May is one of those amazing months that host a transition from one season to another, with a change of species and an incredible mass of spawning fish along the coastal fringe.
The mullet run is well under way with the flooding in March causing some fish to move early and a disruption to the usual mass exodus we normally see through the Easter and school holiday period.
Bream and blackfish, which generally accompany the mullet, have been sneaking out under the cover of darkness on the run-out tide and big schools can be spotted in areas like the Tuncurry rock pool.
Blackfish have been lining the breakwall and will eventually gather along the rocks for spawning.
The bream and blackfish schools search the washes for food and the increased numbers make catching them very easy. There is nothing like competition for food to make big fish throw caution to the wind and get involved.
Low light periods are the best times to make the most of the bite, with evening potholing for the blackfish being my pick for targeting the big bronzies.
Without doubt the best bait for an evening session on the blackfish has to be yabbies, with cooked prawns a close second. The by-catch at night can range from the unwanted wirrah, kelpies and green eels to big bream and rock blackfish (pigs), so the effort can be very rewarding.
Spinning from the rocks at spots like Bennetts Head, the northern end of One Mile and even the ends of the breakwalls will produce a variety of fish.
Smallish tailor, bonito and the odd mack tuna are the most likely targets with kingfish a real chance, too. I have had a few reports of kingfish in the lake area, under the bridge and up Breckenridge Chanel and some have been of the legal 65cm.
The fishing along the breakwall has been pretty much hit and miss. One night it is a smorgasbord of species and the next night, nothing.
One angler reported he caught and released 11 small mulloway using yabbies for bream and blackfish – and the next night caught nothing.
The jew are there and with a steady stream of baitfish moving in and out of the lake, it isn’t hard to catch livies but a different approach may prove more successful.
A big bunch of beach worms is pretty much irresistible to jewfish and a live or fresh bottle squid is also worth a go.
The worms need only to be rigged with a running ball sinker above a metre of so of 20kg leader and a 4/0 to 6/0 hook. Just remember not to smother the point of the hook with worm.
Many of the school jew move into the lake and rivers of an evening and spend their days in the deep holes or the shade of deep oyster leases but they can be lured out with bait or soft plastics, so have some heavier gear on hand.
The flooding has caused the bream to shift in the rivers and concentrations of fish can be found around the leases at the mouth of the Wallamba River right through to the bridge.
Some bream will move out to sea over the next month or so but it is worth a fish for the stragglers before they do.
The flathead that have been caught around the flats have been plentiful and sizeable, with many reports of bag limits of 10 reached after only a few hours.
Ohmas Bay has been a popular spot for small boats, with the shallow flats producing good flathead and some stud whiting.
If you are looking for some big whiting for a feed there is probably no better place than around the bridge of an evening with yabbies or beach worms. Fish of 780g or around 40cm are in the mix, along with plenty of legal (25cm) bream.
The bream and the whiting have been loving 3” pumpkinseed Gulp Minnows fished on 1/8oz jig heads so while your bait is soaking, it may pay to cast and drift a soft plastic past the pylons.
The fishing from the beach has been patchy but good when you stumble on the fish. Jew on live beach worms are my pick though there are plenty of chopper tailor passing by and holding in the gutters.
One thing that is missing so far this year is the plague of salmon that I would have expected. A few fish have been reported but nothing like the numbers we have seen in the past years.
I am looking forward to the Winter season and provided we don’t get any more flooding rain, I think it will be a cracker with heaps of pigs bream and blackfish from the rocks.
Floods tend to rejuvenate the fish cycles and flush the system but we have had our fair share right along the coast this year. I just hope it all goes to plan.Reads: 855