The early promise of a good rock blackfish season has built in strength from early Winter to now.
The run of pigs along the coast would rival the 2009 season, where the size and numbers were phenomenal.
For those that have not experienced the thrill of the black tanks from the rocks, well, you haven’t really live a full and rewarding fishing life. The power of these fish is incredible and is as good as their reputation on the dinner plate.
Cooked prawns are the gun bait and try fishing a spot first without berley, which may be unnecessary. Berley will also attract all the toads, butterfish and kelpies from around the area, so use it sparingly.
The rocks around Bennetts Head and Burgess Beach have been fishing particularly well throughout the Winter with good numbers of pigs, tailor and salmon.
Blackhead and Redhead rocks also have yielded a lot of fish so the options for where to fish are wide open.
Big bream have been holding behind the Tanks on Pebbly Beach and there are still luderick down at the southern end of Blueys Beach.
September is arguably the best time for big rock blackfish. Although fish upwards of 4kg have been reported, the majority have been 1.5kg-2kg, which I think are the best eating size anyway.
With a bit of rough weather from the south it is likely that the rock anglers will be treated to species that are generally a little out of reach.
Silver trevally and snapper are a welcome catch, the silvers for their fighting ability and the snapper for their eating quality.
The bream that have been getting along the beaches and rocks over the Winter will start to thin out soon, with many returning to the estuary and the lake.
The bream returning from their coastal run generally hit the Forster-Tuncurry bridge and hold there as a staging area before travelling further into the lake and its tributaries.
A constant flow of bream to the bridge at night will ensure plenty of fish holding in the area for a month or so and some of the big bream even make the bridge home for longer.
The bream come into the lake in schools and over the next month hopscotch their way from lease to lease until they are again distributed throughout the system.
With the bream come the blackfish returning to the system. Leases around The Paddock should turn up some of the big fish as they look for a home to hang out in over Spring.
Next month we should see flathead numbers increase in the lower lake and drifting the flats with lures or bait is the best way to locate these fish.
You will still be able to find flatties up the rivers, with the Wallamba River my pick for coal-coloured flatties. They take on the muddy colour of the river and where you find one you should find a few as they shoal over the gravel beds on the inside of bends anywhere from Nabiac to the mouth.
The breakwalls are the passage through which all the returning fish have to pass and blackfish and bream can be caught in numbers, especially on the evening tide.
The fish generally travel and forage along the broken rocks in the low light, so that is when you need to target them.
Schools of yellowtail and slimy mackerel that hang around the wall at this time of year will encourage the jewfish. Recent captures of small jewfish from 30cm up are a good sign of successful spawn.
Live bait gives you the best chance of a decent jew and a bait jig worked in the wash at the end of the wall should produce enough livies for a session.
Offshore there have been some big flathead and morwong, with some smallish snapper as well.
The leatherjackets should have thinned out a bit by now so you may not fill your fish box. At least now you won’t have to clean a tub full of these yellow, mobile bait-pinchers. Having said that, I don’t mind a feed of leatherjackets.
This month also heralds the start of the bass season and with all the flooding we have had over the past few years, the bass should be thick this Spring and Summer.Reads: 839