It’s that time of year when things change for most forms of angling. The weather is starting to cool and so is the water, however, the fish start to chew harder before everything gets too cold.
For those who like the big stuff, the game fishing is excellent, for at this stage of the season we see species mix as marlin season drifts into the tuna season, and it looks like a good one. At the moment, we are still seeing plenty of marlin as a result of warm water this season, and this is likely to continue right through April. Areas like the Twelve Mile Reef out to the Continental Shelf through to the Kink have been most productive for the marlin, while out wider over the Canyons, some big blue marlin have been raised.
Mahimahi are on offer due to those warmer waters and anglers who are trolling a range of lures are encountering these fish regularly. Mixing in are some school size yellowfin tuna, along with plenty of stripies, plus an early season albacore or two.
For those who like things on a smaller scale, Montague Island has been fishing well all season and now as we see the crossover period, anglers can expect the good run of kingfish to increase in size with the larger winter kings moving in. There is also the bonito to consider, with these fish being prolific.
The fishing all along the coast has been excellent, not only for boaties, but also for the shore-based angler fishing from the stones, especially those who like to work lures. Salmon are also a great option, with plenty on offer for the shore-based anglers. The salmon are plentiful along the beaches for anglers who choose the sand to fish, and mixed in with them are some very nice tailor, the odd mulloway, gummy and small whaler sharks of a night, while the shallower gutters are offering plenty of bream, whiting and mullet.
Reef fishing has been a little slow recently, although it’s is now on the improve as the weather cools. Snapper are increasing in numbers, with most reefs harbouring their share, although south of Goalen Head is the more productive area. Other species like morwong, ocean perch and pigfish are increasing in number, while for those who wish to target flathead can expect plenty of sand flatties out from most beaches in and around 30m water depth where the odd gummy shark may also be encountered. In the deep water, tiger flatties are plentiful all the way out to the Twelve Mile Reef, where many of those other reef fish can be found.
Sadly, due to a lack of rain this summer and autumn the estuary systems are starting to suffer a little, although it doesn’t mean there is no fishing. It’s just a bit tougher and you have to work a little harder.
Wallaga Lake has now closed to the ocean, and with no tidal flow the fishing will be harder. If you are going to persist fishing the lake, concentrate your efforts in the shallows over the flats where bream, whiting, flathead and luderick will patrol looking for some of the small prawns, nippers, worms and shellfish that inhabit these areas.
The other option you have is to look into estuaries that are open to the ocean like the Bermagui River, where the tidal influence will bring a food supply to the fish. Areas like near both boat ramps are good places to start, as there is many fish frames like tuna, marlin and kingfish thrown into the water, creating a constant berley trail, so anglers using fleshy fish as bait may have some interesting fishing.Reads: 549