Persist and hope for the best
  |  First Published: August 2012

With westerly winds being our dominant weather feature, daylight hours on the increase and the footy season heading towards the finals, it means that we’ve now hit rock bottom as far as fishing is concerned. As bleak as that sounds, there is a bright side. It will start to get better once we get through the month of August.

For now though, there are two different paths the keen angler can take; forget about fishing altogether and concentrate on some tackle or boat maintenance and chores around the house until September rolls around, or if you’re like me and can’t go for more than a few days without wetting a line, just deal with the tough times, put in some effort and hope for the best. After all it’s not going to be impossible to catch fish this month, just challenging.


In years gone by, I certainly wouldn’t have called August a time to hit our local beaches, but in reality, beach fishing can actually be one of the more productive types of fishing right now. The biggest problem beach anglers are likely to face is too much swell or a complete lack of it. We’ve had some mountainous seas pounding the coast through winter and while there’s every chance that will also occur this month, there’s an even greater chance that those westerlies are going to blow the surf flat.

It’s not hard to fish a flat beach and easy to make long casts with a westerly behind your back, however fish don’t like it much. So if you do turn up and find it all very calm, the best strategy is to start looking for any amount of whitewash at all. If it’s 500 metres down the beach than that’s the direction to go.

Salmon are by far the most likely fish to be hooked in the surf from now right through to the end of October, however there may also be a sprinkling of bream, jewfish and tailor, with a slight chance of snapper, trevally and flathead as well.

Similar to beach fishing, sea conditions are a major factor to consider when fishing the rocks. If it’s dead flat then you’re likely to struggle, but the main key is to look for any amount of whitewash at all. Even if one small point may have a bit of wash around it then it can be holding a few bream, drummer or blackfish. Salmon and blue groper are the other fish worth trying for at this time of year.

If, we cop a pounding from big seas, it could also be worth casting a good bait out for snapper a few days after the seas settle again. Something like a whole garfish, strip of calamari or occy leg should do the trick. Avoca, Winney Bay, Wybung or some of the main points around Catho would be the best places to do that.


Once again, westerly winds or large seas are likely to make offshore fishing difficult this month and many anglers may not even bother heading out at all. If you can make it out wide then kings or bonito should be around, but closer in from 25-50m there’s a reasonable chance of snapper, especially if you can brave the freezing air and be over a decent patch of reef before sunrise.

Quite often the kingfish and bonito become more active through the middle of the day, however snapper are more active from half an hour before sunrise till about 8am. If all else fails, take a spin rod and chuck small chrome lures or soft plastic stickbaits around for the salmon. It won’t be hard to find them this month.


Salmon have invaded the southern parts of Lake Macquarie and I’ve seen some impressive surface feeding frenzies around Chain Valley Bay and Mannering Park. Some big tailor are mixed in with them and from a distance the action looks quite similar to small tuna working offshore. Of course, some readers are now thinking that’s bad news, as the mongrel salmon will eat all the lake’s bait. Each to their own, but I reckon it’s great and it’s not like the bream or flathead are biting their heads of at this time of year anyway, so why not enjoy the fun.

Quite a few salmon have also been showing up throughout Brisbane Waters and the odd one in Tuggerah Lakes as well. Tailor in mixed sizes have been abundant in all of our systems this year and I’ve lost quite a few bream lures to them, especially at The Entrance. As we head towards September the tailor should be thinning out a bit.

While it’s still possible to catch bream this month, it’s probably the worst month of all so I would be concentrating more on blackfish if you want a few fish for the dinner table. Sometimes you may also run into some flathead and whiting in August, especially around bridges, creek mouths and in deeper channels adjacent to weedy flats.

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