May is preparation month, for anglers and fish – preparation for events to come, preparation for journeys long and short and preparations for the coming Winter.
For a bass angler, May is preparation for the season’s end in June and this is the last chance to get your fix before the three-month closure.
It’s been a very mixed up bass season with a severe lack of water during the first half and an overwhelming amount of it in the second.
Recently, though, the fishing has been very good high up in the catchments and this month it should get even better.
Most of the adult bass are starting their journey from the upper tributaries down to the brackish reaches, ready to spawn. The fish need plenty of energy for spawning so we can expect them to be feeding enthusiastically in preparation.
Unfortunately they can be hard to track down so it may take a few reconnaissance trips to work out how far up or down the river they are.
Trout anglers will be preparing for the season closure at the end of the month.
Again, the season has been hard on anglers and fish. Early in the season the lack of water and hot weather took their toll in the shallower and lower streams.
Then anglers struggled to find a break in the weather and flooding to drift a fly or throw a lure.
The past couple of months have been better, and with the air and water cooling, the fish have been far more willing to venture into open water away from their deep holes and undercuts.
Trout preparing for spawning should eagerly take a well-placed lure or fly.
The bigger streams high up on the range have been the least affected by the heat so they offer your best chance of good numbers and size.
Offshore anglers this month will be preparing for their last shot at some of the Summer pelagics. Mackerel, longtail tuna, yellowfin and mahi mahi are all potentially caught through June and July but from this month onward will become less likely.
Trolling shallow-diving bibbed lures or live baits around the inshore reefs should produce mackerel, tuna, bonito, kingfish and cobia.
The snapper should really fire up on the inshore reefs this month. Soft plastics are the best way of thoroughly covering ground and finding those bigger fish, as long as you can find the bait and structure on the sounder first.
If it’s all a bit sparse on the sounder then setting up a berley trail and a couple of ‘floater’ pillies is always a sure-fire way to attract them to the hook. This technique is also very likely to land you a few pelagics as well.
This month snapper fishers will be in full preparation for the upcoming Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Classic June 8-9. This tournament is bigger and better every year and is well known as one of the most enjoyable fishing tournaments for the offshore angler.
The aim of the competition is to promote sustainable fishing and so it is a capture, photograph and release snapper tournament for lures only and fish-friendly nets.
There are thousands of dollars in prizes drawn among all entrants at the presentation, with the top spots in each division competing for trophies only.
The tournament is open to boat teams and kayakers and there are heaps of activities for participants and their non-competing families.
You can keep track of competition news at facebook.com/daveirvinememorialsnapperclassic.
Toby Piddocke is another man in preparation mode, for his PhD thesis. I mentioned in the October issue Toby’s work with acoustic tags and fish frames and you might be interested that some of the tagged fish left the estuaries during the recent floods but there are still good numbers active in the upper reaches of local rivers.
Toby is also beginning another phase of data collection which involves surveying anglers about their mangrove jack fishing. If you’ve ever fished for jacks in NSW, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FYFL3KL and fill in the survey. It takes only five minutes and you can share your views on how this iconic sports fishing species should be managed in NSW.
No matter what you get up to this May I hope that you all have a great preparation for the coming Winter.Reads: 715