I know a lot of anglers love summer and all that it has to offer as far as great weather and some fantastic fishing opportunities, but I cannot get enough of the cooler months! April through to the start of September is what I love best.
If I didn’t take the boat off the trailer for a month in summer I wouldn’t be upset at all, but during the cooler months I cannot be on the water enough. Living on Lake Macquarie and fishing lures the way I do, it’s all about mulloway and big flathead. I love everything about it, I love not getting burnt, I love the lack of crowds on the waterways and I love the fantastic fishing that is on offer.
The lake is starting to switch between seasons. The kingfish have all but moved out and those cracking samsonfish that some lucky anglers were fortunate enough to tangle with, have well and truly gone. The whiting are not taking the surface lures as much and there are not many flathead prowling the flats. Sounds a little doom and gloom doesn’t it really. But it couldn’t be further from the truth!
Flathead are certainly still about and really starting to turn it on. Just remember that with the change in weather a change in tactics is also required. They may not be on the flats like they have been in the last few months but as the water temps cool these flathead will now make their way into deeper waters. The 6-10m mark is a great depth to target quality fish for the next few months.
Lures such as 4-5” paddle-tail styles worked at these depths will produce some good catches. For bait anglers a half hitched pilchard is as good as it gets when it comes to fishing a bait down deep in this cooler weather for a big flatty.
You will also see plenty of mulloway taken as by-catch and those specifically targeting this fish with live baits, such as squid, will reap the rewards. We get quality specimens this time of year to around 15kg while fishing lures. The bait guys fishing livies have nudged over 20kg even in these cooler months.
Bream anglers are also in luck. They too are starting to fire up again and have also moved into deeper waters. It’s time to put the poppers away and those surface lures to work the deeper bays around yacht moorings and similar. Fish blades and slightly heavier weighted soft plastics in the 2-3” range and you will soon find some great schools of solid bream.
Bait fishers are getting their share of quality bream as well. Prawns are proving very effective and a good berley trail is making a world of difference. Not only does the berley attract the schools but it also helps keep the schools hanging around for longer periods of time.
Offshore anglers are in that ‘in between’ season. The hot marlin bites have certainly died off and the other pelagics such as mahi mahi have gone off the chew for another season. However, all is not lost.
Like many species at this time of year, the kingfish have started to venture out a little wider to the deeper, offshore reef systems. Grounds such as the Perch Grounds, Texas Reef and other similar offshore marks are producing well. Deep water jigging is producing some fantastic results. Yes, it is hard work but very rewarding at times.
Those anglers fishing live yakkas down deep are also scoring good numbers of kingfish and there are some solid fish in the mix. There have also been a few nice snapper coming from these same offshore reefs and anglers fishing slab style baits, such as slabs of slimie or yakka and even pilchards, have been getting some nice table fish.
A few marlin remain on the bite and it’s a great time of year to pull some big lures off the wide grounds for a blue marlin. They may not be around in huge numbers like the smaller blacks are in the warmer months, but what they lack in numbers they make up for in power and size.
Rock and beach anglers are getting into a few good fish as well, which is great to see. Anglers spinning metal lures are scoring some nice tailor and there are still some good bonito encountered.
Salmon are not far off now and should start to come on the bite as this article goes to press. They offer many anglers a great sport fishing opportunity and are a good fish to get new anglers into the sport. Just remember to keep safe when fishing any of those rock ledges, or any day on the water for that matter. It’s only a fun day when you get to return home to your loved ones and brag about it right?Reads: 949