In the last issue I talked about May being a preparation month for the season to come and now Winter is officially here, or at least what passes for Winter around Coffs Harbour.
If you’re a bass angler then you probably have only a few days from when you get this magazine to start of the river closed season.
Most bass will be well down into the brackish water and mixing it up with the bream by now.
Bass can be a common catch when chasing bream and trevally in the brackish stretches so if you do catch any from June 1 to August 31, make sure you release the fish as healthy as possible and limit any time out of the water.
The bass are there to spawn, so many anglers decide to leave them alone and not fish where they might catch them.
Trout anglers have only a few weeks to get their last fix before the end of the season. Unlike the Winter ‘no possession’ season for bass, the trout spawning season is completely closed, meaning you cannot fish in any specified trout stream between the June long weekend and the long weekend in October. Check the Fisheries website for details if unsure.
Before the season closes, bright pink or orange lures and flies work very well. The fish should be spending a little more time out in the open, with the temperatures in the sun becoming far more bearable and the water temps well down into the teens.
Offshore, the snapper fishing action will be just about at its peak. The reds should be hanging around broken kelp and gravel beds as well as the prominent pinnacles, especially if they drop onto rubble or gravel beds nearby.
The Dave Irvine Memorial Snapper Classic will be run on the long weekend, which means you’ve only got a couple of weeks to find the top spots and the lures that will do the job.
I always like to use plastics with a lot of moving parts, like the Damiki Monster Miki, but the trusty Gulp Jerk Shad is always a good bet when you’re trying to cover a lot of ground and get noticed.
You shouldn’t have to travel too far for the snapper, either. They should be pushing right into the shallow reefs and even the bases of some of the headlands, which can make them quite a tasty surprise for some rock anglers this time of year.
The warm-water pelagics off the stones and offshore will definitely slow right down this month.
The main targets for rock fishers this time of year will be tailor, mulloway, snapper and kingfish, although luderick and drummer hit their straps for anglers who specifically target them.
All that sitting and waiting for the pelagics to come past is replaced by more active searching tactics for tailor, mulloway and snapper, even if using bait.
A small backpack and a few plastics, metals or a bag of pilchards is all you need.
Try to cover as much of a headland as possible until you find the fish. You may even cover two or three headlands in one session.
Using this mobile attack will certainly lead to fish and there is no shortage of them at present.
There are schools of decent tailor of 2kg and more in the washes off most headlands.
Mulloway are very active around the headlands and the beach gutters. There is no shortage of school jew around 3kg-6kg, with a reasonable number of fish up to 20kg being caught as well.
On the beaches, whole squid is the go-to bait at present. Using circle hooks means that you can let the fish take the bait and swallow it without any pressure while still achieving a hook-up in the corner of the mouth.
Soft plastics are also working well for the schoolies in the gutters, while metal lures are accounting for many tailor up to 4kg.
There are a few locations where hardbodies have been working well, such as Urunga Wall and a few of those headlands with plenty of reef and bommies around them.
There also have been good mulloway around the bridges and other major structure in local estuaries.
If you’re looking for a sure bet this month, try snapper on the inshore reefs, tailor in the washes or mulloway on squid bait in the beach gutters.
If you’re chasing some fun with the kids, there are plenty of mullet at the estuary mouths. Using bread as berley and as bait will give the family plenty of action to pass a sunny Winter’s morning or afternoon.Reads: 916