If pressed to nominate my favourite month of the year for fishing and anything else for that matter, April is definitely in the top spot. We’ve still got all the warm water angling options, without those persistent onshore northeasterly winds, heat or humidity of recent weeks. Sure, you’ll have to start rugging up of a morning from this point on, but the days tend to be quite pleasant and the fishing can be red-hot.
Mullet and garfish are normally in good supply along the beaches, headlands, protected bays and bommies this month. So it’s no wonder that April is normally quite productive for kingfish and mulloway. Although the techniques may vary, both species respond well to freshly caught calamari squid and if it’s alive, with a couple of carefully placed hooks then no kingfish will refuse the offering.
In the past, I used to fish the rocks for kings quite a lot around the local ledges at this time of year and always found a live garfish to be irresistible kingfish bait. While a live yakka will work, a garfish is much more of a sure bet. Having said that, if catching livies is proving difficult, don’t throw back any small sweep or mados you catch. Kings will go for them as well, especially the brightly striped mados!
As mentioned last month, mulloway become quite active along the beaches at this time of year. The formula is simple; a high tide that peaks within a few hours after sunset, a good gutter close to shore, with plenty of foam around it, with a clear channel running out to sea and then it’s only a matter of having a good bait in the water, cast close to the edge of the foamy water, rather than out in the middle of the more settled looking, deeper water in the middle of the gutter. The most likely times a mulloway will pick up the bait is about 30 minutes after the sun sets, as well as right on the tide change. So be sure to have your best baits in the water at those peak times.
Tailor really pick up along the beaches and around the headlands this month and some solid specimens a possibility, as they too are attracted to the mullet and other baitfish that are abundant at this time of year. Although they’ll bite right through the night, tailor use that low light period just after sunset or prior to sunrise to feed up heavily.
Of course, a few salmon should also be expected among the tailor. While it’s not peak sambo season for another couple of months yet, they do start to increase in numbers from this point onwards. With all this action going on, bream, flathead and others are likely to move in looking for scraps. So consider a tailor or sambo feeding frenzy as berley for bream and you should score a few this month.
Lure casting from the rocks will not only result in tailor or salmon, but quite a few bonito should still be around, with the chance of a kingfish or mac tuna. Smaller frigate mackerel are normally at their best this month and into May and they’ve provided plenty of fun for those using lighter tackle at Terrigal Haven for decades. They do however, move into other similar bays along the coast and I’ve caught them from the beach at North Entrance, Pelican Point and Hargraves Beach over the years.
I often take a spinning outfit and a blackfish outfit to the rocks at this time of year. The first hour is spent casting lures and then depending on the degree of action, the next couple of hours are spent drifting green cabbage or bread baits under a float. Blackfish are the main species encountered, but sometimes bream can dominate the catch when using bread baits. Drummer, trevally and mullet may also snatch a few baits. So this strategy can result in plenty of action, with a variety of species.
With so much action along the rocks, beaches and inshore reefs this month, let’s not forget that bream are also in full swing in the lakes and Brisbane Waters as well. Most of the bigger fish will be found in the lower reaches, towards the mouth, so that means from Woy Woy, across to St Huberts Island, down past the Rip Bridge and towards Wagstaffe and of course The Entrance.
Flathead, whiting, blackfish and mulloway are other species well worth considering if bream aren’t one of your favourites. Now, let’s just hope we don’t experience a repeat of the intense weather system that wiped us out last April. Fingers crossed for the more stable weather that is more the norm at this time of year.Reads: 830