Make the most of your time
  |  First Published: July 2013

Mid-Winter, shorter days and less daylight to fish, so go make the most of it.

Winter fishos must be resourceful and maximise their returns for the time available.

Species like drummer and luderick like to hang around in the cooler months. Both are members of the Girella family of weed eaters but don’t be fooled, both of these fish regularly take other baits and will be enticed by berley.

Berleying the drummer off the rocks is a simple process.

Although I don’t generally like using bread for berley because I think it bloats the fish and makes them lazy feeders, if used in moderation a faint trail of finely mushed bread can bring these fish to the surface, where baits like cunjevoi, peeled prawns or even a piece of bread will entice a strike.

This is one species where maximising your results over a minimal time really works.

Perfect conditions for drummer are when the shadows of the cliff faces creep over the water as the sun fades and the tide rises. You will have a bite time of maybe an hour when the fishing is often intense.

Often other species like trevally, bream, leatherjackets and silver drummer are also possible. The rock platforms around the Blue Pool are a prime place to try this month.

In the estuaries, especially the Bermagui River, the other favourite member of the Girella family, the luderick, is a favourite Winter target.

They congregate around the rock walls, bridge pylons and over weedy flats. Anglers need to fish for only a limited time to secure a nice bag of these succulent table fish.

Baits like green weed or sea cabbage are readily gathered in the Bermagui area and are traditionally under floats, preferably on the last of the run-out tide.

In the cold, clear water you can often see these fish turning on their sides, flashing their white bellies as they graze over the weedy flats.

Here other baits like nippers, squirt worms or small shrimp cast adjacent to the weed beds on ultra-light line will provide lots of fun.


Out at sea, another Winter option is, of course, the reef fishing.

Snapper are on the shortlist and most of the reefs in the area are producing reasonable captures.

Although not noted for large fish, there have been reds up to 4kg in the area.

The usual morwong, perch, wrasse, pigfish and leatherjackets will all feature in the daily catch, too.

Flathead are a bit quiet although out from Tilba or down south off Cuttagee or Murrah are areas where you are more likely to encounter sandies.

There are also some gummy sharks in these areas which, while not prolific, make a welcome catch.

One lovely thing about Winter here is that we have a lot of cool, calm days that allow anglers to go farther afield, out over the continental shelf to use electric reels to retrieve fish from 300m-500m below.

This is food fishing; fish dragged from these depths cannot be released once they blow their bladders. But with species like hapuku, blue-eye trevalla, gemfish, perches, ling and other assorted tasty creatures, who would want to throw them back?

While you are out there, have a shark trace loaded and handy. There might be a mako looking for some of the treats coming up on your lines and we can’t have that.


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