Snap out of the cold and into some snapper!
  |  First Published: August 2016

Let’s kick August off on a positive note! I’m sure it’s going to be a windy month, it’s going to be cold and I’m positive that by now we are all looking forward to spring and summer. August is typically the windiest month for NSW with cold gusty westerly winds sweeping across the state bringing icy air from the alpine region.

Sadly the south coast is right in the path of these often destructive winds, but this August with a little bit of luck we may dodge them due to the earlier westerly blows of May, June and July. Apart from these winds, we also had yet another flood. As bad as the flood was for the poor souls who copped the brunt of them, they often have a great effect for the future fishing. You’ve just got to look back to the flood last year and the fishing that followed. The Shoalhaven River has never fished so well, especially for mulloway! And what about that prawn season in Lake Wollumbulla? With the lake opening again we hopefully might see a repeat – if it wasn’t too early for the prawn spawn. Fingers-crossed on that one!

Pre-flood the Shoalhaven upstream of the Nowra Bridge and right up past the ski park had a good mix of species on the go including flatties, bream, whiting and even the odd salmon. Now with the water beginning to clear these species are slowly making their way back upstream. Currently the Nowra Bridge pylons on the run-in tide are producing some good catches with blades on the deeper or northern side working well. Soft plastics do the job on the shallower southern side, but you’ll have to avoid the trolleys, which magically find their way to the water too often.

Bream and flathead are the main targets around the bridge, however they are usually outnumbered by the hundreds of estuary perch hanging around the pylons – remember if you catch these guys accidently you must return them to the water as soon as possible, as it is still closed season for this species.

Around Greenwell Point the river produces some bumper blackfish on squirt worms fished on the bottom. A simple rig of a number 6 hook with a small running ball sinker and some fluorocarbon leader of around 6lb is really all you need to catch blackfish, as long as you have fresh squirt worms.

Offshore we’ve had a pretty wild time since about May with weeks on end where nobody has been able to get out. The ever-elusive yellowfin are hard enough to find without the weather gods being so unkind! Those who have been out mainly stick in close chasing reds and having some success. There have been plenty of squid around all the rocky headlands making fresh bait easy to catch. If you’ve got fresh squid and some good quality pilchards in the esky when you head out then you will be in for a win! By now the new artificial reef that was put off Shoalhaven Heads will be well worth a try for snapper among other species as an eco-system has started to form in this area and attracts bait schools. We all know, where there is bait there is bigger fish, and with not too much other structure nearby this area should be a growing Mecca for bigger fish to get a feed.

Jervis Bay had a good run of squid and combined with a big stir up from the east coast low-pressure systems this has led to some good snapper showing up. Shallow water plastic fishing has become an exciting option for some anglers. The Berkley Gulp 5” Jerkshad is my number one plastic for snapper fishing in Jervis Bay and has accounted for umpteen big reds over the past seasons as well as this one! Pearl white or the BBQ chicken colour are the proven fish takers and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both these colours look like a piece of squid or cuttlefish drifting down through the water column when fished with a light jighead around the 1/8oz or 1/4oz size.

Hands up who’s looking forward to spring? I know I am, can’t wait to get the canoe on the water and chase some early season bass.

Until then – Johnny out!

Photo courtesy of LenOz Photography.


Photo courtesy of LenOz Photography.

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