Hard work, but fish are there for the persistent
  |  First Published: June 2015

It will be pretty tough going this month, but all is not lost as there are a few options that will get you some fish and a bit of fun into the bargain. The big plus at this time of year is you don't have to battle the crowds at the local boat ramps that seem to get larger every summer. For most of June you will have the ramps to yourself, unless the yellowfin tuna come through in numbers.

These days they tend to be oceanic fish that move on the currents around the Pacific rather than the coastal fish that used to travel up and down along the shelf and the inshore waters on temperature breaks. If they found food in any particular spot, they hung around for a while. Many of the early tag recaptures showed that fish would return to the same reef system at the same time if not each year, but over later years.

Smaller tuna in the 10-20kg range would be recaptured the next year or up to several years later at the same place within a few weeks of their previous capture time. Some were very much larger. The majority of recaptures outside these local recaptures by rec’ fishos came from commercial longline operators working along the continental shelf, so it doesn't take much brain power to work out why they disappeared.

The Banks, Bandit Reef and The Peak were all prime spots, with many recaptures, but these days it is the shelf and beyond for any decent ’fin when and if they show up. With a bit of luck the currents will be friendly and some fish will appear though.

Better can be said for the southern bluefin, which after being pushed to the brink of extinction, have now made a massive comeback and shown up over the past several years off the local coastline. The hordes of anglers, both local and travellers, that follow them as they migrate up the coast have been a boon for small towns along their route, pumping millions of dollars into their economy at a time when visitor numbers are at their lowest.

We may even see a few early arrivals later this month, so be ready as they seem to move very quickly and then be gone.

Just be wary though, as this time of year can see the weather change very quickly. With ever-smaller boats with ever more adventurous skippers sometimes heading 80km to sea for a fish, there is an underlying recipe for disaster.

In close there should be a few snapper making their way onto the inshore shallow reefs to grab a few of the early cuttlefish, but not really getting active until the middle of next month. They have been fairly consistent over the deeper reefs for a few weeks now, grabbing plastics and bait worked in water 30m plus.

Fish to 5kg are becoming more common, along with plenty in the 1-2kg range, so the winter run is already looking pretty good.

Some solid bream are about in the shallows of the bays and inlets and around the islands along the coast, but you need calm water if fishing from a boat. Start early, get a good berley stream going, and they will come right up to the transom.

Fish light, and 2kg line is best in this shallow water for good results. Throw a few silver trevally into the mix for good measure and if a school of salmon turn up you will have your work cut out getting them on the light tackle, but it is all good fun.

There were a few kings around last month and some big bonito grabbing live baits, but they seem to have tapered right off, with only the odd fish being reported around the islands. It doesn't hurt to put a live bait out when chasing the reds though, as you never know.

For the bottom bouncers the snapper will be the main target, with good numbers of fish coming in from the reefs, along with plenty of samsonfish. They have been quite thick over the local reefs this year, with fish up to 4kg coming in. That’s not big for the species, but not too bad for around here.

The flatties have switched off for winter, with only a few fish coming in for the diehard flattie chasers.

For the rockhoppers it starts to get tough, unless you like chasing drummer that is. Fishing the suds with unweighted peeled prawns or cunje, or use a very small bobby cork for a strike indicator. The results can be excellent this month and throughout the winter months for that matter.

These baits also hedge your bets and will pick up any bream and trevally that are about. You could also use crabs and that brings any groper into the mix as well. The thing is that drummer fight hard and dirty, but groper fight harder and dirtier than drummer! Hooking them is 1 thing; getting them out is quite another.

I use a maximum of 6kg line and 4kg for even more hookups. You can fish heavier, but the bite rate falls dramatically as the line gets heavier.

You can use cabbage weed for bait under a float blackfish style, which brings the blackfish into play, and there are some big fish about at the moment. If we get a big blow, hopefully nothing like what we had in mid April that made a mess of the place, the harbours will fish very well as they always do.

They were packed during the last weather event, with heaps of blackfish and drummer coming in during the rough weather. They get popular because the harbours are the only place you can fish without being washed in, which is a big plus...

If it is calm, the headlands and deeper ledges have plenty of salmon taking pilchards and lures, and a few good-sized tailor during the evenings. A live bait out on the deeper ledges while chasing smaller fish could pick up a late kingie or longtail, as there are still the odd example of each about.

On the beaches, June has long been a good month for chasing big mulloway, those fish of 20 kilos and better. It is cold during the evenings and nights, and usually only the diehards stick it out, but with big high tides during the evenings and the lure of that 1 1/2m of silver rolling in the wash at your feet after a solid battle more than warms your cockles.

Most of the beaches along the coast will hold good fish if there is a decent gutter. Having said this, if the westerlies blow through, there may not even be a gutter with any white water. This is when you get down to the beach during the day and look for the deeper water and fish there.

They will come within a few metres of shore on a dark night with the westerlies blowing when there is little or no wash present. Not all the mulloway are monsters, with the majority being under 10 kilos, but still nice fish and there are more of them to go around.

Salmon, as always, are on all the beaches this month, along with some very good tailor up to 3kg just on dark, particularly on the northerly beaches.

Throw in a few bream to pick away at your big baits and the beaches don't look too bad, but they will always be cold.

The estuaries are on the quiet side. If you flog the water to foam with plastics you might catch a flathead. You might not too, but if you work the edges of the weed beds and dropoffs in the lake with small plastics and hardbodies, there are a few nice bream ready to tackle your offerings.

The pros hit them pretty hard along the edges at Primbee and the back of the van park, so you may get them 1 day and the next they are on their way to the markets.

Around the bridge pylons could be worth a shot at slack water for bream, at the bottom of the pylons with plastics for a mulloway, and the entrance wall will hold a few bream and salmon on the top of the tide.

Minnamurra should have a few bream around the bridges, but it will be hard work.

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