Summer has well and truly arrived. But did we even have a winter on the Tweed?
The odd cool morning with water temperatures only just dipping under 20°C was about it.
All we can do now is hope for a mild summer to complement the mild winter and it will be all good.
Considering that clement winter, we may just see some of the summer species kick in to action a bit earlier than previous years.
A good tip is to keep an eye on the sea temperature websites and when you notice a line of hot water being pushed in to the coast, grab the trolling gear and head out there.
These early season bursts of hot water don’t usually last very long but the fish can turn it right on. If you are in the right place at the right time, you can load up.
I remember a couple of years ago heading down to Palm Beach Reef early in the season. There was only our boat and one other on the reef and every live bait we put in the water was eaten by a spotted mackerel.
The fish were smashing the surface all around the boat and we eventually left with our bag limit. It was unbelievable.
The northerly blew up by the afternoon and started to cool the water and shut down the fish by the next day.
Everyone had heard about the action by this stage and the place was full of boats on the weekend, but very few fish were caught.
That was in October and not many people were really expecting the fish to be there yet.
It really pays to keep an eye on the conditions and you can get lucky like we did.
November is usually the first of the dedicated summer months. The water temp is fairly consistent by this time.
The river is warm, the weather is hot and the fishing can be quite good – if the rain stays away.
The past few years have been pretty good up to around Christmas and then the heavens have opened.
It can be a bit of a lottery as to what is going to happen this year, with some forecasting heavy rain and others tipping a dry summer.
I don’t think any of the weather pros can say for sure what is going to happen, so let’s all hope for the best.
I am looking forward to a good summer with plenty of time dedicated to fishing.
The Tweed can be a top place for summer species, like mangrove jacks, trevally, bream, flathead and whiting.
The key to catching these fish consistently is to focus on one species and then specifically target it.
If you were heading out to chase a few whiting, then look at using light spin rods and focus your attention on the shallower sand flats reasonably close to productive yabby banks.
Baits like worms, yabbies and even casting poppers will be the techniques.
Light lines and small hooks will also increase your chances.
At the other end of the scale, this technique and tackle would not really be effective if targeting mangrove jacks. You need to upgrade the tackle to a heavier rod/reel combo with heavier line or leader material, larger hooks and, to a degree, larger bait or lures.
Jacks also generally frequent slightly different areas from whiting so you would need to look for them in deeper water that has sufficient structure.
These same areas are also frequented by a host of other species, like bream and flathead, so the upgrade in lure or bait size will help you to focus on getting more bites from jacks.
The offshore options will be starting to lean more towards the pelagic species.
You can expect the current to play a major role in what you can fish for over the next few months.
A raging current makes fishing the bottom quite hard and thus can limit you to trolling, while less current will open your options a lot more.
There should be a few mackerel showing up, but this will depend on the water temperature and availability of baitfish.
Yellowfin tuna around the Nine Mile and the Mud Hole, as well as blue marlin out on the wider grounds, will be the main options for the guys heading out for a troll.