Fewer tourists, more fish
  |  First Published: February 2014

Now that the holidays are behind us, the boat traffic and lines in the water will decline. However, the fishing will be as good as, if not better than, the previous month. So it really is one of the best times to get out and cast a lure or bait for one of the many species that are active in late summer.

Pelagic fish, ranging from the ever-popular bonito and kingfish close inshore to the striped and black marlin out wide, should now be in full swing. I’ve heard a few promising reports of small blacks moving down the coast, with the main action up on the north coast. By now those same fish will be in our waters or even further down the coast.

Plenty of kingfish and bonito have been active around our headlands and inshore reefs in recent weeks. Most are only smaller fish, but a few bigger ones have been boated off Terrigal and Norah Head. Each year can be a bit different, but I see no reason why this season shouldn’t be a great one. Just make sure your drags are serviced and all knots are tied well. Your gear could be in for a big workout!

As is normally the case, many central coast anglers who are keen on rock fishing will now be concentrating on those bonito and kings, along with whatever else may show up. That could come in the form of anything from mac tuna to cobia. There’s always the odd tailor and salmon feeding around the rocks early in the morning or in the afternoon.

Bream and calamari squid should also be worth a shot from the rocks this month, so a nice seafood smorgasbord could be in the making – or at least some first class bait for kings or mulloway. If the water temps happen to be down a bit, just try your luck on blackfish or possibly a few drummer as these fish still eat at this time of year.

Back inside the estuaries, bream still dominate catches. When time has allowed I have enjoyed some great bream fishing in the lakes. Both topwater lures and Berkley Gulps have done a great job for me, with many of the better bream falling to 3” Gulps slow rolled over shallow flats near weed or rocks. I haven’t been lucky enough to score any real monsters but a number of fish have been over 35cm to the fork which are still great fish.

In the sandier places like The Entrance or some of the Brisbane Water flats, whiting are another reliable fish to chase at the moment. Of course, they are fun to chase with topwater lures, but a nice fresh bait like a bloodworm or pink nipper is pretty much unbeatable on whiting, especially as the tide pushes over the flats.

Some flathead will be around as usual. Again, The Entrance and many different spots around Brisbane Waters are reliable for flatties. A few school-size mulloway and maybe a couple of bigger models are also possible, especially down around The Rip bridge and into Broken Bay. Prawns and blue swimmer crabs are some other tasty treats worth chasing in our estuaries this month.

On the beaches we also have plenty of whiting on offer, and baits like worms, pipis and peeled prawns should do well. Pick a small, washy gutter and try fishing as the tide rises. Some bream, flathead or dart may join in as well.

Later on as the sun sets it’s time for tailor and mulloway. A few jewies have been caught from my closer beaches like Birdie and Budgewoi lately so they should be a chance on other beaches along the southern end of the central coast as well.

February really is a great month for our local fishing, with many different species to choose from. I will mainly be lure casting for bream, flathead and whiting, but others may be keener on the marlin out wide, spinning pelagics from the rocks or casting a bait from the sand.

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