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April makes for a fishing Shoalhaven
  |  First Published: April 2016



April – I love it! It’s got to be the best month of the year for fishing, hands down! Mulloway on the beaches, big black bream in our estuaries, drummer off the rocks and the hint of winter in the air to indicate that the trout spawning season is about to kick off down Eucumbene and Jindabyne.

What trout?

You may think the latter option I’ve mentioned is way out left field for a south coast of NSW fishing report, but the fact is many anglers from the Nowra area travel each year to the Snowy region in search of these trophy trout. It really is an achievable option for a weekend trip with about a 3-4 hour drive to good waters. It’s just another option for keen fishers looking for something outside the normality of the saltwater scene we are accustomed to. Give it some thought – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! But for now let’s head back to the coast!

Coastal dreaming

St Georges Basin is one fishery you really want to concentrate on. In recent years there has been a notable increase in catches of better than average snapper during the months leading up to winter. Fish up to around 6kg have been caught over the past seasons. This season is shaping up to be a good one with some nice fish caught in recent weeks. Apart from these snapper, tailor are still on the chew, with some in excess of 90cm giving anglers one hell of a thrill peeling line and changing direction as quick as a flash! Both these species take the occasional lure meant for a bream or flathead, but if you really want to target them use whole pilchard floated back in a berley trail under the cover of darkness. Apart from the tailor and snapper, autumn is a great time for big black bream in the Basin. Not counting where Sussex Inlet runs into the Basin, there are two major creeks and several smaller ones that feed the Basin and all hold good numbers of these bream. The mouths of these creeks are also worth a cast or two before heading upstream, as most of the entrances are shallow. If you look hard enough you can often see big fish cruising the shallows, sometimes even tailing in the nearby weed beds searching for a feed. In this situation, long casts are the order of the day as calm conditions and shallow clear water can make the bream extra cautious when out and about away from their normal cover.

Shoalhaven/Crookhaven

Since that good dump of rain several weeks ago the river has really come to life. Bream are through the majority of the system from the entrance down to Greenwell Point, through the Canal and right up to Nowra Bridge and there is plenty of size about them with good numbers in the 35-40cm mark. Chris Neville stands by one of his favourite and most successful techniques – using live nippers on either a 3g No.1 jighead, or a 5g No.1 jighead depending on the current anchored up and then fished back into the school. The occasional small mulloway also chimes in on the action putting the bream gear well and truly through its paces.

If you’re after a bigger mulloway in the month of April, it’s time to start spending those long lonely nights on the beaches. Last season was a very lean one for mulloway off the beaches, with very few big fish caught but this season looks promising with a couple of decent fish taken recently. It might even be time for me to dust of the old ABU 7000, coupled with my trusty FSU4120 Snyder – maybe even a new spool of mono. I prefer mono for mulloway fishing as it gives you that extra peace of mind when getting a large fish into the shore break, a little bit of stretch can mean all the difference between getting a fish or not. When I’m kitted up I’ll head to my favourite location and ponder the night away while I wait for that fish of a lifetime!

I’ll catch up with you all again next month and hopefully have a tale to tell of a big mulloway. Stay safe and be good.

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