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Westerly winds a blessing in disguise
  |  First Published: August 2012



To sum up the last month – bitter, brisk, chilly, crisp, cool, frosty and nippy. Basically it’s been a lot colder than it has been in some time on the Mid North Coast. So the best thing about August is that it’s the last month of winter.

Historically August is renowned as the windy month. Even though it brings colder weather the wind is generally from the west and this is a positive for those fishing offshore, from the beaches and headlands.

Those taking advantage of the prevailing August winds and flat seas will enjoy some good fishing offshore this month. Snapper, morwong and pearl perch will be the predominate species. We’ve already had good reports of quality fish being caught this winter and this should continue if conditions are good.

‘No run, no fun’ is a great saying and is crucial out at sea as well as the estuaries. But too much run in deep water can make it almost impossible to get your bait or lures to the feeding zone, and more often than not you can’t feel the bites as there is to much of a bow in your line. Generally the current is stronger the wider you go, so if you’re not too sure on its strength, then start close and move wider.

The inshore reefs off Bonny Hills and Lake Cathie should fire this month and with plenty of broken reef for the fish to hold on while feeding, it shouldn’t take long to locate fish and give your self a good session. If you’re inclined to anchor and bait fish on the closer reefs, then a good berley trail will bring the fish to you.

Well presented baits will get you the quality fish. Just remember that the bait needs to be as fresh as possible and presented as light as possible to get those bigger fish. When chasing big snapper the bait doesn’t generally need to get to the bottom. Best baits this month will definitely be whole squid or live yakkas. Those venturing further out will find good pearl perch and plate size snapper – just remember to watch the current.

estuaries

Estuary fishing this winter has been mixed with the water temperature varying greatly due to the amount of rain we have experienced. At times it has been bitterly cold and the fish have been shut down, and then when the river clears and more ocean water enters the estuaries, the temperature has risen and the fishing has improved with better catch rates occurring. The lower reaches have yielded the best results with the fish holding in the deeper water and close to the coal walls.

Bream and flathead will be good species to target on bait this month, with mullet and whitebait the best bait choice. If I bait fish at this time of year I like to use whitebait and I’ll fish them on a set of small ganged hooks, ensuring I have the bait well and truly secured to the hooks. If the fish are hitting the head, as they like to do, I’ll tie a simple half hitch with my leader over the snout of the bait to help hold it on.

Target bream in the deeper water and you’ll get a by-catch of flathead, and target flathead in the shallows and around weed edges and you’ll get bream as a by-catch. Either way you’re a winner.

Luderick should be still on the move this month as their numbers have been outstanding in recent times. Green weed, yabbies and peeled prawns are the best baits. If you want to be a purest and only catch luderick then stick to the weed. Personally I think you need to cover all bases and give yourself the opportunity of a decent mixed bag.

Beaches and rocks

Beach and rock fishing this month should be interesting. It’s not a matter of what you catch, but if you catch at all. With the recent weather our beaches are pretty flat and the seas have gone from huge one day to calm the next.

I talked to an angler recently who hadn’t fished the beach for weeks and decided to give it a try one night. He said it a complete waste of time. However he made a fundamental mistake; he didn’t scout out his intended location before heading out and in the end fished a flat section of the beach for nothing other than getting extremely cold. So make sure you do some investigation before heading out. Check for suitable gutters at low tide and visit the beach a couple of times on similar tides to see what the conditions look like.

It’s important in this cold weather to maximize you’re fishing time and make the most of it. Like any sport you need to study the game and know your stuff before taking on your opponent –in fishing the fish are your opponent.

Rock fishing should be good this month, with drummer high on the priority list for many anglers. Best spots will be around Point Plummer, Point Perpendicular and Grants Head at Bonny Hills. Cunjevoi is the best bait by far with a good berley trail of bread helpful.

A few drummer in the bag make a nice feed. I love baking drummer fillets with lots of veggies and a nice cheese sauce – a good winter warmer after a fishing session. Tailor and bream will also be caught off the rocks with Tacking Point Lighthouse a good place to have a quick session at first light, which is undoubtedly the best time to target tailor before they head deep when the sun comes up.

So bring on the winter fishing, rug up for the conditions and no matter what the description of the weather, nothing warms you up more than that pull on the line as you tangle with a good fish. Enjoy your fishing this month, and make sure you always check the weather conditions and stay safe on the water.

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