With the water cooling down, the fish have moved into the Cunningham arm and have been schooling in huge numbers.
It’s not uncommon to see crowds of anglers lining up along the jetties chasing the huge schools of blackfish that appear annually. Targeting them with green weed under a float is the way to land huge numbers of these fish. While not huge there have been a few around the 35-38cm mark but most are in the 25-30cm bracket. Try anywhere from 3-4m in depth as the fish tend to move along the jetties as the day progresses.
Mixed in with the luderick have been some good silver trevally, tailor, salmon and yellow eye mullet. Using pilchard pieces under a float is a dynamite way of targeting these species and an easy way to secure a good feed of fresh fish.
The bream have been firing too and while most are small there is the occasional thumper being caught. I recently scored one such fish measuring in at 49cm and weighing in at just over the magic 4lb mark. It was taken on a new Squidgy wild prawn soft plastic on 2lb line and was released after many photos. Anglers targeting bream have done well using unweighted live shrimp and sandworm, while metal vibes and soft plastic grubs have accounted for some very nice fish and also puts you in with a good chance on the silver trevally.
Some nice pinkie snapper have been caught around the footbridge on pilchard and prawn in the deeper holes. Try using bigger baits as there are a few small trevally that tend to rip up softer baits fairly quickly. Soft plastic stick baits are great on snapper too and they hit them hard! Plastics around 75-100mm on a 1/8th up to 1/4oz jigheads work a treat on bream weight gear. Watch for bait schools or fish around the structure.
The North Arm bridge has been fishing well for trevally, mullet, salmon and the occasional whiting on sandworm and pilchard pieces. Garfish have been caught on the tide changes on sandworm under a float. Some have been thumpers and are easy to catch and great on the table! A few good bream have been caught under the bridge on shrimp and spider crab.
Flathead have been slow due to the cold water but fishing with bigger than average soft plastics and live mullet can often produce a huge flatty. The theory behind this is these fish will be conserving their energy (similar to barramundi during the colder months) and by eating 1-2 decent sized fish will save them having to actively hunt their prey .
The surf beaches have been patchy as most of the beaches are extremely shallow with limited numbers of fishable gutters. Lake Tyers and Eastern Beach have been the most consistent. Eastern Beach in particular has several good gutters especially at second car park and on the eastern side of first car park in front of the fence in the dunes.
This gutter has been dynamite for big salmon and the occasional gummy. Red bluff and beacon Point (both at Lake Tyers) have been fishing well for pinkie snapper from around the rocky outcrops on squid and salmon strips. Lots of gear will be lost in the reef but the results can be worthwhile. Breakaway sinkers are a must here and try using smaller hooks to try reduce snagging.
Lake Tyers has been slow with the fish moving back into the deeper parts of the lake with the water temp dropping rapidly. The bream have been schooling in large numbers around the glasshouse and the lower reaches of the Nowa Nowa arm. Blackfellows arm is another good deep-water location. Metal vibes, heavily-weighted soft plastics and peeled prawn have been the best.
A few flathead have been caught along with luderick and tailor. Trolling metal lures has been good for big tailor and salmon in the lower reaches. Garfish have been caught up around Nowa Nowa but the water level is extremely low and launching boats here has been very risky with the amount of rocks, snags and shallow sand bars that have damaged their fair share of outboards.
Offshore has been fishing well on the reef systems for pinkie snapper. The gummies have gone quiet as have the flathead and the shallow areas have been taken over by those nasty bull eye gurnard and while they taste good if cleaned correctly they are a nightmare to handle and will inflict a painful spike if your unlucky.
The 6-mile reef has been the pick of the bunch and most the pinkies have been between 30-45cm; perfect size for the BBQ. Pilchard, squid and barracouta are all great baits for snapper. There have been a few morwong, nannygai and leatherjacket in the mix too.
The author’s cracking 49cm bream taken on a soft plastic.Reads: 1617