Things are really starting to hot up. Muggy nor’-east winds have kicked in and while they’re a pain in the bum for offshore fishing, they herald the start of good things to come.
These annoying winds drive the East Coast Current closer to shore, and good water that was out hundreds of kilometres will slowly be bumped closer to shore to bring all sorts of piscatorial goodies.
First of the northern species to arrive is mahi mahi. These high-fliers tend to hold out a little wider, frequenting any trap boys or Fisheries FADS in 70m and out. Depending on where you fish, water of this depth may only be a few kilometres out. Here at SWR the 36-fathom reefs are only a handy 4km offshore.
Next to arrive are usually small hammerhead sharks. While these aren’t too exciting for local or visiting anglers, they a great sign of things to come. If there are plenty of these strange-looking sharks cruising south you can expect black marlin and Spanish mackerel not too far behind.
Cobia and wahoo also hitch a ride south on the current, arriving off various local ports from mid-December onwards. As soon as the blue water hits the coast, you can expect exciting things to happen on the inshore grounds over much of the coast.
But Summer isn’t all about cranky blue-water species, there are still some quality snapper, pearlies and trag on the reefs and kingfish around the inshore islands.
Rock and beach anglers aren’t left out, with good runs of chopper tailor and silver bream well worth chasing. With the tailor and bream come jewfish, often of a good size and keen to belt any struggling choppers, bream frames or lures you care to throw at them.
Any afternoon tailor or bream session should end with sending out a big bait or lure just on dark. Just make sure to take a gaff if you’re off the rocks or the wall and use gear capable to handle these sizable fish.
The arrival of bath-warm water also adds life to the local estuaries. That first good push of warm water fires up the local flathead, sparking up the tidal flats.
Small mullet, whiting, prawns and various baitfish forage freely in the shallows attracting the flathead. Any tidal flat that holds good populations of nippers is well worth a flick from now on.
Bream anglers also have reason to smile as these feisty silver fish become even keener to pounce on lures and flies. The warm water sees prawn numbers boom and there are few things more exciting to a bream than a wayward prawn.
For keen bream fishos this means all those tidal flats, mangrove-lined creeks and rock bars are well worth a look. And those in the mid-sections of the system are worth even more attention.
For anglers keen to target jewfish, Summer usually means good numbers of smaller fish and some thumping big bruisers as well. The run of school-sized fish of 3kg to 8kg kicks off with the warmer water and every year we seem to get some absolute corkers mixed in with them.
Most of these bigger fish tend to be roed up so you can only assume it’s spawning time in Summer for at least some of the big jewfish.
Bass anglers are in heaven from now until Autumn as virtually any nice sunny day with a rising barometer produces bass in sizes and numbers. I’ve had a few trips up-river this season and so far the fish have been quite co-operative.
It seems they’re biting well right up into the small waters up-river so dust off the canoe and enjoy a little warm-weather bassing. It’s addictive stuff and there are few better ways to spend a balmy afternoon.Reads: 501