No excuses to not fish
  |  First Published: October 2015

Now that we have longer days regulated with daylight savings there is no excuse not to go for a fish after work!

The bridge end of the lake and around the shallow edges of the numerous islands should be prime areas for the legal length male flathead that are starting to gather for spawning later in the year, through to autumn. A few large females have already been spotted so I hope this year’s flathead will be as good as the pigs have been.

Areas to look for the flathead include the western edges of Wallis Island, around Dago and Regatta islands and over the flats, at high tide, at the mouth of the Wallamba River. Perhaps the best way to target the flathead and to find shoals of them in any given area is to throw prawn or minnow pattern lures. The shallow, muddy, weeded areas around the islands need the lures retrieved over the weed and dropped onto or close to the bottom. Less weight is better and you’ll find a 1/6oz jig head will be enough to keep the lure at the right level. The water is generally clear, and seeing your lure disappear in a dust storm is a great sight.

Fishing for flathead from the shore is a difficult thing around town, with Breckenridge channel off Little Street providing good wading access to the sandy channel. The alternative is to wade the sand flats near Pacific Palms and the Sailing Club, or wade the channel up from Tuncurry boat ramp to Tern Island and fish the channel fringe. The Tern Island option does see a lot of anglers and some reasonable fish too.

There are encouraging signs of reasonable surface action from the bream, with a lot of fish already penetrating the tributaries and upper reaches. The good news is that the bream pushing up the rivers all take up station (for at least brief periods) on the lease structure in the system. Some of the fish stay on the on the leases while most filter off into the snags throughout the tributaries. It’s just a matter of working your way up the system until you hit fish, or laying down a steady berley trail and waiting for the fish to gather.

While the pigs are around all year, the winter spawn is the best time to catch them. There is less competition for food though winter from rubbish species, and the water conditions and temperatures all contribute to the best conditions. The bream will thin out along the rocks from now and a skeleton crew of smallish males will be left to patrol the rocks and beaches, so don’t expect big or lots of bream.

The first of the mac tuna and bonito will show up by the end of the month so a spin session from Bennetts, One Mile or Janies Corner will provide a bit of fun. You may even encounter a straggling big tailor or salmon during the session.

Offshore has been up and down, and I’m not talking about the swell. The weather conditions have been good for venturing to close by reefs, but as Shane Crockett (from Forster Sport & Game Fishing) told me, you have to work for quality fish and be prepared to hit a few spots. Snapper, pearl perch, mulloway and teraglin are the key target species so fresh and live baits are essential. Next month I’ll bring you some background on Shane and his business for anyone wanting to venture offshore over the Christmas school holidays.

By the end of this month there should be enough blue swimmers and mud crabs crawling around to make planting a pot or two worthwhile. The water temperature in the lake didn’t get much below 16.5°C so a few long, hot days will help bolster the temp and get them active. Now is the time to use all the pig frames stashed in the freezer.

While many bass anglers may rejoice over the blossom of wattle and the opening of the bass season last month, you’ll have be get in early if you want to fish without weed. The lack of rain and river flow will become an issue if we don’t get substantial rain soon and injections throughout the summer. Nonetheless I’m sure there will be plenty caught and released through the warming months. The upper Wallamba gets choked out with weed early in the season so the smart money is to do it now.

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