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Never a better time
  |  First Published: February 2013



This is it, the super month, but where do you start?

With so many options available you can fish 24/7 for the next six weeks and not cover all the possibilities,

Lake Illawarra is full of willing flathead on just about every patch of sand. The flats out from Windang van park, just past the drop-off, are always a great place to start, while the drop-off and all points west are chockers with flatties to 40cm and bigger.

The main channel is also full of flatties but it can get very busy on the weekends so get out and back early.

Live prawns, soft plastics of just about any type as long as it’s a prawn pattern and live poddy mullet are the baits of choice.

Keep an eye on the water as you travel because there are so many crab pot markers and ropes it is almost impossible to navigate in a straight line. Take a couple of your own, too – lake is full of blue swimmer crabs.

Flathead fillets and blue swimmers washed down with a beer, it doesn’t get much better unless you like a few prawns and there are plenty after the full moon if you like a walk by torchlight.

Plenty of prawns mean plenty of fish and an early morning session casting poppers over the flats can yield some nice whiting. But for a feed, get some worms and fish the falling tide on the flats near the entrance.

Bream are taking live prawns around the rocks and bridge pylons after dark but some nights they can be quiet because the odd nice jewfish has been pulled from around the bridge pylons as well.

For the kids there are heaps of chopper tailor and mullet to keep them busy.

BEACHES

The beaches are about as good as they get with whiting spread all along wherever there is sand.

Get beach worms to get the best and most fish. Dart, bream, salmon, trevally and flathead all love worms and a big bunch in a deep gutter during the evening will entice any jewfish.

Pillie-tossers are in heaven with plenty of salmon and tailor, with bream and flatties thrown in and even a few school jew taking these baits.

The rocks are on fire as the north-easterlies push the small bait into the northern corners of headlands and breakwalls, particularly the deeper ones like Blowhole Point, Bass Point, Port Kembla’s Northern Breakwall and Wollongong Harbour.

Early morning, bonito, salmon, frigate mackerel, small mackerel tuna, kings and slimy mackerel are smashing the bait and are you can have some fun casting tiny lures at the melee.

For the serious rock fishos the big pelagics are out there now with marlin a good chance on the ledges around Kiama. Big live slimies, yellowtail and frigates are the baits of choice but small bonito will do as well.

Kings to 16kg are stealing the baits while small hammerhead sharks can be nuisances or fun if it gets a bit slow.

Later in the month the first longtail tuna should blow through with some bigger mackerel tuna.

The bread-and-butter fish are out there, with bream and trevally in the washes and a few drummer as well. Blackfish are increasing in numbers and will improve as the weeks progress, so get some lake weed or cabbage weed and use plenty of chopped weed and sand in a berley mix.

OFFSHORE

All along the coast mack tuna, salmon, bonito, frigates, striped tuna and rat kings are exploding through surface baitfish.

For snapper try working bigger plastics deep around the feeding pelagics or schools of baitfish on the sounder. They are grabbing any baitfish that head deep or stray from the schools.

Bigger kings are lurking at all the hot spots like Rangoon, Bass Point, the Humps, the islands and Bellambi Reef, with the deeper reefs like Wollongong and Bandit holding good fish as well – if you can get a spot.

Large live baits or squid on downriggers are the way to go, or live frigates in any fashion.

Over the next two months we will see a lot of exotics, from spotted or Spanish mackerel to rainbow runners, GTs, amberjack and cobia.

Out wider, there will be a few spearfish and sometimes even a sailfish for some lucky angler.

The bottom bouncers have it all their way this month with plenty of flathead, mowies, snapper, trevally and samson for some fabulous mixed bags.

MARLIN TIME

In February Bandit and Wollongong reefs turn into parking lots as boats work around the huge schools of slimy mackerel and yellowtail milling on the surface, with often huge numbers of marlin hunting them from below.

Slow-trolled slimy mackerel are the way to go for 50kg-150kg blacks.

Striped marlin regularly mingle with the blacks on the close reefs or out around the continental shelf and now is the time to chase blue marlin to 300kg. Heavy tackle is required for these monsters although blues to 150kg have been taken on threadline tackle locally in past seasons.

It can get a bit easier to fish the FADs and other floating objects for mahi mahi with less boat traffic at these spots.

As always, take live bait and pilchards for the ‘lottery’ because you never know what size the fish will be on any day. Generally bigger fish show when the current is running hardest.

When moving between spots if you don’t want to chase marlin, put out some fast skirts or big minnows like Rapala X-Raps for wahoo or small yellowfin tuna.

So what are you reading this for? Get out there and into them!

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