Fishing can be a tough game at this time of year and, as usual, things slowed right down by the end of July and remained that way in August.
Thankfully, though, it’s all set to improve but I wouldn’t expect any miracles just yet.
September is another poor month for local fishing and that’s pretty much across the board.
However, as I always say at this time of year, it’s very weather-dependent. The warmer the days, the faster the fishing should pick up.
Flathead should start to kick into gear from now on.
The first places I would be looking for flatties are shallow, protected bays that cop a decent amount of sunlight to warm the water.
A mix of weedy patches and rocks over the bottom is better than clear sand or mud because this encourages life such as prawns, shrimp and small mullet for the flathead to eat and the weed also acts as a form of insulation from the cold.
There are plenty of these bays around Brisbane Water, Tuggerah Lakes and the southern end of Lake Macquarie.
The lower sections of our creeks can also be good for flathead at this time of year, especially around the mouths of Erina and Narara, where there’s a healthy mix of weed, sun warmed shallows and other structure.
The mouths of Wyong, Ourimbah and Wallarah creeks are the same, but the size of flathead in Tuggerah Lakes tends to be smaller than Brisbane Water so if you don’t want to be sifting through sub-legal (36cm) fish, head to Erina or Narara. By Narara I mean anywhere from the Gosford rail bridge and up.
The lower ends of the systems around Ettalong, Half Tide Rocks and The Entrance can also be good for flathead but I’ve often found that because of the colder ocean water at these places, they don’t fish so well until October or even November.
Flathead will rarely say no to a good bait like a strip of mullet, frogmouth pillie or a live prawn, so try bait if the lures aren’t doing the job. When the water warms up a bit more lures will work better.
Blackfish should still be active at places like Woy Woy, The Entrance and Budgewoi for another few weeks but they may become a bit picky about which type of weed they’ll bite on.
A few bream are always poking around but I wouldn’t be putting in much time on them this month because there are much better times ahead from mid October onwards.
If you live on the northern part of the Central Coast and care more about having some fun, rather than bringing home fresh fish fillets, head to Chain Valley Bay or Mannering Park and see if those salmon are still around.
I think they should be and if so, try 4” Berkley Power Minnows in casper clear, galaxia green or pearl watermelon.
Look for surface activity at first light and head straight to the action, cutting the motor 50m short so you don’t spook the school. Then quietly drift towards the feeding sambos.
Once the sun clears the horizon they tend to go deeper and are harder to find.
It may not be everyone’s idea of fishing, but it’s an option if you’re not having much luck elsewhere.
By far the most dominant species along our beaches this month will be salmon. Regular readers may almost be sick of me mentioning salmon and may simply not want to catch them at all. That’s fair enough.
I must admit it can become a bit predictable and possibly boring when you’re hoping to hook into tailor or jewfish, and another salmon ends up on the end of your line.
On the other hand, there’s some fantastic light tackle around these days, which can make salmon fishing a lot more enjoyable.
At this time of year there are plenty of days when the surf is reasonably calm, so you can get away with a 3000 size threadline reel and a light rod that can cast soft plastics or small metal lures.
In most cases, salmon are most active in the beach gutters early or later in the day and a rising tide is normally best. With a light outfit you can have some awesome angling action and it’s within easy reach of anyone.
I’ve also been getting into sambos off the rocks, using a variety of sporting tackle including surface lures and plastics cast from a light 3m rod and 4000 size reel. Fish of 2-3kg smashing your surface lures before putting on a stubborn fight with plenty of jumps is pretty entertaining stuff.
Sadly, this is going to be another difficult month if you’re heading offshore.
Out wide in 100m there’ll still be kingfish and bonito on offer and some of these fish will also be found closer in at times.
Some local anglers fishing out of larger vessels have enjoyed the big bluefin tuna out on the continental shelf, with fish up to 80kg caught by casting big surface lures. Others have been caught on jigs or by more conventional means, like trolling.
They’ve probably moved on by now, but it was a good season for them.
All in all, the two most reliable species this month will most likely be salmon and flathead. Once we get through September, though, things will be looking up.Reads: 2009