At the end of August and into early September we usually see the offshore water clean up consistently more than in the Winter.
A bit more current can often be the cause of this, or even a bit of settled weather, although judging by the year so far, settled weather off the Tweed is just something we don’t see any more.
If the water does clean up then fishing soft plastics on the slightly deeper reefs really starts to fire.
It seems that the window of opportunity on the really shallow inshore reefs becomes too small and the larger fish move to the deeper water. Wether this is due to them following the bait or they feel more secure we probably will never know, but we have had some really good sessions on the 24- and 30-fathom reefs and down at Windara Bank on good numbers of reasonable sized fish.
Mixing your techniques between throwing plastics and floatlining will tell you which one is more effective.
Quite often at this time of year plastics produce bigger fish. Don’t be shy with the size of the plastics, either, as a big red doesn’t seem to mind a big bait.
It’s hard to go past the ever-popular Berkley 7” Gulp Jerkshad while the Z-Man range of stretchy plastics is also accounting for quite a few fish.
You may need to upgrade your jig head size to suit the depth of water. The good thing about this deeper water is that the by-catch can increase with fish like jew, kingfish, trag and pearlies all happy to jump on a tasty softie.
This is also a top month for the Tweed River, with most of the Summer and Winter species firing up as the water temperature starts to climb a few degrees.
Keeping an eye on the water temp can be the key to getting a few more of the Summer species to come out and play.
A sudden spike in water temperature can get fish like jacks to bite well for a few days before the temperature drops again.
For this very reason September is one of my favourite months. Across the board, whether in the fresh or salt, fish can really play the game.
The bass in the upper reaches are a prime example. You can experience some cracking sessions in the upper Tweed or on Clarrie Hall Dam this month.
Topwater lures or medium to small deep-diving minnows are the way to go. Make sure you get them right in among the snags because this is where the bass live.
Upgrade your leader to something around 10-14lb and you will stand a much better chance of landing the bigger fish as well as keeping a lot more of your lures.
This is the first month that we can actively start targeting blue marlin again on the wider grounds, while still having the option of a deep drop for blue eye trevalla and bass groper.
The key is to cover a fair bit of area while trolling your spread of lures until you come across an area of good-looking water with some sort of life that may indicate the presence of a marlin. Try to look for birdlife, schools of small tuna or even baitfish marking up on your sounder to help steer you in the right direction.
Once you have found a promising area, work it for a while to see if you can raise a fish. Marlin mark up on your sounder quite clearly and it may sometimes take a few passes to get them to come up to the boat.
We run two Humminbird 1197 sounders on RU4REEL and set up each differently while trolling the wider grounds.
The first is set at 50kHz on full screen mode. This shows me the entire water column from top to bottom. I can see if I am travelling over any productive looking bottom structure and whether there is any baitfish or large predatory fish marking up down deep.
The second sounder I set on 200kHz and run down to only 100m. This one tells me if there is any marlin marking up and you can see the individual fish clearly.
This sounder also shows me schools of baitfish in the upper part of the water column. These are the ones that will quite often be holding the marlin and these schools would need a good working over.Reads: 730