The estuaries have been producing some serious gold if you persist and are prepared to mix it up. Spring can be patchy, but the quality not the quantity continues to cement the reputation of this productive little lake.
The big choppers have been present on a regular basis and it's also fair to say the bream have moved into the shallows. The odd jewie has been lurking and the big dusky flathead have been on the chew big time. Testament to this was the fantastic results from the Basin Lure & Fly Club's annual Catch & Release Flathead Classic run in late October. Congratulations to Peter Hewitt on the biggest flattie for the event which went 5.87kg and 89cm.
While the traditional soft plastic double hop will account for plenty of pan-sized flatties, you really need to take a leaf from the Ian Phillips book of ripping the bejesus out of the lure with a big sharp rip if you are to set the hooks on a big lizard.
Speaking of big lizards, I have to thank Jai Goodwin and his Massey Matias for inviting me to fish with them on a guided tour recently. Demonstrating the effectiveness of soft vibes produced the fattest mother of a PB flattie I have seen to date. The historical record will say 92cm and around 7kg in weight, but the sheer width of this fish was really something else as you can see in the picture hereabouts. Jai compared the head dimensions to a toilet seat.
Further south, many bait anglers still don’t know about the very poor rating that land-locked black bream have on the seafood sustainability list. The blacks generally don't migrate to seas to spawn, and can stay in an estuary their entire lives. With a few lakes in the southern Shoalhaven region now open for the first time since 1998 after the July floods, the humble blacks have become an easier target for land-based bait anglers due to the reduced water levels.
What has been the domain of catch and release lure anglers has changed to bagfuls of big, slow-growing black bream ending up in ice boxes. While not illegal, it would be a shame to lose these unique fish who have been living in a basically freshwater environment for so many years.
Offshore this month, the kings are starting to take up residence around prominent reefs from the Banks to Point Perp. The big winter fish will be outnumbered by the rats and good numbers of 6-10kg fish.
All this depends on the east coast current, but if early indications from the sea surface temperature charts are anything to go by, this summer is shaping up to be a good one following on from one of the best winters of bluefin, then spring run of yellowfin tuna, we have seen in a while.
Another year has come and gone, and high on your Christmas shopping list should be some good quality fishing gear to help you kick some piscatorial goals.
For all round inshore and estuary, I love the diversity of the Bushy Lure Legend Range designed by the man with the big moustache, Kaj ‘Bushy’ Busch and Ian Miller. The SP 792 1-4kg rod paired with a good quality 2500 spin reel with 6-8lb braid will deliver the goods from bream, to reds, flatties, salmon, bonito and rat kings. At 7'9" you'll cast a mile, and at around $125 it won't break the budget.
Whatever you’re after this Christmas, I hope the fat man in the red suit is kind to you.Reads: 1126