This is a time of year I love and loathe because it obviously has such strong good and bad points.
Apart from the chance of thunderstorms or a southerly change, it’s normally pretty warm and the fish are biting.
Activity also gets hectic for just about everyone in the lead-up to the holiday break and then, like a bubble, it bursts.
Those of us who’ve worked our guts out all year can finally enjoy the warmth and a few fish, but many of us also dread crowded boat ramps and the general commotion of the holiday period.
The Entrance is a prime example of good and bad.
It’s one of our most reliable Summer fishing spots, with bream, flathead and whiting in the channel and the adjacent beach should be good for whiting, tailor, flathead and jewfish.
Problem is, though, it’s not going to be easy to get a spot to yourself, especially around the bridge and down around the mouth of the channel.
Thankfully, though, some good fishing can be had further out around the islands, through the north channel and south towards Long Jetty.
If you’re more interested in the beach then head further up towards Magenta or beyond. Really, the whole beach offers pretty good fishing.
Scooping up prawns is a great way to cool off at night around The Entrance, particularly during the darker nights around new moon.
If the prawns are running thick you need only to anchor up in a sandy spot not too far from the bridge or main channel and sit there with a light on and scoop them. If they’re not so thick then it may take a bit of moving around.
Budgewoi is another place that becomes busier as the silly season approaches, but there are some good options there at this time of year.
It’s never too hard to catch a few bream in the channel on decent bait like fresh prawns, bloodworms or mullet gut and while most bream are small, there’s always a chance of a big one.
The same applies to lure fishing in the channel or the adjacent shallow, weedy flats. Like anywhere else around Tuggerah Lakes, you have to sift through the smaller fish but just because the lakes are netted doesn’t mean there are no big bream here.
Further up in the top lake, Munmorah, casting surface lures for bream can also be quite productive, but the huge amount of weed around the fringes of the lake can make things frustrating.
It’s unbelievable how many times the biggest bream of the day is zooming up on your lure and just about to hit when a piece of weed suddenly fouls on the hooks. As soon as this happens, the bream instantly loses interest.
A feed of prawns or some for bait can also be scooped up at Elizabeth Bay, which hasn’t much weed to deal with. Wade around here early morning casting lures and you’ll pick up a few bream and the odd flathead.
Norah Head is another holiday hot spot but a large percentage of holidaymakers here are simply keen to kick back on Soldiers Beach, swim or surf.
The rocks near the lighthouse and the big platform at the northern end of Soldiers are easy enough to fish and it could be worth trying to spin for bonito or kingfish early in the morning, before the north easterly winds pick up.
On the local beaches tailor and jewfish are definitely worth pursuing this month.
Other good rock and beach fishing will be on the cards around the Munmorah and Catherine Hill Bay. These deeper ledges are certainly more productive for kings and bonito and most of them are much less snaggy than around Norah or further south. Ledges like Snapper Point get a bit crowded through the peak of the holidays.
South Avoca is definitely our most crowded rock fishing spot and from late December to mid-January there will probably be lines and tangles everywhere. While there may be some fish to be caught here, I would be inclined to avoid it if you’re no fan of crowds.
The rocks at Terrigal are similar and if conditions are safe and the ocean currents favourable, bonito and kings should be cruising within casting distance at The Skillion and The Haven.
Inside Brisbane Water, there are stacks of good spots to try for bream, flathead, whiting or jewfish and while some may have some crowds or boat traffic, it’s not too hard to find a secluded spot to yourself.
Pretty much anywhere from Erina and Narara creeks, through the Broadwater and down to Woy Woy and Ettalong are worth a shot for bream and flathead at this time of year.
There are decent flats around Fagans Bay, Pelican Island, St Huberts Island and Hardys Bay to try casting surface lures for whiting.
Offshore fishing should pick up now and while the best fishing is still another month or more away, it’s definitely worth putting in some time for kingfish. Most will be small, although still fun to catch.
For a better class of fish the best way to go is with live yakkas, pike, garfish or squid.
While some of the wider grounds may be worth fishing, if the water quality is decent then you shouldn’t have a problem finding kingfish much closer in and there’s generally no need to travel much further than a few kilometres from the ramps at Terrigal or Norah.
Of course, many anglers become anxious about the new marlin season ahead and will have spooled up their reels, serviced motors and checked sea surface temperatures on the internet. Last season was great, so at least it would make you think there’s a chance the new season will at least be reasonable.Reads: 1320