Don’t forget your jacket
  |  First Published: August 2015

It’s true that August is not the most attractive month on the year’s calendar, and the winter holiday periods that bookend the colder months are not patronised by as many visitors. However, it can be a month of greatly settled weather that allows boats to venture offshore to find a feed of mixed reef fish. It is also the start of the yellow leatherjacket invasion that is cursed by so many, but should really be enjoyed as the jackets aren’t too bad on the plate.

The best part of the periods of settled weather and seas is the opportunity to get to chosen reef areas like Blackhead quickly and safely. The often glassed-out conditions make fishing very comfortable, and catches of pearl perch, snapper, flathead and John dory are more than welcome.

In the calmer conditions it is time to try bouncing soft plastics for reds by casting forward of your drift and hopping it back towards the boat. It is worth a go, and the weight of the jighead will depend on the speed of the current and drift. A range of 3/4oz and heavier are good, and narrow profile plastics like Gulp 7” Jerk Shads or Gulp Nemesis will help to increase the sink rate and the fish love them.

Big bream in the lake are more noticeable this time of the year because the majority of 27cm males are out off the coast spawning and not snatching your bait or lure. The reduced fish activity around the leases is obvious, but it is the remnant stock and early return of spawned fish that make up the targets in the leases. Hitting kilo-plus fish is easier to do this month than in any other, and it is the rack as far as Pitchford Island to Lani’s that holds the blue-nosed fish.

Fishing lures slowly is the key, so the best attack is soft plastics in the shallower leases, with vibes or Cranka Crabs in the deeper pockets along the edges and channels. Around the entrance of the lake, the bridge and leases will fish well on the falling or slack water as they are the structured areas the returning spawners first hit.

If you’re looking for flathead you need only go as far as the Wallamba Channel against the leases on the right hand side, heading upstream. Laying on the dark mud, the fish have that terrific dark brown and white camo pattern and there are heaps of fish holding in the shallow water. Flathead are always a by-catch when bream fishing (often outnumbering them on occasions), so between leases and over the weed beds/flats there is always a good chance of fish.

Rock fishing comes into its own this month, with the staggering run of quality pigs continuing. More luderick have made appearances from the stones and it may be time to pump some yabbies and head out for a night session on them. It may be a psychosomatic thing, but I think blackfish caught from the ocean rock taste so much better than the lake fish. Perhaps it is that they are in better condition and have been grazing on the red weed, I don’t know. What I do know is the late night high tide out on the rocks is well worth the effort — including the auto inflate life jacket of course.

Early mornings are still producing a few tailor, with fish up to 2kg being reported from the beaches and rock washes. School mulloway on livies, beach worms or lures are a respectable target option in spots like Janie’s Corner or the north end of Bluey’s Beach. Don’t expect miracles, but the chances are good for a bit of evening or early morning action.

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