It’s been a funny few months leading up the Autumn changeover. Rain, floods, massive seas and odd catches in the lake have all lent an uncertainty to the coming month’s fishing.
In February there was, apparently, a 10kg barramundi netted in Wallis Lake and an influx of kingfish around the oyster racks. Speculation about the presence of a barra that big in the lake is rife.
A hot run of small black marlin and acres of bonito offshore kept the sea anglers happy, while some made a fist of the 7kg-10kg jewfish that are still holding on the breakwalls.
We need to remember the limit is two fish per person over 70cm and ethics should prevent people keeping six or more fish over the course of the day.
There has been something for everyone in the lead up to and I’ve had few complaints about catching nothing.
Despite a fair lump of a flood in late February, the good news is that everything should be still rolling along pretty well by the time you read this.
Stud whiting have been reported along the beaches and the tailor and salmon are back on in numbers.
Big bream are already haunting the washes but are also still smashing surface lures and baits around the leases and flats about the lower sections of the lake.
Flathead did not disappoint over Summer with visiting anglers emailing me about what a wonderful time they had on the flatties. Breckenridge Channel has been a popular spot and the bonus is that Gloria Jean’s opens at 6.30am, so a quick coffee from the boardwalk pontoon is a must – for me, anyway!
The weedy area in front of the pontoon and up to the Amaroo mooring is a great spot to find a few live squid or pike for bait and with a bit of bread berley, mullet and gar will be on the spot, too.
Big sand whiting have been haunting the sand bank drop-offs and the same fish are moving into the lights of the bridge at night, especially during the dark of the moon.
The bridge on the Tuncurry side has been a source of live bait for the jewfish hunters that fish along the breakwalls. The herring, pike and yellowtail can be a bit finicky but there often are bait schools scattered along the walls, including a few slim mackerel.
The current line at the end of the walls during a run-out tide attracts bait so if you are struggling to collect livies, try there.
The bottom of the tide has been very productive for breakwall fishing and big bream are pretty common on live herring.
Anglers using mullet strips and cooked prawns along the walls have been enjoying some XL bream. I watched one guy fish for bream in between tending his live-bait rig and he bagged four good-sized bream in 15 minutes.
The wild weather we experience this time of the year ends up being great for rock fishing. It’s not that safe while it’s happening unless you have a safe ‘go-to’ spot in the rough, but after the event things really get cracking.
The rough stirs up the pigs and bream and draws tailor and salmon closer to shore. The big seas have a way of changing beaches and rock spots, scouring out sand and ripping up food like cunjevoi, worms, weed and crabs.
Immediately after the big seas the fishing can be red-hot so keep the gear handy and ready. It seems the bad weather is happening every few weeks.
Pigs, bream, tailor and salmon are the most common species encountered from the stones this month, with silver trevally and mack tuna providing even more variety to mixed bags.
For the more serious high-speed spin and live-bait anglers, the longtail tuna should be lurking beyond the washes off the headlands.
Charlottes Head, Cape Hawke, Flat Rock and even Bennetts Head are the prime spots and the easiest to fish but I have seen fish caught from the rocks at Janies Corner, too.
With the longtails is a mix of bait-stealing mack tuna, salmon and cobia, though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a small black marlin or two smashing baits.
For those that have timed their runs between the heavy seas and high winds, half-decent snapper, pearl perch and flathead have been worth it.
A few mahi mahi are around and the bonito, when you find them, are thick.
If you are inclined, the small black marlin might still not be far from shore and it is probably one of the best years to go get one if you have a dream or a mind to do so.Reads: 1025