Make way for the mulloway!
  |  First Published: August 2016

Winter this year has been a rollercoaster ride with east coast low-pressure systems giving our coastline an absolute pounding. High winds and huge swells have been very common and have caused massive shifts in sand along the beaches, around most of the headlands and in the small local creek systems. These wind conditions have given the fishery a massive shake up and turned it into a fairly productive winter.

The beach fishing has been on fire with many catches of big bream on just about every trip. Tailor, Australian salmon and mulloway have been a reliable target on the beaches and are awesome fun to tangle with on bream gear when fishing from the sand. Grub-tail soft plastic and soft vibe lures around 2-3” have been deadly off the beach this winter and it is amazing just how many species can be caught using them.

Offshore the fishing has been fairly good when the conditions allow safe access with pearl perch, teraglin and pigfish all coming out of 80m quite regularly of good size and in numbers. Big snapper have been caught on the shallower reef systems of Grassy Head and Point Plommer, with early mornings during the midweek when boat traffic is low the best time to target these bigger fish.

Good catches of deep-water fish have been coming in from out wide throughout winter for anglers that are flexible enough to drop everything and go when the conditions are right. Bar cod, bass groper and blue eye trevalla are just three species that you will encounter when fishing with electric reels out wide from our coastline.

Winter just would not be winter without big mulloway around. This species is responsible for countless numbers of fishers spending long freezing cold nights, hanging onto heavy gear waiting to tangle with these fish. Fortunately this year has not let us down. The good news is that you do not always have to brave the winter nights as plenty of good fish are spun up during the daylight hours using large soft plastic and hardbodied lures. The beaches, headlands and the lower reaches of the river have all been holding good-sized mulloway, with the latter especially productive immediately after a fresh has gone through the system. The river rock walls are also home to a population of big bream. Lightly weighted fresh baits are absolutely dynamite on this exceptionally wary species of fish.

Smithtown has held a lot of flathead and a huge population of schooling bass. These fish will begin to migrate back upstream any time now as we move towards the bass season re-opening on September 1.

Consistent catches of tailor have come in from the stones and the majority of these fish are in the 1-2kg range although there is definitely fish up to about 4kg in the schools. Smaller metal lures around 3-4” in length have been the best option rather than larger lures and on some days the only way to draw a strike is by using lightly weighted pilchards and garfish either slow wound or just left drifting in the wash.

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