Wet to kick start summer
  |  First Published: November 2012

The stunningly clear weather has continued, with only about five minutes of rain, in the past three months. Yet, long range forecasters are predicting a wetter than wet summer! Who knows? But, the fact remains that we could do with some fresh to kick things along a bit.

Mangrove jack are firing up big time. Plenty of reports of quality red bruisers are filtering through with a few good specimens caught on the troll up near Johns Landing. Bounce big plastics around structure in the same location and cast and retrieve in the lower reaches.

Jacks are for the most part ambush predators so they will sit in an eddy, perhaps behind a bridge pylon or jetty stanchion, and they unceremoniously smash baitfish and prawns as they attempt to swim past. Their canine-like teeth (hence their other name dog-tooth bream) and their propensity for ambush hunting make jacks a formidable enemy, for baitfish and anglers.

Jacks will belt a lure on the turn. A soft rod will allow a hooked jack too much room to move and the poor angler will be left with a severed line and trembling knees. Out in the open a soft approach will work fine, but in tiger country you simply need to beef it up. A medium to heavy rod, 20lb braid and a 40lb leader would be considered mandatory, and a reasonable starting point.

Lure choice is pretty simple; hardbody minnows are the hands down winner (some say I’m a tad biased towards hardbodies, and they’re right!). Minnows that dive to, or swim near the submerged structure will work. The hardware needs to be up to the task, but other than that it’s almost take your pick. Lures from 60-100mm will be on the money.

Young Chris Locke works in at Davo’s Compleat Angler, and I have to say he lives and breathes fishing. Not many lads of his age are as keen and dedicated as he is. The River2Sea Live Minnow 85mm has been working well for Chris and he has caught some respectable jacks on them.

Chris has nailed more than his share of trevally of late too, with the Fish Arrow range of plastics. Chris spends a lot of time in the North Shore Tackle Shop on David Low Way. It would be well worth your while to drop in and say hello!

Cale cale, GT, big eyes and some spectacular diamond trevally have been keeping all and sundry entertained for months now, particularly in the Woods Bay and Munna Point region. It is likely though that they will thin out once we get closer to the warmer months.

The annual flathead congregation continues to build with good catches reported right throughout the system. At this time of year it is sometimes possible to rack up big numbers of flathead if you find a large concentration of them. Sometimes there will be scattered large henfish, each with a dozen or so lustful males attending, all in the one small area. Trolling through these patches of fish often results in double hook-ups; if you then work the area hard with plastics you can really clean up.

Those that prefer to drift will often come up trumps at this time of year. Small pilchards or froggies are good medicine when chasing flatties on the drift. Strips of mullet flesh will do the job also, as will a small live herring or mullet. Just be aware of where you are headed while on the drift!

Don’t forget the rules and regulations. If unsure get on the web or drop in to a Fisheries office or tackle store for advice.

Offshore has continued to be rather hit and miss. Chardons Reef has been worth a visit, with Sunshine probably worth avoiding other than at night. North has delivered some quality snapper and the odd cobia, but there has been plenty of water between them! Assuming we see some much needed rain I reckon we might see an almost instant improvement offshore.

There are still longtails and smaller varieties of tuna turning up sporadically in Laguna Bay and beyond. These bruisers will test any gear and of course it is well worth having a spin stick loaded with 20 or 30lb braid and a leader of around the 40lb class pre-rigged with a mid size slug. Make sure the hook is up to the job or the battle will end in tears.

Trolling will start to be a worthwhile pursuit once again in November. Large minnows and Spaniard specials are the go for big mackerel, and we may well see a show of these fantastic fish this month. Sometimes they don’t arrive until late December or early January, and I reckon the coast fills from the south. Here’s hoping for a bumper pelagic season!
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