Although we’re well and truly in the guts of Winter, that certainly doesn’t mean the fishing will be bad – there are plenty of fish to be caught along the Central Coast this month, so let’s take a look at the options.
Last month I spoke of the local blackfish and how each season can be different from the last. In fact, each week can be different from the last, so if your results have been poor so far, don’t give up too soon. One week fishing off the rocks at Terrigal may be hot, then the next week Terrigal may be shut down while further north, at Norah Head, the fish could be sparking up. The same goes for estuary blackfish.
They do move around a bit and change their diet, so the best bet is to just keep plugging away and always try to use the best weed or cabbage you can get.
Apart from the standard green weed or cabbage, there are a few alternatives worth trying. Off the rocks and in Tuggerah Lakes or Brisbane Water there is a soft, dark brown weed than can be highly effective through late Winter. Look for it around the shallow shoreline adjacent to major ribbon weed beds where plenty of sunshine warms the water.
It’s very much like fluffy balls of cotton wool and while it can be difficult to put on a hook, the fish really love it. The same stuff also grows on the ocean rocks, generally in small pools that get covered in water on a high tide.
Small shrimp are another popular bait, particularly at The Entrance. The shrimp can easily be gathered by picking out large clumps of kelp that drift along The Entrance Channel near the bridge. A long gaff or landing net makes picking out the kelp much easier.
Once you’ve got a clump of kelp, simply shake it and all the shrimp will fall out into your bucket. Be sure to keep the little shrimp alive in clean sea water because they aren’t much good when they die. One or two live shrimp should be pinned to a fine No 10 hook; I find the Mustad 4190 perfect.
Although I’ve often found bream to be in greater numbers through late Summer and Autumn, July is a month to find big bream in our estuaries and along the ocean rocks.
Wyong Creek is quite a reliable place to find bream this month, particularly on very slowly fished soft plastics. Fine fluorocarbon leaders can also be advantageous if the water is quite clear.
Work the plastics in a series of small hops along the bottom in the deeper holes and with a bit of luck you’ll score a few big ones. There are plenty of other places to try your plastics around the lakes and Brisbane Water this month, just remember to work them slowly.
Off the rocks, quite a few good bream will nail baits of cunjevoi while you’re drummer fishing and they also like the red crabs that are used when chasing groper.
So if you’ve found a few red crabs but your gear isn’t up to the task of handling big groper, cut the crabs into quarters so that one decent-sized crab can make up four baits with the body and another one or two baits with the legs. A size 2/0 Gamakatsu octopus is a suitable hook to use for this style of breaming.
Beach fishing is normally a bit quiet at this time of year with salmon the most common species along the surf zone. Still, it can be worth trying the beaches with pillies on ganged hooks for a bit of fun with the sambos. There’s also a good chance of picking up the odd bream, tailor and trevally.
The main offshore fish this month are silver trevally and snapper. If you still haven’t tried soft plastics for snapper, now is a good time to do it.
Don’t go thinking that you have to get all fancy for this sort of thing. The truth is that soft plastics fishing over the shallower inshore reefs is a very simple affair that really does produce the goods.
The first step is to forget about wasting all your fuel to get out to the deep water where the big fish live. There are quality reds and blurters to be caught in water between 10m and 20m. What you will have to do, though, is get on the water before sunrise to get the best results.
The next step is to get on or adjacent to a patch of reef that holds some bait. Forget your anchor, just drift. Once you’re near reef, simply cast out and let the plastic slowly sink as you drift. You don’t want the plastic to sink to the bottom because that’s where all the snags and sergeant bakers live.
If the drift is very slow, you’ll need a lighter jig head or if the drift is fast, go for a heavier one. The idea is to fish mid-water.
One of the most effective snapper plastics I’ve used is the lumo silver 6” Atomic Jerk Minnow but other colours worth trying are green pumpkin disco and real shad. Match these to a 4/0 to 6/0 jig head. Weights from 1/8oz to 1/2oz can be used but more often than not 1/4oz will be the best bet.
You can cast out ahead of the boat as it drifts and slowly wind in with a series of lifts as you go, or simply stick the rod in the rod holder and let it trail behind the boat. As long as you’re out near some reef very early in the morning you should be in with a very good chance of a few nice fish. Even if it doesn’t work first off, stick with it because it really does work.
Silver trevally should be out and about this month along the rocks, beaches and offshore.Reads: 544