Estuaries show some spark
  |  First Published: October 2012

The sun now has some noticeable strength as the days grow longer. After being barren and shut down, the estuaries are really beginning to spark into life.

Blackfish anglers are lining the banks, bobbing their secretly procured weed of choice under floats in anticipation of a solid ‘down’. They can be an odd bunch, talking their own lingo in hushed tones and observing onlookers through squinted sideways glances.

Most anglers seem to be catching good hauls of fish with half a dozen solid keepers for the table the norm.

However, not all luderick anglers are that secretive and some are happy to share a few tips with a new chum wanting in on the action. But they usually draw the line at where they source their weed – you’ll have to work that one out for yourself!

Flathead should be more active this month with some big girls working the shallows. I rarely keep any flathead regardless of size but anything over 60cm is a definite 100% release for me.

It is encouraging to see these shovel-headed fish mooching around the flats in good numbers, indicating local flathead stocks are in pretty good shape.

Bream and whiting numbers will still be a bit thin for most of the month but I expect that to change closer to November.


It is also a great time to start seriously chase daytime jewfish on lures. Baitfish schools will be increasing with the warming water and the jewfish are rarely far from the smorgasbord.

An even better source of food for the jewies is when you can find concentrations of prawns, which will also begin to make an appearance.

On the rocks, the Winter mainstay, rock blackfish, are still highly viable targets throughout Spring.

They seem to be a bit more mobile as things warm up and spots that fished slowly over Winter can really turn it on late in the season. Maybe they are looking to spawn and are seeking companions.

Whatever the reason, pigs seem easier to find now than they can be in late Winter. Actually landing them will be just as challenging; they are tough customers no matter what time of year.

Snapper numbers will be diminished with the majority of fish moving into deeper water. But there are always some solid stragglers in the shallows. One of my best snapper catches several years ago came from 6m-8m in October when most boats were fishing out in 40m for tiddlers.

Recently boat anglers have been scoring good numbers of fish to 6kg on bait and soft plastics in the 20m-30m depths. The best advice for this time of year is to try multiple depths to find fish, then stick to that zone if you do find them.

Bass will be starting to turn on, too, particularly after a warmer than average day. We found some really healthy populations of early season bass last year but with the lead-up to this season being so dry, the returning migration of post spawning fish may not be able to access the kinds of places I prefer to fish unless we see a decent downpour or two.

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