Gummies steal the show
  |  First Published: December 2013

It’s that time of year when every man and his dog heads offshore in search of some of the finest eating fish the area has to offer.

Those anglers heading out wide to the reef systems are doing very well on school sized pinkie snapper to about 2kg. The odd bigger fish is being taken on larger baits like coota heads and live slimy mackerel fished just off the bottom.

Along with the snapper are good numbers of nannygai, morwong, leatherjackets and coral perch, as well as the less desirable species like coota, gurnard and wrasse. The benefit of coota though is they make brilliant bait, especially for the larger snapper. Use your sounder to identify patches of reef and schools of snapper, and look for bait schools. The predators won’t be far behind.

In close to the beaches, the gummies have been absolutely firing with most boats bagging out each trip. While most gummies are around 3-4ft long, there’s potential for a few monsters to be taken. Good numbers of 7-gillers are being taken too, mostly on whole fish baits on wire fished on the bottom.

Anchoring and berleying is the best way to target the gummies. Any depth from 9-25m can be productive, and again watch the sounder for any small patches of reef or drop-offs that would hold fish. It’s a good idea to have a big bait under a balloon too, as the big bronze whalers and hammerheads should be starting to appear and will have no trouble picking up the scent of a good berley trail.

Good baits for the gummies are pilchards, squid legs, coota, slimy mackerel and cured eel. The hot spots lately have been directly in front of the Lake Tyers entrance, Pettemans Beach, and down to the west in front of the tower and the Pipeline. It’s a fair run down to the tower, but your chance of nailing a thumper snapper (as often happened last season) while in close chasing gummies is high.

Surf fishing has started to pick up down to the west, and it won’t be long until our local beaches start to fire. On those warm, still evenings the beaches become fairly busy as anglers chase gummies and big salmon. Those keen enough to paddle baits mainly spend the daylight hours chasing bronzies, so be aware of these people having multiple lines out a long way. There’s nothing worse than snagging up other people’s lines.

Spinning the beaches is always fun and will see you land lots of salmon and tailor. Hopefully a good run of big salmon will pass through in December and January.

The estuary has been a little slow but the water has cleared up. Some nice flatties have been taken on soft plastics and live prawns around the post office jetty and under the highway bridge. Early morning and late afternoon are always best for the bigger flatties, as heavy boat traffic can shut them down at times.

Around Kalimna and Barrier Landing some nice whiting have made an appearance and are taking mussels and shrimp. Collecting your own bait is easy and is always better. It only takes a few minutes to collect what you need.

Plenty of small salmon and trevally have been caught over the weed beds opposite Kalimna on soft plastics on the run-in tide. Small baitfish and shrimp patterns are best here, fished on a 1/8oz jighead and light leader.

Towards Metung there have been some nice flathead and pinkie snapper caught drifting with bluebait and prawns, and a few nice bream have been caught along the rock walls on crab baits.

The Kalimna rock wall has started fishing well for luderick on green weed. If you’re after a thumper luderick, now is the time do to it. They average about 3lb, with many each year taken well over 5lb, and they’re absolute freight trains when the tide is running hard. While luderick will take baits of shrimp and sandworm, most are caught by float fishing with green weed. It really is an art form and the guys who specialise in this style of fishing make it look easy.

Lake Tyers has been firing, with flathead and bream making up the majority of anglers’ bags. Most are targeting the shallow banks and sand flats as the fish are up and actively feeding in less than 2m of water. It’s a great time to start throwing hardbodies and even surface lures, especially if baitfish and small prawns can be seen flicking on the surface.

Live prawns, shrimp and sandworms are gun baits for the bream, while flatties have been taken on prawns and bluebait. Areas around the Glasshouse, Blackfellows Arm, the Trident and Mill Point are all fishing well, and again early morning and late afternoon are prime times.

So far the run of prawns has been mostly school sized up to about 3”, but they have been thick! It won’t be long until the big king prawns start showing up, and they are great fun to catch! Simply by walking around at night with a torch and dip net can provide hours of entertainment. It’s also great for kids to see some of the creatures that come out at night, with small leatherjackets, seahorses, eels and small squid hanging around the lights.

Stay safe on the water and have a great summer! 

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