The beginning of a new year can be an exciting time for those of us who live for our fishing. Because each year is different from the last, we can never be quite sure exactly which species of fish will turn up in good numbers, which species may be more elusive, or if it will be the year when we finally crack that monster bream, jewie or kingfish we’ve always dreamed about.
For me, 2012 was the year of the bream. Although I did score a few big models, it was mainly the numbers and consistency through every month that was impressive.
Even during normally the worst month of the year, August, I didn’t have a problem finding them.
Interestingly, the majority of my bream were caught in the Tuggerah Lakes system, which is quite heavily netted. I did a lot better in these lakes than the adjacent Lake Macquarie which hasn’t officially seen nets for a decade.
Looking at our local options over the coming month, there’s quite a lot to choose from.
As always, the weather will largely dictate where we can or can’t fish, particularly for rock and offshore fishing. Unlike our estuaries, there’s just not much in the way of protection from the elements.
Thankfully, though, the main things we need to worry about at this time of year are north-east breezes and strong southerlies.
Because north easterlies are so common, it’s definitely a good idea to try to plan your outings early in the morning, before the wind kicks in.
Rock fishing should be reasonably good, with warmer currents heading our way and bringing bonito and kingfish closer to the rocks.
Be aware, though, that a few days of strong north easterlies may turn the water cold, but a southerly can have the opposite effect, warming it again. So keep that in mind when planning to hit the rocks.
If the water is a bit cool then bream, drummer or blackfish could be the best bet. I know that most of us are probably more enthusiastic about hooking into kings or bonito, though.
There may also be a few tailor lurking around the washes and even though it’s the middle of Summer, don’t be surprised to catch a few salmon, either.
If we do end up with some warm water pushing in to the rocks, more likely towards the end of the month, some mack tuna and frigate mackerel could also be possible.
Offshore anglers are also keenly observing ocean currents this month, waiting for that magical push of cobalt water and the marlin that come with it.
Although the chances of marlin decrease the closer we get to land, those kings and bonito can still provide plenty of light-tackle action.
Seasoned offshore anglers may think of bonito only as bait and those rat kingfish as annoying pests, but if you’ve only ever caught stuff like bream or flathead it can be a real thrill to get stuck into a heap of small pelagics.
If the weather allows, fishing reefs within a few kilometres from shore during the afternoon and into the night is a good way of picking up some quality snapper, trag and jewfish.
There really are heaps of spots to fish within a 20 -minute boat ride from Terrigal, Norah Head or Swansea.
Try to pick up some squid or live yakkas before heading to your chosen spot and send them down just as the sun sinks towards the horizon.
Have one rod rigged up with a squid jig as well, because there’s a good chance your live bait will get harassed by squid, which you can then bring closer to the boat, where your jig is ready to catch them.
I’ve seen the action get pretty hectic half an hour either side of sunset with squid, cuttlefish, jewfish, snapper, tailor, bonito and kingfish all firing up at the same time.
It’s not always going to be like that but when it is you’ll have a lot of fun and possibly end up with fridge full of fresh seafood.
Beach fishing can also fire up right on sunset and at this time of year tailor and jewfish are the species most likely to hit our baits. This is especially so if the high tide peaks about an hour after sunset.
Strong north-easterly winds can be a problem when trying to fish the beach of an evening. Morning sessions are an alternative but the bite period seems to be a lot shorter in the morning, with things slowing right up about an hour after the sun clears the horizon.
Back in our estuaries, it’s all bream, whiting and flathead this month.
Providing the weather is OK, there shouldn’t be a problem hooking into these fish on bait or lures.
Yes, there are a lot more people and boats around our waterways this month but the reality is that bream, flathead and whiting tend to be very widespread in the height of Summer so it’s worth trying some of those more secluded or forgotten spots where crowds aren’t a problem.Reads: 956