Cooling off in the pig pen
  |  First Published: June 2007

The weather has made a significant change; the water and the air are colder with heavy dew clinging to the grass every morning. The days are darker and the first sniffles of the coming Winter are visiting the family members, yet there is hope and light at the end of it all.

The occasional south-east swell will pound the coast line over the next few months and this is the trigger to get down to the rocks, after it has settled, and get stuck into the pigs and blackfish.

At this time of the year it isn’t just the mullet that make a run for it into the backs of the beaches and headlands. Bream and blackfish also are more prolific along the rocky fringes after making their dash along the beaches.

Bream and blackfish can be pretty thick along the wash zones with the ends of the beaches being great places to start prospecting.

Scott Saxby recently caught a few big pigs and two lobsters on yabbies from a rock platform while fishing for blackfish and bream. One of the lobsters was too small but the other was well over legal size, so you can guess where that went.

The best of the pig fishing is yet to come but there are sufficient around to make a trip worthwhile. Green prawns, cooked prawns, bread, cunjevoi, abalone gut or yabbies are top baits and, apart from the hordes of kelp fish, there should be no problem snagging a feed.

The north end of One Mile and the rocks around Burgess Beach are all easy access points to good wash areas and known pig haunts.

We generally head south and spot-hop from below the Palms back to Bennetts Head and check out a few different spots. That is the only way to target consistent catches because any one of the spots could draw a blank while another is crammed with fish – it happens.

Talking of rock fishing, the LBG season has been pretty poor, as has the run of bonito and slimies. A few longtail tuna around 12 kg have been caught and unless there is a late run early this month, I think we can kiss this season goodbye. Hopefully the tailor fishing will improve, too, though I suspect the numbers of baitfish have to increase considerably.


On a brighter note, the lake has been fishing reasonably well with plenty of bream hanging with the remaining mullet schools and willing to hammer soft plastics and hardbodies. Ecogear SX-40s and Jackall Chubbies are an investment in quality bream-catching lures but throwing them around the racks takes a certain economic defiance and losing them hurts a lot.

They are a great pair of lures and worth having some in the tackle box but 16lb fluorocarbon leaders are a minimum if you want a chance at hanging onto them. Plastics around the structures have been producing a few thumping whiting with the camo Gulp Sandworm a standout.

Bait anglers drifting their offerings to the bridge pylons have been faring well with some big bream popping up. The larger sand whiting are also a chance around the bridge and deep Tuncurry Channel.

Those fishing from the wharfs along the channel will be encountering the blackfish and chopper tailor that invade the lake this time of the year but the wharf fishos will also holding hopes of a straggling big flathead or school jew.

There has been no real news from the breakwalls with the exception of a few pigs from the tip of the Forster rocks and the usual hopeful jew anglers soaking their baits as the run-out tide slackens off.

Once again the numbers of leatherjackets in the lake have seemingly increased to a distracting force of tail-nipping and lure-following masses. I reckon they are great-tasting, easily cleaned and easily caught on a long-shank hook and a strip of squid.

The jackets can be found around lease structure and weed beds near deep water – especially the fan-belly leatherjackets.

So can all the non-soft plastic anglers do the rest of us a favour and thin them out?

One of the best spots I have found leatherjackets is along the eastern side of Wallis island about 200m down from the airstrip wharf – go for it!.

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