Time to rumble in the racks
  |  First Published: May 2017

There is little doubt that May is a month of heavyweight bream in the lower part of the system. There is a transition happening from estuary to coast for a lot of mature bream to spawn. There are always a few fish that stall at the gates and hang around the leases in the Paddock and the Wallamba River mouth just getting fat. Remember, this transition of fish through the entrance doesn’t happen overnight, but don’t waste time either. There is probably a three week window before things get back to normal at the end of the month.

The bridge is worth some attention with it being a significant staging area for travelling bream. The pylons of the bridge are at their best during slack water or when there’s just a trickle of tide to stir things up along the bottom.

As well as bream there will be a few flathead lingering around the depressions at the base of the bridge supports. The Tuncurry Channel, from the bridge to the breakwall, has had a good population of the flathead breeding stock tucked up against the bottom edge of the stonework. A mate told me they were stacked like pancakes over each other, and that there were metre plus fish all over the place. I guess leaving them alone while they are breeding is a good idea, but by now they should be done with their business. Please practise catch and release with the big girls. It’s the smaller males that are hanging around the big flatties that are more of an interest to me, and they are way easier to attract with lures too.

Continuing along the breakwall, the travelling fish have only one way to the ocean and many will make the run of an evening. They will also take the time to dine on their way, so yabby or prawn baits drifted on light running sinker rigs are the go. As for luderick, they should be well-established targets along the wall by now too.

No rocky start

The rock fishing is shaping up for a good season if the early reports keep up. Plenty of cobia have been caught on live bait and heaps of mac tuna and bluefin are hitting the baits. Sometimes the sharks are hitting them. Last year was bad for sharks; let’s hope it isn’t another year of disappointingly shortened trophy fish. The LBG is looking good, but please if you carry rubbish into the areas, carry it out. It was disgusting the amount of rubbish and crap that was left on popular rock platforms last year and it wasn’t just the easily accessed spots either.

More importantly the bread and butter fish of tailor, pigs, bream and blackfish are likely to be the start of a mixed bag from the rocks. I like May for the odd school mulloway from the rock at the ends of beaches like Janies, Bluey and the Shark. Get there early enough for a soft plastic spin and as the sun rises get a berley trail of bread going and attract the pigs and bream.

The lake

It has been a great year for blue swimmer and mud crabs, and the season isn’t quite done yet. The rains at the end of March have stirred them up and there have been good muddies coming in from the Wallamba River and around Bandicoot Island, close to the mangrove edges. The blue swimmers have been coming from the North West area of Wallis Island and the main lake past the Step.

There are still shoals of garfish hanging around the shallow weed beds. If you’re interested in collecting bait for tailor later in the year, get on them. With a bit of bread berley drifted on the first of the run-in tide you should be set.

Don’t forget that the zero possession restrictions on bass and estuary perch come into effect this month. For dedicated bass anglers this restriction doesn’t affect them, as all bass are released as a matter of course. Remember it is not a closed season, it doesn’t close any waterway from fishing and it includes the freshwater well away from where fish spawn.

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