A long goodbye
  |  First Published: June 2016

It has been a long autumn season with a lot of straggling bait balls and pelagic species belting around, as we slip into June. Tonnes of mullet were still staging around the leases until the middle of last month and bream were still hitting surface up the rivers. With a flush of fresh and a cooling of water temperatures, there should be some normality brought back to the winter season.

The live baiting and spinning from the rocks for blues, mackerel tuna and even the odd Spanish mackerel has been insane, with one of the best years for tuna and worst season for sharks shortening the catch. The sharks follow the fish getting involved in feeding on the bait balls. I had a 6kg mack chewed in half at my feet the other day, and it was a little unexpected. While the surface and live bait action will dwindle, there is always a chance, early this month, to tangle with some speedsters from the rocks. Even if the tuna abandon you, there will be chopper tailor up to a 1kg to keep you entertained. I also had a report of a couple of salmon caught on Seven Mile Beach, which is always a sign that winter is on its way.

For more bread and butter fishing from the rocks, the pigs are in full swing, along with some sizable bream and plenty of legal sized groper. I like to use a good amount of bread for berley in early season pig fishing, and at less than a dollar a loaf from Woolies it won’t break the bank. Early morning and even soft plastic fishing in the deeper gutters, behind bommies and rocky holes may produce a decent mulloway. The north end of Elizabeth Beach is a great spot to try, and a few fish taken casting back to the beach side. Reports of blackfish have been thick, which isn’t surprising – and it won’t be long before their move north will envelop the headlands closer to Forster. I can feel a night potholing session will be on the cards soon, and the best bait for luderick after dark are yabbies pumped from the lake.

The beaches will have transient tailor and salmon schools cruising the shore break, with a change of tide and a bit of moon there may be a chance at a big mulloway if you’re lucky. I do find a late afternoon beach fish relaxing until the night air starts to freeze and my feet go numb, so don’t expect too much first hand information from the sand after dark.

What I am looking forward to is the number of big bream that hang around the lower section of the lake. Winter is a fantastic time to target that PB bream in and around the structures of Wallis Lake. While the fishing can be slower than the summer months and the weather cold, the chances of finding a big blue nose that wants a slow rolled hardbodied lure are good. The flathead and whiting tend to retract further into the estuaries and rivers, though flathead will still be found around the flats and weeds along the channels and oyster leases.

The breakwalls will fish well of an evening for big bream, some blackfish and school mulloway on plastic or live bait. There are still mullet in the lake that are staging to head to the coast so the mulloway will hang around. Some fish are moving into the rivers, especially the Wallamba, and I’ve sounded and recorded a deep hole where I know they are holding up. A retired commercial has given me a few other spots to try, so my winter mission is to extract a fish or two from the river – stay tuned.

All in all, it is a great month and start to the cooler months and for my money I’d be hitting the rock to tangle with the tailor, bream, blackfish and pigs. Offshore the spotties have been good and the odd Spanish mackerel has livened up the deck. The pan size snapper and sand flathead have been playing the game, as have the teraglin on the northern ground but you need to fish the moon and tide change to catch them.

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