December is an exciting time for many anglers on the North West coast. It’s nearly the end of another good fishing year, the summer species are back in numbers, and chances are you have some time off to fish for them this month!
It is expected that a lot of offshore anglers will be out wide berleying up for an opportunity to tangle with a mako shark, or chasing a feed of flathead and gummy shark. The usual depths of 50m for makos and 25-35m for flathead and gummies should do the trick.
Other shore-based anglers will be throwing metal slices off the rocks and beaches for Australian salmon, or slowly working bright squid jigs for some cracker southern calamari off hotspots such as Red Rock, Doctors Rocks and Rocky Cape.
One thing that does increase in popularity over the summer months is surf fishing. During the day the popular target is Australian salmon off the beaches, with known surf gutters such as Wivenhoe Beach, the Blythe Heads and Sisters Beach. Anglers have had great success with paternoster rigs with blue and pink surf poppers. Bait is recommended to maximise your chances, although fish can and do eat surf poppers without bait. An incoming tide and oily berley can improve your results dramatically.
Surf fishing during the evening can also be a rewarding experience for other species such as gummy shark and elephant fish. Similar beaches with gutters (mentioned above) should be targeted with an incoming tide. I recommend using heavier braided line with heavy-duty paternoster rigs to deal with some of the by-catch and stingrays you may encounter.
The best baits for evening surf fishing are squid heads and fish fillets. A good tip is to use frozen berley logs and bury them 1ft under the sand in a line. That way, as the tide comes in you’ll have a natural, unbroken berley trail.
For the more adventurous boater, a trip to the far northwest coast around Hunter Island and Three Hummocks Island can give you a good chance of tangling with a quality Tasmanian snapper. A good approach here is to use your sounder to find deep drops-offs and schooling fish. Once you find a good spot, drop the anchor and rig up some fresh baits such as squid or fish fillets on a 6/0 suicide hook and wait. There is some good by-catch to be had such as school sharks, gummy sharks, flathead and elephant fish.
Wherever you end up this December, there is no doubt you’ll be in with a good chance of having a bend in your rod!Reads: 1382