Estuary fish become more active
  |  First Published: September 2014

September is the start of the transition period between winter and summer fish species. It can be a bit hard to predict whether the water will be warming up yet but it is fairly safe to say the strong westerlies are now behind us.

That said, hopefully now the water should be warming a little, causing the estuary fish to become more active. Flathead are one great example – as soon as that water temperature warms up a few degrees the flathead start to break out of there lazy winter modes and become a lot more active. Once the water warms they can be caught on a lot twitchier and faster retrieves and in shallower water.

Now is a great time to fish inside the bay for bream, as the oyster racks and break walls should be holding some nice size fish. Although lures are very popular and trendy for bream, bait is still a go-to option for many anglers out there and why shouldn’t it be? There are plenty of good bream baits out there, from peeled prawns to chicken breast, but no matter which bait you choose the important thing is to give it a natural look in the water. This can be achieved by using lightly weighted sinkers and leaders.

Berley also really helps a lot. While it does attract pickers it certainly does school the bream up and get them feeding. Cheap canned cat food and chicken pellets work well and should have the bream schooled up and feeding in no time.

The luderick should now be starting to thin out a little and over the next month we should see them definitely taper off from what they have been.

A few nice school mulloway are starting to come on the bite again now, with live yellowtail and slimies taking most fish. Around towards Karuah, Middle Island and any deep hole you find is worth dropping live bait. Fish around the tide changes and you’re in with a chance. Don’t forget that daytime mulloway are also a possibility, especially on cloudy overcast days. Also remember the size limits on mulloway are now 70cm with a two-fish bag limit; Fisheries crack down hard on anybody caught with illegal size fish.

Offshore you should be able to manage a feed of snapper but it has been a bit of a slow season. Fishing with plastics around Fingal and Broughten are worth a shot, just watch the marine parks in those areas. Edith breakers also produce regular catches of solid reds, with bright coloured soft plastics in the 5-7” range working well.

Inside the bay also often surprises me with the large snapper it can produce, especially the few days after a large swell. Little Beach Jetty has become known for the reds it can produce as well as the co-op break wall. Quality frozen bait works well and fresh bait works even better. You may have to put up with plagues of smaller picker fish and rays, but once you hook up to a solid bay red it’s all worth it.

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