The tide finally turns
  |  First Published: October 2007

The past few months have been tough for Central Coast anglers but slowly the tide seems to be turning, with more fish kicking into gear as each week passes.

Weather and water temperatures are on the rise now so fishing can only get better.

It's taken a very long time for Tuggerah Lakes to recover from the floods earlier in the year – a lot longer than I would have thought. It seems a huge percentage of the lake's fish food, like shrimp, prawns, small baitfish and other little critters, were washed right out to sea in the flood, leaving little incentive for fish to stick around.

With the widening of The Entrance channel mouth, tides have been much stronger than normal, causing a rise and fall as far up the system as Budgewoi and beyond. Hopefully this has created more of a fish pathway to allow some new fish to move into the lakes.

Some decent tailor and small jewfish have been spotted or caught back in around The Entrance bridge and, with a bit of luck, these fish will penetrate further into the system. At some stage the channel mouth will probably narrow up again.

Through late Winter and early Spring it seems that Brisbane Water and Lake Macquarie have offered estuary anglers a better chance of catching something. Funny that, as they aren't netted like Tuggerah Lakes!

October is normally a top month for flathead so that's what I’ll be chasing over the next couple of months for a feed. Bream, blackfish and jewfish should also be active this month.


As mentioned last month, salmon numbers are in quite a healthy shape. They have shown up at all beaches along the Central Coast over the past few months. North Entrance Beach has probably been the pick of the bunch but that's pretty normal.

Another normal pattern along our beaches at this time of year is inconsistency. One day the surf seems totally barren of all life and the next it's a boiling mass of salmon so thick you could walk across their backs – well, almost.

A few average-sized jewies have also been caught along the beaches and they should become more active about now.

There is a simple formula to catching beach jew: Top quality baits like fresh mullet, pike, tailor or squid, a high tide that peaks at night and pure persistence.

Only very lucky people catch beach jew the first time they try and for most it takes quite a few trips, so don't give up too easily.

Bream and tailor are also on the cards this month with an outside chance of whiting, trevally and small snapper.


Rock fishing in October can be a bit like the beaches, tough one day and good the next.

This largely depends on whether the seas are rough, flat or in-between. We really want the in-between, with the swell around a metre. If it's like that, with a nice bit of wash close in, we can expect drummer, bream and blackfish with the odd tailor, trevally and salmon.

A well mashed-up bread-based berley will do the trick to get drummer fired up and the best baits at this time of year are white bread and green cabbage. Both baits will catch drummer and blackfish but the bread will catch bream, trevally and mullet as well.

If the seas are dead flat, grab some red crab baits and give the groper a try.

Of course, those salmon can be easily caught off the rocks this month by spinning with metal lures or casting pillies on ganged hooks. If you're fishing snaggy spots like Norah Head or South Avoca, simply suspend your pillie about 2m under a torpedo float.


The main species caught offshore over the past few months have been trevally, leatherjackets and a few snapper. A few better kings from 5kg to 12kg have been jigged in deeper water off Terrigal and some salmon and tailor closer in have kept some boats entertained.

We're approaching the time of year when jewfish become more active on the reefs so if you don't mind staying out after sunset, try live pike, live yakkas or fresh squid.

Remember, you generally don't have to go far for jewies. Try the edges of smaller bait reefs or larger inshore reefs not too far out from the beach. The week leading up to the full moon should be the best bet if sea and weather conditions allow.


We may not be blessed with the greatest bass fishing on the Central Coast but the fish are here and should kick into gear as the weather warms up. Wyong and Ourimbah creeks are our main bass spots but if you grab a map and feel like doing some exploring, there are a few other pockets of water in the area that are worth fishing.

I am quite interested to see what the bass fishing is like this Summer after our creeks were given the big flush-out back in June.

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