March more often seems to signal the height of the Summer action rather than the end.
Although we have technically seen Summer come and go, most of the warm-water species are only just starting to get into the swing of things.
The mackerel have shown up in numbers only over the last month.
Both spotted and Spanish will be frequent encounters this month and will be following the bait schools. They will be patrolling any inshore reef so find the structure, find the bait and you can start trolling.
Shallow-diving hardbodies trolled at medium pace are the easiest way to cover ground. Try doing circuits around the edges of shallow pinnacles coming out of deepish water. Bullocky, Whitmore and Sawtell shoals and the islands are the hot spots for many mackerel anglers.
Further north, Arrawarra Headland provides an excellent beach launch close to inshore mackerel grounds directly east of the point.
The longtail tuna have been just trickling through over the past month but now we should expect to see them harassing bait schools on most inshore reefs and just off the beaches and headlands.
Long, thin hardbodies and metal lures are generally the best way to get right in there among the bust-ups but often the longtails chase quite small baitfish so you will need to adjust your lure size to ‘match the hatch’.
This year has been one of the best inshore black marlin seasons I have witnessed. Every few years there seems to be a good run of small blacks in close but his year it has been epic.
Mostly because of a really large recruitment of small marlin in north Queensland in 2011 and a concentration of bait close to shore, we have been able to watch a cohort of marlin work their way down the coast, getting bigger as they go.
The bulk of the group seems to be a fair way south now, with marlin showing up well inside Sydney Harbour last month. But there are still be above average numbers along our coast so trolling skirted lures around the inshore reefs is still well worth the fuel.
The warm water pushing onto the coast has also produced mahi mahi off Bullocky Reef as well as around the islands and deeper marks. Any floating objects are the best places to work. Troll lures or pitch live bait if you know they are in the area.
Snapper are ever-present around the reefs and kelp beds. Many fish have been caught hanging under the same bait schools that are being harassed by the pelagic predators.
Dropping a soft plastic or a livie under a bait school is your best bet to land a fish and the 2kg-6kg reds that have been regular catches should continue throughout this month.
In the estuaries the whiting have still been hot, especially on the poppers.
They also have been readily taking soft plastics and diving minnows up on the flats during the incoming tide, when they are at their most confident.
Schools of trevally have dominated Bonville Creek but there are still numbers of bream around the seagrass beds and yabby flats.
Any decent snags are proving hang-outs for decent giant trevally and mangrove jacks. The best tactic is to send a lure deep into the snag, where a fish is more confident to hit it. This means more chance of a hook up but also a difficult situation once a fish is on.
Prawn imitations like the Ecooda Live Shrimp or a weedless soft paddletail are the easiest way to cover that deep territory without snagging up before a fish has a chance to strike.
With a few rain events in the past month, the estuaries and river systems have had the flush-out that they needed and it should shake things up in some of the slower systems.
Expect to find the bass in feeding mode, especially on the surface, and with a bit more water in the rivers they might be moving around into areas that have been too shallow during the Summer.
Enjoy the height of Summer fishing, hopefully with the milder temperatures of Autumn.Reads: 1283