A seafood feast for all
  |  First Published: December 2012

During January and the school holidays, you may be flat out trying to find some calm water close to town but luckily there are fish right through the system.

So if you feel like chasing bream and flathead up the rivers, you can feel reasonably confident of bringing home a bag of fish.

The top end of the Coolongolook River is a water-ski hot spot so be aware there may be some wakes to deal with.

Reports about the prawn runs have encouraged me to get out and have a go at the channel prawns and I must say the results have been better than I was led to believe.

With friends and my wife, none of whom have never prawned before, we managed 12kg of good-sized channel prawns and missed two king prawns that were every bit of 25cm long – that is the legal length of a bream!

The new moon this month is on January 12 with a run-out tide from a high around 9.30pm so it may be an early morning home to cook your catch but it is well worth it.

The only issue with a good prawn run is that the fish can stuff themselves and be a bit full and non-responsive for a period either side of the peak run.

The bottom end of the lake is littered with pan-sized male flathead and early morning or late afternoons are the best times to hunt for them if you want to escape the ‘wake wash waltz’.

It amuses me how close people speed past you while you are fishing, just to show you their new boat. What they don’t realise is no one cares. Or maybe they are just ignorant and don’t know the water rules.

My diver spies have spotted the Summer school of mangrove jacks along the breakwall and heaps of school jew doing their best to stay out of the current, so fish close to the bases of the walls, rather than trying to cast out into the middle of the channel.

Another encouraging report was the number of big flathead that are littering the sand at the foot of the Tuncurry breakwall.

Live bait or big plastics bounced along the bottom as the tide slackens off are no guarantee of fish but they are your best bet.

I prefer 3/4oz or 1oz jig heads with 7/0 hooks so I can get my plastics to the bottom in a bit stronger current and I can feel the lure thumping the bottom.


The whiting have moved onto the beaches and a mix of dart and scrappy bream will keep you busy baiting worms or yabbies onto the hooks.

Live worms should be available from the boatsheds along Little Street or you can try your hand at pulling your own. Just remember to tuck your shirt into the back of your pants, otherwise you will end up with a massive sunburnt smile across the top of your plumber’s crack – it is not a pleasant experience!

Evenings on the beach are best for school jew and the odd reasonable tailor.

Spinning is a great way to spend the last few hours of the day and from the rocky ends of the beaches there is a good possibility of tailor, bonito or a solid mack tuna.

Bouncing baits or plastics behind the wave break is another good way to tangle with the larger jew that scout the backs of the beaches.

The rocky ends of the beaches allow you to access the backs of the waves and it’s a fair chance that the bigger fish have been holed up in and around the point during the day and have to pass your location to get to their night beach patrol.

There are tonnes of baitfish in the lake and offshore, with the predators not too far away.

Bonito have been pretty thick and will certainly attract the marlin, kings and cobia in the warmer water.

Sand flathead are thick, as you would expect this time of year, on the sandy patches between the inshore reefs. Small snapper, morwong and sergeant bakers make up the general mixed bags offshore, though there have been a few shark sightings, too.

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