After many months of very warm weather and lots of people out on or near the water, there are signs that things are changing. A few mornings have had a distinct chill in the air, and there’s not as much daylight as there used to be. What is great though, is that fishing should really be firing on all cylinders this month.
Often at this time of year, we are hearing plenty of reports of marlin and other large oceanic predators being hooked offshore. This season has been the same, with various notable captures in our waters ranging from black marlin to mahimahi, yellowfin tuna, and plenty of kingfish. As always, the majority of these fish are caught out on the wide grounds or as far as the shelf, but a couple of smaller marlin have been hooked very close in, even at places like the bommie just out from the mouth at The Entrance. So, as they say, it pays to be prepared!
Apart from the weekends, crowds are disappearing from our popular rock fishing venues now, but the fish are still there. If you’re lucky enough to jag a few days off work and the weather is okay, then it’s going to be worth hitting spots like Wybung Head, Terrigal or South Avoca to target kingfish, bonito, tailor or frigate mackerel by casting metal slugs or whole pilchards pinned to a set of ganged hooks. Of course, big plastics and noisy surface poppers or walkbaits can be a fun way of enticing a decent king to bite.
But these aren’t the only fish available right now. The bread-and-butter rock species like bream and drummer are certainly there and can be a good backup target if those pelagic predators don’t show. On top of that, it’s not out of the question that some less frequent visitors to our waters like big cobia or Spanish mackerel may turn up this month. A good strategy may be to cart along a heavy tackle outfit as well as your lighter, more conventional spinning or bait fishing gear.
On the beaches, everything’s going great as well. A quick bait fishing session in the gutters can produce a nice feed of whiting, with a few flathead or bream thrown in. Small baits of peeled prawns, worm or pipi, 3kg line, small hooks and small sinkers are the way to go. Casting distance isn’t an issue because a lot of these fish are in pretty close to shore anyway.
We are also getting close to the time of year when mullet start running along some of our beaches. This means that mulloway, sharks and perhaps the odd kingfish will be swimming closer in looking for a meal. It therefore makes sense to try using fresh mullet fillets for bait. Some keener anglers may like to catch mullet in the lakes and bring them down to a nearby beach. If a large predator swims near a mullet pinned to a 10/0 Gamakatsu, it will most likely smash it, so hang on.
Bream and whiting continue to please those who are fishing in one of the lakes or in Brisbane Water. Even though a chill is starting to creep into the air, it’s still very warm in the water and these fish remain a great surface lure target. The same shallow water or flats’ fishing approach will still be very effective this month. While many whiting may be small, I’ve heard of some real elbow-slapping beasts pinned on large surface walkers lately.
Fishing at night with baits has also been productive, resulting in a high class of bream at places like The Entrance near the bridge. Flathead, whiting and tailor have also been in good supply nearby and in adjacent channels.
Some good mulloway are around in the Brisbane Water system, mainly from Woy Woy down to the Rip Bridge and out into Broken Bay. Live baits fished at night score most of the larger ones, but anglers casting soft plastics or drowning fresh squid baits pick up some good fish here. Big flathead take the same baits or lures.
Now with all these fish about, it would be nice if I had a bit more time off work and domestic duties to get stuck into them, but I’m sure many of us are in the same boat!
Plenty of fish are swimming along our local beaches at the moment and the trend should continue over the coming weeks. This flathead fell to a prawn bait and was kept for the table, along with bream and whiting.
Many anglers will be fishing the rocks at this time of year, and there is a variety of fish to be caught. Through March, pelagics like kings and bonito are still quite likely, but bream, tailor, drummer and blackfish are also an option.Reads: 723