Target list starts to grow
  |  First Published: September 2013

Early signs of Spring have anglers itching to wet a line but the effects of Winter still have their hold beneath the water’s surface.

Water temps will take a few more weeks of warm weather to gradually increase, bringing the underwater world to life.

Prawns will flood back into the labyrinth of tributaries on the big tides and one only need see a few trawlers working a particular reach to know they have moved back in, and where to locate the majority of these tasty crustaceans.

Bream, flathead, school Jew, estuary perch and bass won’t be far behind, gorging themselves to gain some condition after low water temps, big migrations and spawning events.

Bass and EPs are back on the wanted list this month. The best bites will be in the tidal water between Wisemans Ferry and Sackville, with soft plastics the go to for those who like to flick lures.

It’s dynamite to cast curl-tail grubs and minnows of 2”-3” rigged on 2g-5g jig heads into the eddies created by the rock walls and weed beds.

Cricket-score catches can be achieved with the right techniques in the right locations but anglers need to be responsible and exercise catch and release.


Bream have started to filter into the river proper and can be found on the abundant rock walls from the rail bridge to Wisemans Ferry.

Soft plastics, deep crankbaits and vibes will all have their day on the walls; it’s just a matter of seeing which is working best for the given tidal and weather conditions when you hit the water.

Don’t discount the washes around the headlands, either, as migrating bream schools will have to pass these areas to access the estuaries.

Soft plastics and crankbaits are the preferred weapons of the lure flickers, while a bread berley and lightly weighted baits of peeled prawn, nipper or white bread folded onto a 1/0 hook will produce some good catches.

Flathead have been in good numbers and size through the cooler months in the lower reaches from Spencer to Broken Bay. They too will follow the bait upstream for a month or so before heading back down to spawn when the conditions are favourable.

Trolling and casting are fun and productive ways to rustle up a feed of flatties. Lures need not be too big for either of these approaches; 2”-4” is perfect and will rarely be refused by a hungry dusky.

If that seems like too much hard work, try drifting the mangrove edges where they drop into deeper water with fresh baits of prawn, whitebait or fish fillet. Use the smallest amount of lead to keep your bait on the bottom and waft naturally for best results.

Lure fishing for school jew has been outstanding and will continue for the next couple of months before live-baiting comes into its own. That’s not to say a livie, fresh strip or fillet bait won’t be eaten this month; it’s just not as productive as covering large areas of water casting lures.

Prawns, herring and poddy mullet imitations will be the standout lures rigged on the lightest jig head you can get away with.


Spring also brings the promise of surface-feeding schools of pelagics.

Large schools of glass bait or ‘eyes’ have already flooded the estuary mouths seeking protection and sustenance. They have lives envied by none as the schools get ravaged en masse by salmon, tailor and bonito.

When these pelagics get focussed on the ‘eyes’, it can pay to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Small metal slices from 3g-15g, 2”-3” soft plastic minnows in translucent colours and, if you have any ability with a fly-tying vice, a 3g-5g jig head with some sparsely tied Sparkle Flash along the hook shank is a standout.

All in all, despite the cooler water at present, the fishing will heat up as the month progresses so don’t delay – get out there and get stuck into some quality fish.

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