I’m sure most would agree that this is a great time to be on or near the water, preferably casting a line. Some days may be roasting hot and there’s a lot of people around the more popular fishing spots, but as a whole January is a good month for all manner of species.
Fingers crossed the new public boat ramp at Norah Head will be open or very close to being ready this month. If not, then other offshore launching spots like Terrigal are going to be crowded, so keep this in mind when planning an outing. Remember to be courteous at ramps during this time of year, as many boats will be heading out or coming back around the same time, especially first thing in the morning.
The water has warmed a lot over the past month and a few fish are about also. Marlin have been hooked out wide, with an occasional big mahimahi or tuna. Smaller mahimahi have been caught not too far out, with those ever-present moored ships acting like FADs. Kingfish and bonito are showing up more regularly, so it all sounds exciting on the offshore front.
Beach fishing is a classic summer activity for many people, and even those who rarely go fishing are quite likely to venture down to the beach and have a go this month. The mornings are often best, before the sea breeze kicks in and builds during the day. Most species including whiting, tailor, salmon, flathead and mulloway could show up, but the more common ones this month would be whiting and tailor. The good thing about beach whiting fishing is you don’t need a really long rod and a big reel to fish for them. Even a short rod used for flicking lures at bream in the lakes will do the job. Try baits like bloodworms or pipis and it won’t be hard to rake up a decent feed of fresh whiting fillets. Yum!
Some nice whiting have been around our estuaries lately and they will still be on the prowl this month. Most are small or around legal size, but the Central Coast waterways have quite a few bigger models. Those 40cm jobs are pretty common at the bottom end of Lake Macquarie and over the tidal flats around Brisbane Water. These bigger fish really like surface pencils such as the Bassday SugaPen or Lucky Craft Sammy. They don’t seem to mind small blades or vibes either.
Bream have been going pretty well too. Like the whiting, they will be smashing topwaters again this month, especially around the new moon phase when the prawns are running. A few good bream have been caught on Gulps as well lately, but if there’s one lure they will take when they’re not hitting any others, it’s a Gulp.
One way to beat the heat, the crowds, and catch some nice bream, is to leave the lures at home and use good quality bait like live prawns or fresh mullet fillets. Some real beasts are caught at night, but if you don’t hook one of those, then at least the chance of catching a few reasonably big ones is still very good. The Entrance channel is a popular and productive place to soak a bait for bream, but there are plenty of other reliable spots around Brisbane Water or the lakes, especially if there’s a bridge or rocky point present.
Flathead have been active lately and the same should continue through the month. Some excellent places to try with soft plastics, hardbodies or natural baits are Ettalong, Woy Woy and The Entrance. Realistically, anywhere with some sand and weed should be home to a lizard or two.
People may not realise that there are even some carp fishing options on the Central Coast. The muddy freshwater reaches of certain creeks, as well as a number of man-made dams and ponds are home to carp, some of which are surprisingly big. If you want to try something different, take a look at Google Earth or the local street directory and try bread as bait on a small hook. If they are present, it won’t take long for one to find your bait.
Of course rock fishing is also starting to look better as warmer currents push down the coast. Places like Terrigal, Norah Head and South Avoca will probably be quite crowded, especially if seas are calm and word gets around that the fish are biting, but there’s an excellent chance of finding fish like kings, tailor or bonito.
It’s a very good time to try soft plastics for flathead right now. This solid fish grabbed a camo Berkley Gulp and was kept for the table.
We’ve got fantastic beaches along the Central Coast, and the good news is that they are all well worth fishing. Look for something like this, which is deeper water close to shore and quite a bit of wave action.
Like many parts of NSW, carp live in some of our local creeks and ponds. Noah Ellis-Helmers was stoked with his first, but he’s upgraded to bigger ones since this photo was taken!Reads: 1831