Good vibes on bream
  |  First Published: March 2016

We’ve now reached the peak fishing season of the year and one of the very best months for nearly every species we encounter in this part of the country. I certainly wouldn’t complain if every month was like this, for the fishing and weather.

Without question, bream are the most prolific species in our estuaries right now and they’re also usually in good numbers along beaches and around our rocky headlands. During the coming weeks bream begin to feed up, as they put on weight for the coming winter and their spawning duties. In other words, they’re hungry for baits and lures.

As mentioned last month, casting vibes through relatively shallow areas has been my main form of attack through the warmer months and I’m expecting even better results with the same type of lures in the coming weeks. Good rainfall earlier in the year has now set us up for a productive run of bream fishing and if sinking vibes aren’t your favourite thing to throw at bream, they’ll still be smashing surface lures and taking all the usual baits with enthusiasm.

Of course, whiting and flathead remain in full swing this month. Unlike bream, which are more widespread though, you’ll need to be a bit more specific when it comes to these customers. Whiting really love a sandy or silty bottom and while the water is still warm, the majority of whiting will be right up in the shallows. So those sun-warmed flats around The Entrance and various sections of Brisbane Waters are the better areas to cast a small surface lure, worm-like plastic, 30mm vibes or the best thing of all – natural worm baits.

Flathead also love the shallows and they’ll be found alongside the whiting, but they gravitate more towards any sort of edge. This means the edge of a deeper hole or drop off, the edge of a weedbed and rocky edges. Up on the north coast, some of the best flathead habitat is along those lengthy rock walls in the lower sections of rivers. We don’t have walls like that around here, but similar spots exist wherever a rocky shoreline meets a reasonably sandy bottom. The southern side of The Entrance run out, near the mouth is a good example, although it can be a bit difficult to fish properly due to the strong flow, as well as it being a bit snaggy.

Although they’re present in our waterways throughout the year, luderick aren’t normally targeted much until we reach the cooler months. This is partly due to all the bream, flathead and whiting around, but if you’re keen, there’s no reason why a few luderick can’t be caught at The Entrance, Woy Woy or other places around Brisbane Waters right now.

Another very worthwhile pursuit to consider is chasing mulloway in Brisbane Waters and the lower Hawkesbury. There are always a few mulloway poking around from The Rip Bridge, through to Woy Woy and up the Gosford end of the system at this time of year. Most are only schoolies up to a few kilos, but bigger models certainly aren’t out of the question.

Beach fishing for mulloway is another good alternative over the coming months, as we’re getting towards the peak season for them. So apart from actually chasing them, it’s also a good idea to spend as much time as possible stocking up on top quality bait like beachworms and calamari. Unlike other renowned baits like mullet or tailor, both worms and calamari still work perfectly after being frozen for several months or more.

This is all quite convenient as calamari are normally in full swing around our shallow reefs, headlands and rocky outcrops now and right through the autumn months. Last month they were in reasonable numbers, but not that big.

Calamari squid have a rapid growth rate, so as the water begins to cool a touch, closer to April and May, the average size tends to be a lot bigger. The northern stretch of the coast, from Toowoon Bay up to Catherine Hill Bay is very good for calamari, but they can still be caught around Terrigal and Avoca in enough numbers to make up a good feed or bait to put in the freezer.

Rock fishing is also very productive at this time of year. Spinning with metal lures for bonito, frigate mackerel, kings and tailor is favourite activity for many local anglers, including myself. The good thing about March is the ocean water is normally very warm and stable, while the first of those morning westerlies start to kick in, meaning the seas can be quite calm and angler friendly for rock hoppers.

Offshore anglers will also be happier now that the relentless northeasterly winds begin to back off more. This is especially so for those who launch at Norah Head, as the bay becomes a calmer, easier place to launch and retrieve over the coming months.

Although larger predators ranging from sharks to marlin are quite likely right now, the inshore fishing, within 2km from shore can be excellent during March. As is the case with rock fishing, bonito and kingfish are some of the primary species, but anything from tailor to cobia is possible.

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