Tailor prowling the lakes
  |  First Published: July 2014

Water temperatures are dropping way down, and this means tough times ahead of us. Already it’s plain to see that the lakes and Brisbane Waters are much quieter than they were only a few weeks ago. On the other hand, blackfish are about in decent numbers and some nice tailor and salmon have also been prowling around the lakes, smashing bait on the surface of a morning.

Salmon entering our estuaries are not everyone’s favourite fish, but when you’re casting lures around for bream and things are pretty dead it’s hard not to get excited when line starts peeling off and a solid fish begins jumping with your lure in its mouth. A big sambo can take a while to subdue on light bream gear and on some days this may be the best or biggest thing you will encounter.

The tailor aren’t normally that big, but the choppers around 40-45cm can still be great fun to catch, and I for one certainly enjoy eating them as well. You will mainly find the better size tailor in Broken Bay, up to The Rip or parts of Lake Macquarie but some good tailor can be common through the channel at The Entrance and around the bridge there at night, too.

Winter isn’t normally the time when we think of chasing flathead, but they’re usually not hard to find through the cooler months. The best bet is to fish the deeper areas where baitfish or squid may also be present, rather than the shallower flats which are best left for warmer times.

A slow and methodical approach is required, so this means picking out a general area where you think the flathead will be and then going over it very thoroughly with soft plastics, vibes or natural baits. These offerings need to be slowly bounced along the bottom until eventually you get a bite. Even good natural baits like strips of fish flesh or a small whole pilchard will be more appealing to a flathead if they are moved along the bottom rather than just left to sit in the one spot. Brisbane Waters has plenty in the way of deeper channels, especially in the lower end of the system, where flathead should be found over the coming weeks.

Speaking of Brisbane Waters, a few mulloway have also been caught throughout this estuary over the past six weeks. This month things may be a bit slower, but there is still a good chance of catching a jewie by sticking to the change of tide periods and the deeper holes or channels.

Bream too are always a chance around the lakes and Brisbane Waters, and at this time of year some of the biggest fish are hooked, but it can take some time and effort in mid winter and into early spring. Fine, ultra-light line and pure persistence are two all-important factors when it comes to success on bream during this cold water period.

Rock fishing has also slowed down as the ocean is becoming colder and clearer. Drummer and blackfish are about in the washes, along with some nice silvery bream as well. Lure casting should result in some tailor and salmon early in the morning or later on towards sunset. Just remember to watch the weather forecasts as the seas can be flat one week and then huge and potentially dangerous the next.

Beach fishing can still turn on some action in the depths of winter, but most of it will probably come from salmon, as their numbers are building now. Smaller baits dropped closer in to the shore dump can get away from any salmon and give a reasonable chance of a solid bream or two. Like rock fishing, it’s also a matter of watching the weather and trying to head out when sea conditions are good. Of course this can be easier said than done, as we all know the weather in winter isn’t always on our side.

The same goes for those heading offshore. Those westerly winds can be one of the main problems from now up till the end of September, but when fishing in closer around shallow reefs and bommies you may be able to fit in a good session on trevally, bream, small snapper and flathead, without the wind being too annoying.

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