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Face June with a smile
  |  First Published: June 2014



Not a lot of anglers face up to June with a smile. June is cold, windy and for the most part pretty miserable – and it doesn’t get much better for many weeks. However, those dedicated jewie anglers know that on the big evening tides this month the trophy fish will be working their way along the beaches in hunting mode.

Fish 25kg and better will be the target, and you won’t hear much about the captures as they are usually kept ‘hush hush’. That’s unless a lucky once-a-year angler scores one and tells everybody where and how. This usually attracts a crowd to the beach for a week or so before the cold chases them home again and the die-hards get back to quietly plying their trade.

Most beaches with a good gutter are worth a throw when these big tides are about, with some better than others, but that is the art of big fish. You have to be out there regularly to find the ones that will be producing consistently that season. Good starting points are Bombo in the south, Windang, Coniston and north ‘Gong on the northern side of Puckeys. Corrimal, Thirroul and Stanwell Park are all good for a look in the north, but any beach with a good deep gutter is worth a throw.

If we get some heavy rain and the creeks break through the beach and run to sea, bringing all the good things creeks have into the surf, that’s another good place to try. It may not be as good as it could be this month because we had them all empty in March /April but it is always worth a look when this happens.

Fresh bait is always best and it can be hard to get this month. However, you can usually get your hands on some blackfish and mulloway love it – so if squid, mackerel and yellowtail are hard to get, try the blackfish. You could get a surprise.

Bream are on the move this month along the beaches as well. They can give your jewie baits a bit of a hiding so take a light outfit with you to grab a feed of bream, because we all know you will not get big jewies every trip. You might as well make the most of the bream while they are there, and some of them are very good fish of over a kilo that go alright on light gear.

Salmon are also thick, but when aren’t they these days! They are fun to catch and aren’t too bad on the chew if you prepare them in the right way.

Some good tailor are also about and they make excellent mulloway baits too, either alive or slabbed. Some are pretty big with the odd fish getting up to 3kg. As the saying goes, big live baits produce big fish and a 3kg tailor is easy pickings for a 20kg jew. You don’t have to cast it out either, you just let it swim about in the gutter and if there is a big mulloway around it will find it.

If it doesn’t get eaten, nothing is lost because you can let it go or take it home for breakfast.

If you are really keen and have a masochistic streak, you could get some beach worms and chase whiting. It’s not really the season and they are very hard to find, but there is the odd school about and when you do find them they are real trophy fish. It’s something to think about for those anglers with a bit of time on their hands. You will get a few salmon and bream on the worms to occupy you between whiting.

OFF THE ROCKS

As the water gets cold and rough the drummer come out to play, because these are the conditions they were made for. Kiama, Bass Point and Bellambi are good spots to start but just about every point and headland will have drummer at this time and they don’t need deep water as they will be in the rough foamy stuff with a bit of cover about. A bobby cork will minimise snags when fishing the rough stuff and indicate bites, so it is a good way to fish.

Bream will be about too, particularly in the sheltered bays and inlets after a bit of a blow, as will the odd snapper towards the end of the month. Throw in a bit of bread and tuna oil berley and you could get a few trevally interested as well.

The deeper ledges will have a snapper or two hanging about along with more drummer. A groper might also be on the cards on a windy westerly morning when the sea is calm if you can get a few crabs.

More salmon will be patrolling the deeper ledges too so a ganged pilchard cast and slowly retrieved will do the trick. A lazy pillie under a bobby cork will get them too.

ESTUARIES

In the estuaries it is a bit quiet except for a few bream in the lake on the eastern weed beds or in the deeper holes around the bridge at night. Minnamurra is much the same with a few stray trevally making an appearance to keep you on your toes.

OFFSHORE

Offshore the end of the month will herald the return of the snapper and cuttlefish, but just the early ones before they really get going next month. You can drop the pick over your chosen reef and berley or drift around working soft plastics over bait schools, as seems to be the norm these days.

A lot of smaller fish seem to be caught this month before the bigger ones arrive in July. Any big fish taken this month will usually be in the deeper water out over 30m before they start to move in on the cuttlefish.

Trevally are also on the rise as the water cools, and they don’t mind a bit of berley either so you will probably get more trevally than snapper in the trail on most days. They are great fun on light gear and they come right up to the back of the boat so you can watch them take the bait.

Further offshore there have been reports of a few yellowfin tuna on but they are very patchy so far, with schoolies up to 30kg moving along the shelf taking small trolled skirts. With a bit of luck it will be like last season with large schools of ‘fin to 80kg all along the coast in 100 plus fathoms. Almost like the good old days.

Albacore shouldn’t be too far away but as always they are at the whims of the currents, just like the bluefin. Will the schools move up the coast this year producing massive fish over the 100kg mark? Let’s hope so, but remember the weather can turn foul very quickly and it is a long way home in a small boat.

Closer in there are heaps of salmon around the islands and the deeper headlands taking whole pilchards on ganged hooks cast into the washes and slowly retrieved. A few nice tailor are around too, and the bream will be there picking your pillies to bits. Small cubes of pillie will bring them undone.

The odd king might get into the action as well but it will only be a stray, as they have been quiet of late.

Pillies cast into the wash catch all number of fish, with odd ones like the once-common black cod being one of these. Being a protected species they must be returned to the water unharmed but they seem to be making a recovery as I caught another one recently. They grow to 50kg+ but the ones I have caught were only in the 5kg range. An interesting bycatch just the same.

The bottom bouncers will do it a bit tough over the coming weeks as the flatties shut down with the arrival of the cooler water, but there should be a few around in the early weeks mixed with those demonic leatherjackets that seem to like cutting you off rather than eating the bait.

The bonus of the cooler water is there will be a few nice small to medium snapper around the gravel and reefs along with a few mowies and some smaller samsonfish, so all is not lost.

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