The early bird catches the fish!
  |  First Published: December 2015

Hard to believe, but another year is drawing to a close. A new fishing season is just starting to kick in with the official start of summer and the unofficial start to the blue water pelagic season.

As mentioned last month, kingfish are normally around in good numbers from November onwards, with December generally an excellent time if you want to have fun with lighter tackle on the smaller kings around the legal length of 65cm. Bird Island, The Bull, The Entrance bommie and just off the prominent points from Terrigal to Box Head are all places to look for these inshore kings.

Another favourite among local anglers, bonito are due to show up anytime from now. While they’re normally around in better numbers towards the end of summer, bonito are certainly worth trying for during December. Try to troll small white feather or pink squid lead head lures between 8-14 knots close in over shallow reef or casting chrome metals around the same areas. The best approach is trolling to locate them and then casting once they’re found.

The ramps usually get packed at this time of year, especially through the holiday period, so try to get out super early. This season we’ve got new facilities at Norah Head, which will make things easier than the same time last year.

Bream have seriously sparked up around the lakes and Brisbane Waters now and I’ve been having a ball casting small vibes, surface lures and soft plastics around the shallow margins. I know a lot of anglers place priority on lure selection. However, what’s even more important than that, particularly around the lakes, is to simply be on the water and casting before sunrise. There is almost no point to launch at 8 or 9am if the aim is to catch Tuggerah Lake bream on lures. Waiting for the late afternoon period is a better strategy if you’re not an early riser.

Summer favourites

Our other summer favourites, flathead and whiting are also more active around sunrise or the hour or two leading up to sunset. When fishing for them with lures, timing isn’t as critical as it is for the seemingly more wary and intelligent bream.

At this time of year flathead also congregate around illuminated shallows at night. The bridges at The Entrance and Toukley are two of the most reliable places for them, although sadly, a large percentage of flathead are only small or just on or under the legal size limit of 36cm. The odd larger model is caught at The Entrance, but illuminated spots in Brisbane Waters attract larger fish, in less numbers.

A variety of baits or lures work well on these nocturnal flathead, but my pick is a simple white soft plastic bounced through the lighter looking spots. A 100mm Squidgy Wriggler or 4” Berkley Powerbait are two models that I’ve enjoyed great success with.

The beaches become a lot more productive from this month onwards. Tailor and mulloway are prime targets along our main beaches like North Entrance and Budgewoi although a few bream and the occasional salmon are also likely to be hooked, as are several species of sharks and rays. Pick a rising tide that peaks sometime after sunset and be prepared for some tailor to move in right on dark, as they often do.

As mentioned last month, whiting are also well worth chasing through the middle of the day and all Central Coast beaches house at least a few whiting through the summer months. Visitors unsure of where to find some pipis or beachworms for their whiting bait should head to one of our local tackle shops, as most sell some pretty good fresh and live bait during the holiday season.

Rock fishing offers reasonably good fishing in December, although exactly what species turn up largely depends on the fickle ocean currents that flow down the coast at this time of year. While the general trend is warming water, it can be a bit up and down, with cool green water one week and warm blue water the next. This simply equates to drummer, bream, sweep and salmon one week, with bonito and kings a good possibility the next.

My personal strategy during the early stages of summer is to bring along one outfit for casting metal lures and surface poppers, with another lighter outfit for chucking light baits around the washes for bream, drummer or luderick.

Overall, my main picks this month are the lakes and Brisbane Waters for bream, flathead or whiting, the inshore reefs and bommies for kings and the beaches for whiting through the day.

Good luck and have a happy and safe Christmas.

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