With increased warmth in the air, naturally our estuaries kick-start back into life. Those big dusky flathead that spend the coldest times in a docile state are now beginning to actively hunt for wayward baitfish.
The Tuross system has been experiencing some fantastic action recently with many anglers finding a swag of quality flatties averaging 70cm, along with the odd significantly larger fish.
On a recent trip up the Clyde chasing jewfish I managed a trio of flathead between 60cm and 76cm. Unfortunately I didn't receive a single bite from a jewfish but the sounder revealed a few huge arches that couldn't have been anything else.
The Clyde River and Tuross have also been home to some super action on big, fat estuary perch. Anglers have been finding the big EPs on weed flats, among the host of fallen timber and in the deeper bends that feature eddies and rocky drop-offs.
Surface plastics, small poppers and shallow-diving minnows are the weapons doing the most damage so make sure you equip your kit with a few of each.
As yet the bream haven't really showed in numbers but I expect that to change some time this month.
Off the beaches, salmon are in full force and have been for months. Malua Bay, Rosedale and Broulee (north and south) have been the scene of bent rods and gyrating, airborne fish. Spinning up 30 fish per session per angler has been a reasonably common occurrence.
I even had salmon jumping just out of arm’s reach as I paddled out for a surf at Malua Bay recently. Luckily, it isn't a place renowned for big toothy critters or I might have been very nervous to be surrounded by thousands of fish!
Some big tailor, too, have been in the mix. Their numbers are thin but will only continue to build as Spring rolls on.
Speaking to divers recently, I have uncovered some interesting information if you love your drummer fishing. Some of the biggest black tanks imaginable have taken up residence in numbers at a few of the renowned locations.
An estimated 7kg to 8kg fish was speared and, according to the diver, there were countless more in that size bracket – scary! Good luck in extracting such monsters, especially in the nasty environment they choose to reside in.
October is generally considered the last month of the season to target snapper in the shallows. A few spurts of red-hot action have taken place recently with a multitude of snapper averaging 3kg to 5kg among the spoils.
Ben ‘The Plastic Gangster’ Roberts recently experienced what he described as his pinnacle session. Casting unweighted plastics to cuttlefish carcasses, Ben managed to land nine snapper to 5kg off the surface and get blown away by three more unstoppable fish. Can it get any better than watching 5kg of lumpy red break the surface and slurp down your offering only a short cast away?
The same day Dan Roberts (no relation) found nine of his own snapper of similar size in deeper water on octopus legs fished down a berley trail.
Despite these recent standout sessions, angler concern for our snapper stocks has hit a bit of a crisis.
The introduction of the Batemans Marine Park was supposedly meant to aid in fish population recovery but this may not be the case for our reds. According to many fishos, a stupid loophole seems to be being exploited with professional fishers still being allowed to set snapper traps in the habitat protection zones.
Anglers now are seeing significantly more traps set off Durras with new buoys and ropes sprouting up all over the place. Traps are pretty effective on snapper so an increase in effort surely cannot be a good thing.
Trapping, too, has been reportedly occurring in the Clyde River for bream and flathead. This is a pretty bitter pill to swallow after being told that the Clyde was to be virtually commercial-free.
Ask anyone who has witnessed illegal bream traps in the oyster racks (and there have been a few of them) and they will tell you that they are pretty damn effective. Not only do they trap bream but estuary perch also wind up in them.
While the evidence is anecdotal, the accounts seem pretty widespread with some angry anglers determined to get to the truth of it.Reads: 2159