We're well into Spring now and doesn't it feel good after all that cold weather and strong winds? We got offshore only a handful of times from June to August but hopefully those strong winds are now gone and we're back to more predictable weather before the Summer nor'-easters turn up.
This is prime time for a multitude of species so let's have a look at what's worth chasing.
The inshore reefs should produce some quality reds. They turn up every year about this time and if you can find them, exciting fishing is just about assured. We'll be spending some time fishing in close around Crookhaven, Culburra and Currarong with plastics but down south of Jervis Bay and even in the Bay are also worth a shot.
Find some water in the 10m to 20m and if you're fishing plastics, work them slowly. Just about everyone is using Gulps these days but that doesn't mean conventional plastics won't work. We caught a lot of fish on them before Gulps came onto the market.
I'll also be berleying and fishing floating baits out wider. Those deeper grounds of gravel and scattered reef can produce some great reddies this time of year.
These are the grounds 5km to 15km out in depths of 30m to 50m – too deep to fish plastics effectively so you need to use bait and some lead. You can drift with heavy snapper leads on the bottom but it's not much fun.
You're nearly always better off anchoring up to fish floaters down a berley trail or drifting and fishing floaters up ahead of the drift.
Spring also heralds the start of two other popular fisheries down this way. The first is the arrival of baitfish and the inshore pelagics that eat them, including salmon and bonito close around the headlands and off the beaches. You're also likely to find them in Jervis Bay by trolling a few diving minnows like Rapalas close to the headlands and rocks while keeping an eye out for birds working.
You can also try casting small metal lures into the washes for a salmon or tailor. Just off the beach is a prime area to find pelagics chasing baitfish and birds working. Just motor up slowly and drift closer using any breeze. Cast to the edges of the school with 20g or 30g metal lures such as Raiders and Snipers.
We normally fish light threadline outfits with 6lb or 10lb Fireline and 8kg or 10kg leaders tied directly to the lure. You'll find things a lot easier if you swap the treble hook for a single. You’ll get better hook-ups that stay in when the salmon jump and the fish are lot easier to release.
The second fun Spring event is increased flathead activity in the estuaries. October is when the big mothers start moving around so now is the best time to be out. I've covered all the flathead on plastics and hard bodies stuff before, and so has just about every other writer.
Have a browse back through some old Fishing Monthly issues to get the techniques and tactics down right but the most important thing is to get out there and have a go.
I'd be fishing St. Georges Basin if I was looking for a big lizard because this water is fishing so much better than the Shoalhaven River these days due to being free of commercial fishers. The poor old Shoalhaven is struggling these days and a lot of the time it’s the more protected creeks and areas that don’t get netted that produce any decent fish.
We shouldn’t ignore the rocks this month. Winter produced pretty well for the rock fishos with some very nice bream and drummer from most of the better ledges. There were even some blackfish to be had through Winter.
With the weather slowly warming, you can expect the blackfish to increase in numbers with fish up on top and hanging around scum lines of flotsam. The drummer will also be around right now so grab some bread berley and abalone gut, cunje or royal red prawns and get out there.
There should also be the odd red hanging around for any anglers who fish a floater in the washes on an early morning or late afternoon low-tide change.
Finally, congratulations to a few local juniors who fish for Shoalhaven Gamefishing Club and were acknowledged at the recent presentation night. Despite a pretty poor marlin season, a few trophies were well-earned. Krystal Wietecki, Jai Oliver, James and Chris Hefferan and Rebecca Finney are all keen juniors who fish hard and take things seriously. They accounted for sharks, yellowfin and marlin last season and I'm sure they'll be out having a go as soon as the weather warms up.Reads: 1946