Outrunning the unpredictable October weather
  |  First Published: October 2016

Everything’s warming up nicely along the Central Coast, with a noticeable improvement on most fishing fronts in recent weeks. Despite the more pleasant temperatures, October weather is notoriously unstable, with plenty storms and wind to hamper your efforts.

Perhaps the best way of ensuring things go to plan is to fish early in the morning, rather than an afternoon or evening mission. Spring storms and northeasterly winds normally spark up during the latter part of the day, so a morning session is a safer bet. This is especially so when fishing the lakes or more open bodies of water that are more wind affected.

Whiting are back on the hit list and they’re reasonably active in the lakes and Brisbane Waters at the moment. Although they can be caught during any month of the year, once water temperatures rise, so does the whitings’ metabolism. Places like the tidal flats in Patonga Creek, Brisbane Waters and the sandier parts around the Entrance all house whiting at this time of year. I’ve already been into a few decent ones in the lakes.

Bream fishing is picking right up now, as it has done over the past six weeks. More of the larger models have either come back in, or are on their way from the ocean after spawning. With the water much warmer, they are also easier to tempt with surface lures, especially around the darker moon when prawns are more abundant.

As was the case right through last spring, summer and autumn, I’ve still been enjoying great success by casting small vibes like the Daiwa Tournament Baby Vib 47s and Ecogear ZX30. However, pretty much all popular bream lures will do the job over the coming weeks.

It’s largely a matter of experimentation. Keep an eye on weather and water temperatures to get an idea of what to try first. The general guideline in this part of the world is surface lures at first light, then as the sun gets higher, switch over to deeper lures. The warmer the water, the better surface lures work. If we cop a decent cold front or heavy rains then deeper lures, particularly vibes and Gulps are a better bet.

Of course, good old bait can still be more reliable than lure fishing if the main aim is catching a feed or if you’re inclined to fish one spot from the bank rather than be mobile. Our waterways are full of smaller pick bream, so bait often works better at night when a lot of the little fish aren’t so active.

Flathead are another excellent fish to chase this month with baits or lures. As usual, the Entrance is very productive for pan-sized flatties. The bottom end of Lake Macquarie or Woy Woy, Ettalong and Wagstaffe are all good for a better class of fish.

Rock fishing through August and September wasn’t as good as it could be this year. From my observations, we copped too much in the way of northwesterly winds and the inshore water was often a fishless, clear green colour. Even sambos and groper can become harder to catch in that sort of water and I found toadfish to be in plague proportions. Still, there were a few reasonable days here and there, when salmon, tailor, blackfish, bream and drummer were in a cooperative mood.

October isn’t the greatest month for rock fishing, but from experience in previous years, it can produce the goods. Salmon should still be around in numbers, so they’re probably going to be the first fish to snatch pilchard baits. A few bream can be around the rocks as well as the odd tailor. Trevally and mulloway are in some spots, so it’s definitely worth trying baits or lures for those species.

Closer in around the washes, luderick and drummer are worth pursuing with cabbage, cunje, bread or prawn baits, along with a chance of groper, bream and trevally. Due to those pesky toadfish, I stick with bread, cabbage or crab baits, rather than prawns or cunje. The sweet scent of prawns and cunje, being very soft baits, means toads will strip the bait all too quickly.

Beach fishing is picking up, but it can be patchy until the true warmer water pushes in through summer months. Once again, sambos are going to be the main fish encountered in the surf zone during October. Others like bream, whiting, tailor and mulloway are a definite possibility.

As previously mentioned, mornings can be more stable this time of year, so offshore anglers should set the alarm nice and early, rather than gamble on an evening session. We’re in between seasons right now, so much like rock and beach fishing, it can be hit and miss. There’s always a chance of snapper, trevally and rat kings in close, or better kings and tuna out wide this month.


Whiting are back on the hit list now. They’ll take a variety of baits and lures in our local waterways.


The author caught this luderick off the rocks at Norah Head, but a few luderick should still be taking weed baits in the lakes or Brisbane Waters.


Although salmon are more likely along our rocks and beaches, a few tailor can be expected as well.

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