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Winter’s a beach
  |  First Published: July 2013



It’s about time the beaches lived up to their potential. While they have been fishing reasonably well, it is the influx of school jew, bream, tailor and salmon that Winter on the beaches is all about.

To date, the salmon have been patchy, to say the least. Sparse schools of fish have entertained anglers but not in the numbers we are used to.

Tailor are averaging 600g to a kilo with the odd fish pushing 2kg. Most are taking blue pilchards on ganged hooks.

There isn’t a lot of formation on the beaches so fish closer to the headlands for best results, otherwise you’ll be targeting only transient fish.

At first and last light, spinning and bait fishing from the rocky ends of the beaches will produce tailor and some school jew on the change of tide.

From early light to the evening, other species include bream, blackfish and, of course my favourite, the drummer or pigs.

Yabbies, cooked prawns, and cunjevoi will cover all three popular species and there is no reason for walking off the rocks without a good mixed bag or feed of your favourites.

Leatherjackets can be targeted from the rocks through Winter. Big seven-spine jackets are just as at home on the ocean rocks as they are in the placid waters of the estuary, so you could always try a lighter line with smaller hooks.

Broken reef areas like those around Blackhead and Burgess Beach are good spots to start.

THE LAKE

The last lot of rain pushed a few more bream out onto the coast and they are very willing to steal baits along the breakwalls. The average size is better than legal (25cm) with some fish topping 1.3kg.

With the colder water in the estuaries, the remaining bream that are clinging to the lake have relocated around the lower oyster racks.

The Paddocks area is fishing well, especially of an evening if you want to brave the cold.

During the day, fishing the racks with plastics will certainly entertain. Casting close to the lease poles and wash boards and letting your lure sink or wash under them is as much as you’ll need to do – the rest is up to the fish.

If you are looking for a relaxing spot to fish with bait, try the eastern side of Wallis Island, where you can anchor and take advantage of the leatherjackets, bream and flathead. The drop-off from the coffee rock edge fishes well and it’s a great spot to take the kids for a bit of fun.

From all reports there are still some reasonable catches of flathead in the lake from the bridge back to The Step and the Wallamba River mouth.

The warmer ocean water that was lingering through Autumn has now been tempered by the recent rain so the flathead will be sneaking back up the rivers soon. The Wallamba is a good spot for chasing Winter flathead and as I always say to people that are convinced flatties are a Summer species, they have to eat year round.

OFFSHORE

The close reefs are serving up some smallish snapper but a good southerly will help push in the bigger fish; that and the cuttlefish and squid spawning.

Teraglin and leatherjackets have been hitting the cleaning tables and everyone is hoping a plague of jackets won’t take over the reefs like they did last year.

Catching a limit of flathead offshore is a little more difficult than it should be but most anglers are returning with a good feed of fish and a mix of species, too.

Just a reminder to anglers fishing the upper tidal area that there is a no-take limit on bass until September so be mindful to return all bass to the water over this period.

If you stumble across a school of obviously roed-up fish, do the right thing and move. It is only fair that we do our part to support and preserve the local bass stocks.

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