I awoke one morning recently to find it raining steadily and bitterly cold and my mate Wayne phoned, saying, “I’m going fishing rain hail or shine. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”
After a couple of days of bad weather, I also needed to get out so a short time later we were on the water.
We fished deep with blades and plastics, the usual Winter tactics. They’re not my preferred methods of chasing bream and flathead but they work and we caught some decent fish.
But after a few hours I was losing interest in dead sticking on the bottom, feeling taps and nudges and slowly loading up the rod and then gently fighting the fish back to the boat on 3lb fluorocarbon.
So I piped up, “Let’s do something different.”
We headed for the canals for some crankbaiting and wafting plastics around the pontoons. We pulled up on a bend and Wayne threw out a Bassday Sugapen floating stickbait and instantly got a decent strike.
Suddenly I felt warm and comfortable on a cold, wet day. I tossed a stick minnow for a little while and got a few inquiries, while Wayne persevered with the surface lure.
It wasn’t long before he had his first hook-up and 27cm bream. I quickly picked up a rod with a pencil lure and got a hit first cast.
Then I saw a fish in less than 30cm of water, made a quick cast ahead of it, gave the lure a little tweak and I was on. Soon afterwards, a 34cm fork length bream graced the net.
We continued to fish surface lures until 4.30pm and consistently caught fish on a truly memorable day which got me thinking about a whole lot of techniques we seem to retire just because it’s Winter.
I love this time of year. Water temps are rising, baitfish are active and a whole host of species start to re-enter the estuaries.
Estuary action has been exceptionally good with plenty of bream being taken on bait at all hours of the day, as long as the water is moving. Quality bream and decent flathead have been taken on strip baits, nippers and salted prawns.
Luderick anglers have been having a great time with hardly a vacant rock of a run-in tide on the southern wall of the Hastings River.
Decent luderick have also been caught on the weed beds around the entrance to Big Bay and Limeburners Creek. Green weed has been working well, along with live nippers and peeled prawns.
This type of fishing will only get better this month as more luderick move back into the system as the water temps rise and Spring really kicks into gear.
Offshore angling has been somewhat disappointing and it’s not the fish that are to blame. Wind and strong currents have made fishing really hard.
Those who have managed a fishable day have turned up a few decent snapper to 8kg. This month they should really kick into gear and if the currents are friendly it will be a red September.
Also on offer will be some nice pearl perch wider out, with trag and morwong thrown into the mix. Soft plastics will serve you well.
For bait fishers, cubed pilchards will do the trick with whole pilchards, garfish and squid accounting for the bigger fish.
Best spots this month will be around Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills.
If you like bottom bouncing for flathead then straight out from the bar in 50m should have a host of lizards ready to jump onto whatever you present to them.
This month bass are back on the target list. They should still be available around Wauchope and the upper reaches of the Maria River but those wanting to get the best freshwater action will need to do a canoe trip.
Ellenborough Reserve and Long Flat will be good places to start on the Hastings.
This time of year if you get a day with some broken cloud cover the fish should take lures most of the day.
Ensure you look after these wonderful wild sport fish and practise catch and release.Reads: 939