Enjoying the species overlap
  |  First Published: April 2014

It’s difficult to know what the weather will do from one to day to the next at this time of the year. Last year the rivers were only just settling down from the flooding they experienced just after the New Year, and then again in the April/May school holidays. While the flush of freshwater is always a good thing long term, the fragmented spits of rain we’ve had lately have done little but wet the ground, so the fish have not yet been driven from the upper reaches of the rivers.

Failing significant autumn rain, water temperatures will eventually drive the bream out of the snags and shoreline structure back into the lower lake where they will prepare to make the coastal run. Until then, I would suggest you make the most of it and berley, bait or lure the bream from their summertime digs. An increasing number of small, but legal, flathead have been appearing up river too, suggesting the water is cooling and triggering their return to the tributaries. The overlap in species can make for interesting fishing and a good mixed bag to take home.

Driving over the bridge always provides plenty of wishful thinking and the weed beds on the western side of Miles (Sandy) Island can often hold big female flathead at this time of year. It is a good early morning lucky dip that draws my imagination every morning as I drive over the bridge. Scooting into the shallows on electric power will often reveal how big and how many fish make this area a resting and ambush spot. The fish are not always there, but the deep water of Tuncurry channel around the bridge, as I mentioned last month, is another spot I’d try for trophy flathead.

Blackfish too are plentiful in the Tuncurry channel with early fish movement along the training and sea walls. Yabby baits of an evening or weed during the first of the run-out and slack water seem to be the best options for reasonable results.

I suspect we will see good numbers of mullet this year, but the Easter start of the mullet run will help determine the pig, luderick and bream run on the coast this winter. It seems the better the mullet run the better the overall rock fishing is. Whether the sheer numbers of mullet help encourage better runs of blackfish and bream I’m not sure, but it’s a good indicator and I have my fingers well and truly crossed.

I have had reports of a few jewfish being caught at the north end of Seven Mile Beach and some early big tailor. All the fish were caught on ganged pilchards so a beach worm approach may see better results from the mulloway and scaling down will produce the last of the whiting, some dart and even silver trevally at this time of year.

The salmon should start to show up in greater numbers but hopefully not in the plague numbers they were a few years back.

My pick for an early pig season rock fish has to be the southern end of One Mile off the rocks around Burgess Beach at high tide. The broken rocks around Burgess are a haven for blackfish and pigs, and snorkelling around the rocks lately I can tell you there are a few pigs up to 2kg and bream hunting the washes already. Cunje is becoming a more popular bait with me again, as the ‘cheap’ cooked imported prawns are selling for up to $25 per kilo. Just 18 months ago I was buying them for $10 per kilo. I guess the Aussie dollar and global economy has caught up with my bait habits. Australian green prawns are the next best option at about $17 per kilo.

There are still heaps of gar in the lake as well as blue swimmers out in the deeper water. The swimmers don’t like too much freshwater, and rain runoff can drive them away from the weedy fringes of shallow water. The mud crabs have slowed a little over the last month but it is worth setting your one pot up close to the mangrove edge or deep hole adjacent to creeks and so on.

I love the transitional period between seasons and I’m hoping for a good one this year.

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