What a fantastic time of year it is right now. Sure, things are beginning to get a little crisp in the mornings, but April is normally a red hot month as far as our local fishing goes. It’s always been my favourite month for mulloway, but there’s also a lot more on offer.
Now that I’ve mentioned mulloway though, I should elaborate. If there’s one month you’re going to nail one from the beach, it’s April. May would come a very close second, but for now let’s see what has to be done to beach one of these chrome beasts in the next few weeks.
Firstly, the beach at North Entrance is by far the most well-known place on the Central Coast, and yes it is a good area to try. However, we should also bear in mind that it is also about the most heavily fished, so there are simply a lot more baits going in the water here than most other locations. That alone tips the scales towards more fish being caught here.
In all honesty, there are plenty of other beaches well worth trying, and some of these include Birdie, Budgewoi, the northern end of Tuggerah (also known as Pelican), Forresters, Wamberal and Pearl Beach. Over the years mulloway have also been caught at a number of other sandy pockets between headlands.
Whichever beach you’re thinking of hitting, 2 important aspects to consider are baitfish supply and suitable beach formations. At this time of year the mullet run is a major attractant for these large predators, but good numbers of tailor, whiting and garfish may be present as well, so keep an eye out for signs indicating any of these species are about and that’s a good start.
Mulloway bite or hunt more freely when there’s some constant whitewash spilling over any slightly deeper gutter, channel or hole. Rather than lobbing a bait out into clear, deep looking water, aim to present your offering right on the edge of some whitewash or under it.
Take note of tide, weather and swell predictions, and whenever possible, try to fish a high tide that peaks an hour or 2 after sunset. Don’t worry about the moon too much, unless it’s the night of the full moon or the following couple of nights. If the sky is clear and that big moon is blazing, then I would conserve my time and precious bait for a cloudy night or the darker, new moon period. It just so happens that the better mulloway tides come around the new and full moon phases.
Squid, beachworms, mullet or tailor slabs and heads, live mullet or live yakkas are some of the best baits to try. Now, one of the most crucial things to remember is to make sure your very best bait is in the water as high tide approaches. So, if for example high water is at 9.55pm, prepare yourself so that the bait is in a good spot out in the surf by 9:45. Oh, and your hands are the best rod holder, not a plastic tube stuck in the sand!
As mentioned, tailor and whiting should be reliable beach targets this month, along with building numbers of bream, a few dart and the odd flathead. These fish are generally easier to catch than mulloway, and you don’t have to stay into the night. As water temps begin to fall, we’re also likely to see a few salmon taking baits.
April is a first class month for rock fishing along this part of the coast. Once again, due to numbers of mullet and garfish at this time of year, some good size kingfish tend to lurk close in to rock ledges, especially around Catherine Hill Bay, Snapper Point and South Avoca. A few bonito and frigate mackerel are other small pelagic predators that may still be around over the coming weeks.
It’s also a good month for traditional targets like bream, blackfish and drummer. I’ve already been hooking into some nice blackfish around the Munmorah to Catho part of the coast, and as the ocean begins to cool off, all 3 species should increase in numbers and take baits without too much drama.
Please remember to check weather and swell forecasts via the Internet, phone apps or the nightly TV news before planning any rock fishing trips. Anyone living on the Central Coast really should watch NBN news to see Gavin Morris give us the good oil on weather and our local sea conditions. This bloke really knows his stuff when it comes to the ocean and beaches.
On a lighter side, the past couple of months have been very productive for bream in our lakes. Numbers have been more impressive than sizes, although a few larger bream are always a possibility regardless of where you fish. As the days get shorter and things cool off a bit more, bream tend to get fatter as they feed up before winter hits. Although they’ll still be hitting surface lures, we’re reaching the stage where small vibes or Gulps can be a better lure choice.
Of course, good fresh baits fished early in the morning or after sunset will attract plenty of bream, but be prepared to sift through the undersized tiddlers. Overall, I think we’re in for a great month of fishing here on the Central Coast.
If you’re keen on pinning a mulloway at the local beach, then this is the month to get serious about it. This model is only a small schoolie, but fish up to 20kg or more will be swimming in the surf zone over the coming weeks.
It’s been a great year for bream so far. From this point on the better lures to use will be small vibes and soft plastics. Of course, top quality baits are a reliable way to go as well.
April is normally a good month for blackfish around the headlands. The author has been enjoying a good run of them along the northern part of the coast in recent weeks.Reads: 866