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Hot prospects in warmer water
  |  First Published: October 2013



The warming trend that started last month will continue and intensify somewhat this month with a gradual rise in water temperature.

This should fire up the fish even more, with a rapid increase in the activity of Summer species.

Fish like tailor and luderick should start to make way for whiting and flathead, with the odd trevally and surface-feeding bream also making their presence felt.

The afternoon sessions, especially when the northerly blows up, can be the pick of the times to fish.

These warmer afternoons create a rise in the water temperatures in the river which will fire up the predatory fish like mangrove jacks and trevally.

The best possible time to get onto a early season red devil would be to coincide the last of a reasonably sized run-out tide with a setting sun.

Live bait is always a deadly method of catching these fish but my method of choice is casting and retrieving. Hardbodies are great but the smaller trebles on some of the lures can let you down on a big fish while trying to wrestle it from cover.

A soft plastic rigged on a 3/8oz or 1/2oz jig head gives you more pulling power and all you need to worry about is making sure that the fish does not get you back into the cover.

Z-Man Swimmerz, 5” Castaic paddletails or Squidgy Fish are all good plastics to use; as long as they have a realistic swimming action they will produce.

The key is putting the lure in the right place and as tight to the rough stuff as possible.

The 5” Castaics are really good for this because they skip quite well when cast with a low rod angle. And after a bit of practice you can skip them under overhanging branches or between boats or jetties.

All of these types of structure can hold jacks at some time or another and getting your lure in front of one is really just a case of hitting a few different spots until you hopefully run your lure past one’s nose.

When the bite comes, it is usually a brutal hit and whether you land the fish will ultimately depend on what you do in the first few seconds of the fight. The word ‘fight’ is probably an incorrect analogy, because it is more like a wrestling brawl that lasts only a few seconds.

If you are successful the jack should be rolling next to the boat or shoreline shortly after the bite; if not, then you will be tying on another lure.

FLATHEAD

Flathead will fire up this month in the lower reaches of the Tweed, with some really large specimens on the cards.

If you want to catch a big flathead, this is the time to do it.

Large plastics vertically jigged around the rock walls and rock bars are quite effective but please remember, these large fish will be females so handle them with care.

We release all the large flathead that we catch to give them the best possible chance of not only surviving, but breeding again.

We take them out of the water only briefly for a photo and then by supporting their body weight carefully. If you’re taking more than a couple of pictures, put the fish back in your soft landing net and revive it in the water before taking a few more pics.

And spend the time to swim the fish up and down to revive it before release.

OFFSHORE

The offshore grounds can be a bit hit and miss in October but when you get it right, the potential for top-notch fishing is there.

The one good thing about this time of year is that you still have reasonable bottom fishing on the inshore reefs as well as out deeper. But you also stand the chance of catching a few pelagic fish on the troll.

Yellowfin tuna are often viable targets in October, especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

Boat pressure plays a big role in how actively these fish feed on our inshore reefs.

We have been out trolling some mornings in great conditions, meaning plenty of other boaters are trolling around, and the result is little or no action. Once the majority of the boats thinned out, the fish came on the bite.

On many of my charters off the Tweed some of the best trolling action that I experienced was around the middle of the day with not a boat in sight.

However, I would definitely rather be trolling at first light with minimal boat traffic!

The wider troll grounds will also show great promise this month, with blue marlin the main targets.

The Tweed Canyon is the prime hot spot for these fish locally but don’t think that it is the only spot to get them. We caught a good number of these amazing sportfish between the canyons and the 50-fathom line last year and expect to do the same again this year.

A good example of these fish’s opportunistic hunting capabilities was a recent fish that Deon Nourse caught out of his tinny. The blue marlin of around 120kg was an exceptional capture on a 4500 Daiwa Saltist spin reel and G Loomis Pro Blue spin rod using 40lb braid.

The fish unfortunately succumbed in the fight and Deon found that its gut was chock-full of leatherjackets.

Who would have thought that a fish like that would gorge itself on leatherjackets and then still come up and eat a pusher?

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