Although South West Rocks may be renowned for its exciting game fishery throughout the warmer months of the year, the winter months still offer up a vast array of species for everyone from the beginner right through to the expert angler.
We have been experiencing some fair conditions of late, with light offshore winds and relatively calm sea conditions allowing for safe comfortable offshore expeditions. Deep dropping out wide has been producing the goods with quality catches of bar cod and blue-eye trevalla, as well as john dory and pearl perch thrown into the mix. Fresh baits of fish and squid work best, as well as live slimies or yellowtail.
Moving back in a bit shallower to the 60m-80m zones, there is a vast array of species on offer. Pearl perch, snapper, mulloway and teraglin have been the most reliable but there have also been plenty of venus tuskfish and pigfish thrown in for good measure. Jigging in these same areas has been accounting for plenty of kingfish with the odd samsonfish mixed in.
The shallow water reef fishing is just starting to happen and will get better as the winter progresses. Unweighted baits and lightly weighted soft plastics, all on light gear, are an exciting way to tangle with what could be a snapper of a lifetime in this area at this time of year. A lot of quality mulloway are also caught by this method. The beauty of it is that just about anything could show up on these reefs on any given day.
Big flathead and mulloway are a major focus of the river at present. These fish are always around but with the abundance of schools of spawning fish throughout the system at the moment, they are there to feed. Live baiting and large soft plastics are by far the most successful methods of capture. Combine either of these with a tide change and you are definitely putting yourself in the game.
Bream seem to be everywhere from Frederickton to the river entrance as well as up Clybucca Creek, with the oyster leases holding some monsters. These fish are eager to whack any small soft plastics or hardbody lures thrown their way. However, extracting them on light gear is always a challenge.
Beach fishing is always a bit hit-and-miss at this time of year as commercial pressure is fairly high. Tailor and bream have been reasonably reliable though, especially if you focus around the low light times of dawn and dusk.
It is all looking pretty good for rock hoppers with most of the usual winter species playing the game. Tailor have been in abundance in the washes, with plenty of quality mulloway lurking in their shadows. It has not been uncommon for a tailor to be hooked up on a spinner only to be pinched by a mulloway, resulting in a very unexpected battle. Some are won but many are lost!
Bream have been around the headlands in good numbers, as have the dirty fighting drummer. Good berley trails will hold the abovementioned fish in your desired area longer and prolong the bite.Reads: 582