For those who like to chase quality fish, perhaps at the expense of missing out altogether, September is the month.
Many of the bream that started their spawning run earlier in the year are continuing to return into Wallis Lake, along with a rush of baitfish.
The bream are scattered throughout the lake, from Pacific Palms to Coomba Park, but by far the biggest concentration of them is in the racks in the lower part of the estuary.
Heaps of cranky, big bream are hiding in and around the oyster leases and the challenge is how to pull them out.
It really doesn’t matter whether you are an avid lure angler or someone who just likes to soak a bait and relax from an anchored boat, there are plenty of fish hidden away within the boundaries of the leases to keep you entertained.
There are plenty of fish upwards of 1.2kg but when you’re fishing tight to the racks, the fish often just shred your leader.
Grub and crab-style soft plastics work very well around the racks and 1/16oz-1/6oz jig heads are enough to reach the bottom.
If you prefer to drift a bait in the rack zone, a strip of chicken thigh, a yabby, worm or prawn will work.
But for a better chance at those larger fish, it would be best to make your assault in the morning or evening.
There have been reports of some nice flathead being taken at the mouth of the Wallamba River and up the Coolongolook River with fish around 50cm relatively common. The flatties look really dark when they’ve been in the rivers but don’t let that stop you from taking a feed of fish – they’re delicious.
The breakwalls are still fishing well for blackfish on the run-out tide, although finding quality weed is difficult. Many anglers are picking weed from rock pools on the headlands and then keeping it cool to preserve it over a few fishing sessions.
There will be some good-sized bream hanging along the walls as the trickle of fish spent on the spawn keeps entering the lake, so don’t get disheartened with the heap of small fish around. Just fish a little deeper and wider of the breakwall, with the ideal time being on slow or slack tide.
The evening run-out tide is a great time to collect a mixed bag of fish and the secret is to use yabbies.
For some reason school jew, blackfish and bream all love the nippers and fishing these soft crustaceans along the wall and around moored boats in the Tuncurry Channel will be worthwhile. A small ball sinker and a 1/0 hook that allows the bait to drift, rather than anchor, and you are in business.
Tailor on beaches like Seven Mile have been pretty good, with fish over a kilo turning up.
With more formations and gutters developing on the beaches, we can expect better fishing for tailor, salmon and Jew from the sand.
Early mornings may still be too cold for some, but for those braving the conditions the rewards are definitely still there. Spots to check out include Diamond Beach, Janies Corner and odd spots along Seven Mile Beach.
Rock fishing for pigs should be at its best this month, with September also my favourite for big bream, pigs, tailor and jew.
To date the salmon numbers have been well down on the previous two years and that isn’t a bad thing. What people forget when there are acres of salmon coming up the coast is that they are eating everything, effectively depriving other fish of a feed.
Beaches can be denuded of life when the salmon schools sweep through. So I for one am not overly concerned that they have not turned up in numbers.
Offshore, the leatherjacket schools are thinning so snapper, pearl perch and flathead are more of a chance than during the past few months.
The biggest problem is finding a weekend day that has weather and sea conditions that allow you to get out off the coast.
Trolling to your chosen spot will produce tailor and big bonito with the chance of a rat kingfish, too.
In summary, big bream in the racks and tailor from the beaches and rocks make for some prime fishing this month, but my pick is the pigs.Reads: 2206