January is usually pretty busy in Iluka, as it’s smack bang in the middle of the holidays. With the increase in recreational boat traffic through the day, early starts have been essential to get some peace and quiet at your favourite shallow water spot. But February should see things calm down somewhat.
There has been plenty of quality eating flatties, with most people throwing around any soft plastics that have a bit of white or yellow in it or a blade. The machete blades have been working a treat of late with their shiny chrome flashy finish, triggering very aggressive takes.
If bait is more your style, drifting the weed beds with sandy drop-offs in places like, the North Arm, Goodwood Island and Oyster Channel using white bait with a set of small gang hooks will still see you get among a few flatties.
These same spots can also be great spots to chase a couple of whiting with fresh yabbies or live worms.
The beach fishing will start to heat up at this time of year. The main summer species running along our beaches are whiting, dart, tarwhine and flathead. One of my favourite things to do is go for a quick drive up the beach with the plastic rod and hit a few gutters chasing some flatties, it is such a nice easy way to pass a sunny afternoon away. The key is to keep moving, don't just stay in one gutter and flog it to death, work it over and move on to the next one, hunt out the fish don't just sit there and hope the fish will find you.
The same applies to bait fishing. So many times I have talked to people back at the cleaning table that didn't do that great. I ask where they fished and they sat in the same gutter for three hours and caught hardly anything. If you’re not getting fish, move and find them.
On the rocks there have been some good size tarwhine and bream on cunje and pipis. There have still been quite a few school mulloway around with baits like strip squid and beach worms doing very well. If you’re looking for a bit more size hardbody lures like the locally made Croaker Lures, Jewie Jewels in colour shadow have been doing better than most of late in pulling a bit better quality fish.
Up in the hills, the bass should be firing, with early morning and late afternoon best for surface bites. In the morning, work your lure a bit slower to see more bites, as the water hasn't warmed up yet until the sun comes up. You will have to put in better casts closer to the structure with a sub-surface offering, like a spinnerbait or diving lure, to draw bites.
This summer hasn't been as wet as the last four or so past summers.Reads: 1144