply on offer.
A trickle of bread berley will draw the fish to your location, provided you pick a spot that eddies and doesn’t drift the berley away.
The rocks and beaches will not only yield the wash scavengers but also increasing numbers of salmon and tailor. Early morning spinning sessions or drifting pilchards and garfish will produce some great sport and as the tailor get bigger, perhaps a good feed, too.
The Forster and Tuncurry breakwalls are always great spots for an easy fish and the school jew are still bumping lures and wolfing live baits.
The schoolies have been a staple on the wall for over a year with good numbers keeping the punters very happy.
A heavy flood of red weed in Autumn caused a hiccup along the wall but the clear water is back and so are the bream and blackfish.
The first of the run-out tide is favoured for luderick while evenings tend to produce the best results on bream that are topping 1.5kg.
Spinning the ends of the walls with Raider-type metal lures has been successful for the passing tailor. These schools often hang around to take advantage of the baitfish flushed out of the lake on the ebb tide.
Spinning may also turn up a mack tuna or two if the schools of slimy mackerel drift into casting distance.
If you are ever in doubt about how many big bream hold up on the oyster racks in the lower lake near the bridge, I dare you to throw in a few slices of white bread and watch them to drift over them.
Even though they are difficult to catch at times, these big bream will reveal themselves for a slice of white.
Flathead have thinned out around the clear water of the sand flats but while many think of them as a Summer species, flatties need to eat year round.
While the flathead may seem to have disappeared they have generally just relocated up the rivers, so the Wallamba and Coolongolook are great places to sit and soak a bait or two on a bright Winter’s day.
Yabbies or worms cast out up the rivers will often tempt a large sand whiting because they too take a Winter holiday in the rivers and tributaries. Don’t be put off by the cooler weather, you may be very surprised.
The good runs of cobia and small striped and black marlin have kept tongues wagging around town, especially about the report of a 27kg cobia taken near Latitude Rock.
Scott Adams landed a 100kg striped marlin close to the coast and many more reports of fish raised and strikes have filtered through.
Colin Ray, visiting from Newcastle, said he was happy with his bag of flathead and pan-size snapper taken off Blackhead. He caught them on a mix of pilchards and Jerkshad soft plastics bounced over what he described as ‘barren ground’. The snapper should be getting bigger and increasing in numbers over the next few months so that is something to look forward to.
If you ever thought our fishing licence money wasn’t well spent I was delightfully surprised to be quizzed and checked by Fisheries officers around 9.30 the other night. They checked the length of a jewfish I had (well over the legal 45cm) and checked my licence.
After a quick chat and intensive investigation of my tackle, rig and lure selection, they thanked me and moved on. It is the first time in 25 years that I’ve have the pleasure and I’d like to commend the guys for their diligence and out-of-office-hours inspection. I reckon it is a good thing.
I have had a couple of emails and questions from readers regarding vehicle access on the breakwalls beyond the carparks, especially on the Forster side.
I have been in contact with Great Lakes Council and was told emphatically that anyone, apart from service or emergency services vehicles, risks a fine of more than $500 plus any RTA/police-imposed driving infringements.
While it may be dark and late at night, there is no excuse for driving around the bollards that are intended and obviously put in place to prevent access.
So be warned: Heavy fines are the risk and a trolley to transport live bait is far cheaper than the fines.Reads: 652