As the days get longer, the cold grows stronger and that’s exactly what happens as we reach August on the Central Coast.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the fishing will be running cold this month. Although August has long been considered one of the worst fishing months of the year, if you get specific about species and techniques there are actually plenty of fish to be caught.
After the extreme deluge our area copped a few months ago, it will be interesting to see how Tuggerah Lakes, Brisbane Water and Lake Macquarie shape up for Spring and Summer.
I know one thing for sure, Wyong River in particular, was in desperate need of a real flush-out and that’s exactly what it and the other local creeks got. In theory, it should mean better fishing, prawning and crabbing as we approach the warmer part of the year but that remains to be seen.
Normally I’m one to get out of bed at some insane hour of darkness to be on the water well before sunrise but right now the enthusiasm levels for such early starts have dropped considerably. When you have to wear 20 pairs of socks, 10 beanies, thermal undies and your hands freeze up too much to tie a knot, fishing can become more of a demanding chore rather than an enjoyable activity.
Luckily, fish can still be caught once the sun starts to warm things up a bit and quite often a mid-afternoon fish will produce the goods.
Regular readers may have noticed my writings often turn to the subject of water temperature. At this time of year, finding water as little as 1° warmer than surrounding areas can make quite a difference to your catch rate.
Bream, blackfish and flathead in our estuaries really are more enthusiastic about taking a bait or lure in slightly warmer water. In most cases that can be found wherever sunlight hits the most, generally in shallower bays that are sheltered from cold winds.
Interestingly, warmer water can sometimes be found towards the bottom of deeper holes. So one of my tips for this month is to fish shallow bays or deep holes rather than your average 3m areas.
Hopefully by now our estuaries should be back to normal after the big wet. During August this means bream and blackfish are the main species worth chasing, although mullet, estuary perch, flathead, tailor and the odd jewie are also a possibility.
Estuary fishing at this time of year can be tough. Even though the bream and blackfish are there and willing to take a bait or lure, the colder water means that these fish aren’t moving around fast in the water and throwing away caution to snatch what’s on the end of your line.
When lure or fly casting for local bream, the best strategy is to fish slowly and methodically. As I’ve often said before, regardless of the recent interest in small, often expensive hardbody lures, I personally feel a lot more confident casting soft plastics to bream that are in a hesitant mood.
Some of the biggest bream will be in the deepest holes at this time of year and the only way to knock on their door is with a plastic weighted to sink deep. At the moment my favourite big bream lure is a 4” Berkley Gulp Minnow matched with a size 2/0 AusSpin Bladespin jighead. With this, I’ve found bream that I previously didn’t think were actually present because they didn’t respond to my normal soft plastic presentations the first time around.
It’s a good one, so I suggest trying it in some of the deeper holes in Wyong River, Ourimbah creek and at The Rip in Brisbane Waters.
Getting away from all that fiddly calm-water stuff, I strongly suggest giving the rocks a go this month for drummer, groper and blackfish. A few bream, tailor and salmon will also be lurking around the wash zone.
Providing the swell isn’t too big to safely fish from the rocks, there shouldn’t be much of a problem extracting a few fresh fish for the dinner table this month. Remember your bread-based berley to get the resident fish in a feeding mood and then cast cunje, peeled prawns or white bread squeezed over the hook. Not too far out, as most of these fish will be right in close up against the rocks.
If the seas become super-flat and crystal-clear, as they can this month, it’s time to bring out the big gear and try for groper. Forget about all those crabs you see skittling over the rocks; serious groper specialists know that the only fair-dinkum groper bait is the red crab that lives right at the water’s edge or under crevices that are covered in water most of the time.
Beach fishing isn’t really the best in August but if you slip on a pair of waders to keep the toes from dropping off, the main fish you could run into are salmon, along with a sprinkling of tailor, bream and trevally.
If you’re super-keen and half mad, there’s even a chance of a big beach jewfish after dark. Only a chance, though, and there are much better months to do any nocturnal beach fishing, so for now rock fishing is probably a better alternative.
Sand, surf and summer sound a lot better to me than sand, surf and winter !
While August may not be the best month for offshore fishing, it’s certainly not the worst. If you don’t mind cold wind hitting your face as you race around the deep blue, this isn’t a bad time to chase snapper, trevally, salmon and kingfish.
If you’re yet to try soft plastics for snapper, remember those 6” Atomic Jerk Minnows in the lumo silver colour. Believe me, they work very well on the reds.
Big bream may be lurking about this month and they won’t say no to larger plastics.Reads: 789