Now that we have cast off the shackles of Winter, the fishing is on the up-and-up. The air is warming but the water is still a little cool but that will start to change over coming weeks.
So we still have a bit of time left to catch a few Winter species before the onset of the Summer speedsters.
There are plenty of trevally over the shallow reefs, just add berley in close around the islands and the north side of Bass Point and you should pick up a few. Small pieces of pilchard on light line and a No 3 hook and a split shot will do the trick.
The shallow reefs should still hold a few snapper from the cuttlefish run but the majority will have now moved into deeper water and down the coast.
A few reds will be hanging around the close bommies and drop-offs, picking up late cuttlies and whatever else they can find but you will have to work much harder than last month.
If you just want a bit of fun, keep an eye out for the flocks of seagulls and muttonbirds which mark where the surface action will be taking place. Hordes of salmon are schooling, gorging on the tiny baitfish that are so prevalent at this time of year.
Schools of striped tuna can mix it with the salmon but are more often encountered in separate schools accompanied by terns and muttonbirds.
Most of the action is within 2km of shore and often just off the local boat ramps. Seeing them as you are launching makes it difficult to keep your mind on the job.
Live bait or big soft plastics worked in or under the schools can produce nice kings and the odd big snapper, particularly around the islands. Small plastics will keep you busy with heaps of trevally.
One down side is there have been a few barracouta lurking about the place and these mean tackle losses. The line goes limp and the lure is gone on hook-up.
Kingfish are starting to show in all the regular spots. Downrigging at places like Wollongong Reef, Bandit, the islands and the humps off Bass Point are all worth a go in coming weeks.
There are some quality yellowfin tuna to 70kg and albacore around the continental shelf and beyond.
We had another cracker Winter on the southern bluefin with more anglers getting among them.
You write that they are late and may not show up and then the fish make you look like a goose – never mind.
September is always a good month for mako and blue sharks with the odd big tiger but with yellowfin about, the sharks often get a reprieve.
There are plenty of gemfish, a few trevalla and other assorted deep-water critters around the Kiama canyons if you like a bit of winching practice or have one of those electric reels.
The inshore drifters are doing it a bit tough although the reefs are holding a few snapper, mowies and pigfish.
The flathead should kick into gear by the end of the month but beware of the double whammy, with leatherjackets and barracouta out to spoil your day and take your terminal tackle.
On the rocks the plentiful salmon are taking lures and pilchards. A few legal kings are on the prowl early and some around the Kiama ledges are a fair bit better than legal, so gathering a few livies could pay dividends.
Winter species are still well represented with heaps of drummer in the washes taking royal reds and cunjevoi under small floats. With bream, trevally and the odd snapper, the rocks are not too bad.
Grab a few crabs and big groper are there for the taking on calm days during a westerly.
On the beaches it is still cold on the toes in the wet sand but there are plenty of the ever-reliable salmon to keep you warm. Smaller baits won’t keep the salmon at bay but you will pick up a few solid bream.
Some quality tailor are in with the little ones just on dark. School jew are hanging about but not a lot of big fish have been reported. But every time you put a bait in the water there is the chance of that big one.
The estuaries are just starting to get a move on with big flatties moving into the back of the lake and Minnamurra and the Summer fish should get a move towards the end of the month so they are worth a try around the drop-off.
Bream up in the feeder streams are taking small lures if you are persistent and get a good day and there are a few around the weed beds near Primbee.
The entrance to the lake has a few salmon and there is the chance of a jewie under the bridge in the evening on big plastics.
UNDER THE HAMMER
It probably only affects some anglers but we all may run into some over Summer whether fishing for marlin or flathead, and that is the hammerhead shark. There is now a ban on the capture and possession of the scalloped and great hammerheads.
They’re not on everyone’s to-do list but this is just another small piece of our beloved pastime that has been quietly chipped away without a great deal of consultation.
Two years ago I was cheering the removal of the mako shark from the endangered list due to the pressure brought about by voting anglers. Lawyers, doctors and the well to do own big boats and one of their main targets was the mako so pressure was brought to bear on the pollies, the ban was overturned and sense prevailed.
The hammerhead does not have the same profile so the ban has slid under the radar a bit. I know that it is only the great hammerhead and scalloped hammerhead that are affected and we are still able to take the more common smooth hammerheads (only one per day) but who can tell the difference?
You would need to be a marine biologist to pick between smooth and scalloped hammers, while the great does have some distinguishing characteristics. But to the normal Joe, a hammer is a hammer.
One thing is for sure, they taste good on the barbecue and I challenge anyone to pick the difference in the water between scalloped and smooth. Nonetheless, some poor bugger is going to be booked for keeping the wrong hammerhead. – GC