Winter has arrived on the Tweed Coast and with the cooler mornings we hoping for some half-decent weather at last.
It has truly been a very trying year as far as weather is concerned and the state of the Tweed Bar has not been helping one bit. The slightest bit of swell has made crossing it quite difficult and unsafe.
We have not seen a dredge on it now for more than two years and it seems that nothing is going to be done about it in the foreseeable future.
At least the early morning westerlies should allow for flatter seas in and help us to get out there a lot more over the Winter.
When we have been able to get out the fishing has been consistent. The bottom fishing throughout the warmer months was quite good, definitely due to the fact that there wasn’t much current to speak of.
As the water cools we should see the bottom fishing on the reefs off the Tweed Coast really fire up. Species like snapper, teraglin, mulloway, kingfish and samson fish will all be viable targets.
The reefs in 30 to 36 fathoms produce good numbers of trag at times and when you come across a school you can quickly put a few in the boat. On these reefs they are generally around the legal 38cm to 45cm and are great table fish.
If you head out to the 45- and 50-fathom lines then you will find trag averaging around 50cm. These bigger trag often mark up on your sounder but won’t bite and it is often necessary to drop a live bait down to get them to bite.
Once they fire up, though, double hook-ups can be common so the bag limit of five per person is easily achievable.
Everyone is hoping snapper put in a strong appearance this month.
Floatlining is one of the most effective methods of targeting the better class of reds off the Tweed. The technique takes a bit of getting used to when you first start. Choosing the right sinker size to get the best sink rate is the most important part of catching fish consistently and once you work out this way of fishing you will be amazed at just how species-specific it can be.
Snapper are absolute suckers for a fresh whole pilchard or a strip of bonito and if you can’t get a bite on one of these baits rigged on a set of gangs and slowly floated down to the bottom then there usually aren’t any snapper there.
Soft plastics also produce good snapper off the Tweed Coast each Winter and I am looking forward to targeting them. Larger plastics fished on jig heads with quality hooks are the key to getting the larger fish.
Try to start with around 3/8oz to 1/2oz head and then you can go lighter or heavier from there. Most of your bites from snapper on plastics will come while the lure is dropping, so the longer you can keep your plastic doing this, the better.
The Tweed River should come alive as the water cools, with bream, blackfish and tailor being the main targets. Flathead will also be around in reasonable numbers as they start to get active and feed up as their spawning instincts push them to put on condition.
Wild bass will start to venture out to the main river as well and slowly begin to school up as their urge to spawn also starts to kick in.
The rock walls in the lower reaches are great spots to start looking for a few bream.
These fish respond well to deep-diving minnows and I just love the OSP Dunk 48. This little lure can dive to 4m and gets right down to where the fish are holding.
Try to position your boat so that you can make reasonably long casts down the wall and then bring your minnow along the structure. Most of your bites will come as the lure bounces around the rocks initially and then swims clear.
On clear days at the top of the tide you can actually see the bream swimming around the fringes of the walls and these are the fish that you will be targeting with the deep minnows.
All in all, June could be a good month – if the weather plays the game.Reads: 973