Peak time for best catches
  |  First Published: April 2007

At last there seem to be plenty of fish around with rock, beach, estuary and offshore all producing the goods over the past six weeks.

What’s even better news is that April could well be the best fishing month of the year for most species.

I’ve had a gutful of those steamy, sun-punching days and am looking forward to the first few crisp Autumn mornings with no wind. Sure, I’ll probably be complaining about the cold in a few months but for now let’s just enjoy the Autumn comfort zone.

I’m very sure most fish also think it’s a nice time of year as they congregate and willingly takes baits and lures.

Offshore fishing was very patchy a few months ago but the currents finally settled in with good blue water hovering between 21° and 24°. Marlin did show up, with a reasonable number of small blacks, stripes and the odd blue out wide but the main marlin run will have slowed right down by now.

Those chasing much smaller fish on lighter gear have had something to smile about. Bonito showed up in good numbers out from Norah Head and Terrigal, along with frigate mackerel and a sprinkling of Watson’s bonito and even striped tuna.

Kingfish were also out in force for a while, although as usual most were only hovering around the legal 60cm. Norah Head’s king of rat kings, ‘Chunk’, was scoring about a 100 kings an hour on metal jigs – well, almost 100!

A few samson fish, snapper, cobia, leatherjacket and flathead have made up the rest of the offshore catch lately and that trend should continue this month. If last year is anything to go by, there’s a very good chance that April will see more cobia caught right into early Winter. Live yakkas, slimies or pike fished adjacent to major reef systems that back on to plenty of clear sand will bring the cobes undone if they turn up.


Rock fishing at this time of year is certainly one of the more productive options with a range of species to choose from.

Those bonito and frigate mackerel should still be around this month. The frigates or ‘leadies’ tend to hang around right into early Winter. Terrigal Haven is the best place to target the frigates with very small metal lures, white-painted barrel sinkers and small white soft plastics.

These little bullets can also show up along some of the beaches. Last season they were in fair numbers just inside Pelican Point and along Hargraves Beach and don’t be surprised to find them smashing into bait well inside Brisbane Water or Lake Macquarie.

Kingfish, cobia and jewfish are very much on the cards off the rocks this month. Catherine Hill Bay, Wybung, Snapper, Norah Head, Terrigal and Avoca are some places to try for these larger predators. Very fresh or live squid, live pike or live garfish are prime kingfish baits that no cobia will refuse, either.

Jewies also take these baits as well as live tailor, mullet or very fresh dead baits after dark. Live yakkas will certainly take jewies off the rocks after dark but the main problem here is that squid and tailor move in at night, destroying your hard-earned yakkas. That’s why I suggest much bigger livebaits or dead baits over live yakkas.

A rising tide that peaks before midnight is the time to try your after-dark jew fishing and don’t worry too much about what the moon is doing.


Beach fishing along the Central Coast is at its peak right now. Tailor, salmon and bream should be no problem, particularly early morning or just on dark at most beaches.

If you fish close to the rocks at a beach corner there’s every chance of catching a swag of good bream in very short time. Pillies are a top bream bait but I prefer tougher baits like mullet, tailor or salted bonito.

I stand by it – April is the best month of the year to catch jewfish from our beaches. If you’ve never caught a beach jewie, now is your best chance. The formula is simple: Quality bait like beachworms, squid, mullet or tailor (not from a shop, you must catch your own), a rising tide that peaks from just on sunset through to midnight or later, a deep gutter with a clear access channel to the open sea and persistence.

Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water are the calm-water options this month and the fish are there. Bream and flathead are the main players in Tuggerah Lakes, although I heard reports of some nice blackfish at The Entrance a few weeks ago and some whiting have also been biting at The Entrance.

Bream and flathead have been active in Brisbane Water and April is always a top month for Brissy Water jewies. So drop everything and fish hard this month - it’s all good!

The Entrance is one of the more reliable estuary options this month. Bream and flathead are the best bets here.

Tailor and flathead from Pelican Point. April is the best month for local rock and beach fishing.

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