The slowing of currents off our coastlines will trigger the annual humpback whale migration and with the whales come the winter species. Cobia and kingfish will shadow these giants of the sea and it is always worth having a rod set up with a stickbait or a metal for a quick cast around the back of these beasts, which can often lead to good hook-ups. Keep in mind there is a 100m no-approach zone around the whales.
The winter reef species are starting to gather on close reefs to spawn and the rivers are filling with winter estuary species.
Snapper are the go-to species of the month with good numbers taken on most of the close reefs. Drift baiting half pilchards or strip baits is one of your best bets for a feed. Fishing 3-5” plastics on a 1/4oz jighead can be really irresistible to these pink crushers and it’s a great way to fill in time while drift baiting. Small micro and octo-jigs in 20-80g also work well on the close reefs and can be very productive while drift baiting too. It can never hurt having a rod set ready in case the plastics aren’t working.
Fidos, 5-Mile, South Reef, Cook Island, Mud Hole, 9-Mile Reef and Kingscliff Reef have all produced good fish recently. Kingfish, GTs, cobia and longtail tuna are frequent visitors to 9-Mile Reef this month. Anglers are having a ball with large stickbaits, poppers, metals, jigs, plastics, hardbodied lures and live baits set on a downrigger.
With the slowing of the currents we are able to bottom bash and fish the 24, 36 and 50 fathoms with baits, jigs and plastics, which are producing some quality eating fish like pearl perch, Venus tuskfish, leatherjackets and snapper. Use 100-200g jigs, 1-2oz jigheads and a 5-7” plastic with 4-12oz of lead for bottom bashing as this will put you in the right zone and onto fish. Reports of frigate mackerel, mac tuna, slimy mackerel, tailor, pike, yakkas and bonito have come from the Bait Ground, Point Reef, Snapper Reef and Kirra Reef, if you need bait.
It’s all about the mulloway, bream, GTs and flathead this month, with good numbers of big fish taken. Bridges and rock walls are the go for a good mulloway or bream. Big sand flats, weed beds and rock walls are producing large flathead.
Large 7” plastics and live baits will catch mulloway this month. Try the breakwalls at the mouth, Boyds Bay Bridge, Tumbulgum Bridge, Barneys Point Bridge, the Piggery and the tide marker hole out in Terronora for the best results on a mulloway.
Bream are thick around the bridges, rock walls, holes and boat harbours. Try an unweighted bait or light weighted plastic on 6lb line around the trawlers for a bit of fun.
Decent flathead will be around this month. Try the banks in the Terronora, Cobaki, Ukerebagh Island, the Piggery and Chinderah Bay. Using 3” plastics is still the go for a big girl, but remember most flathead are female over 55cm. Treat these big girls with respect and let them go to reproduce.
GTs and big-eyes have been caught around the mouth of Jack Evans Boat Harbour, Boyds Bay Bridge, Barneys Point Bridge and Cobaki Bridge. Live herring and bladed lures at night are working best for these speedsters.
A few little chopper tailor are starting to show up now. A small metal or plastic worked in the river current lines and fast across the top can be really productive and really fun.
Lots of good gutters have formed right down the coast and around most of the rock walls and headlands from Currumbin beachfront to Byron Bay. These areas are holding good numbers of dart, tailor, bream, flathead and mulloway. Soaking a whole pilly on a set of gang hooks is still the best way to catch a greenback. Big plastics worked around river mouths are catching good mulloway and flathead. Try 20-60g metals for dart and tailor. Try a half pilly on a single hook if you are having problems setting hooks.
It’s now closed season for bass in NSW. This means a no-take policy on bass and perch anywhere in NSW, but all isn’t lost. It’s actually a good time to target bass while they are schooling up and headed downstream to the salt to spawn.
Try rocky points near holes, areas where saltwater and freshwater meet, and weir walls. Dams will still fish well right through the month. Try baits such as worms, bugs and maggots with a small weight in deep water instead of artificial lures for your best chance of a winter bass. Try finding the school on your sounder before you fish. It makes life so much easier.
As the month moves on we’ll see even more snapper, pearlies, tuskies, kings and cobia. These fish will thicken and come to the close reefs and headlands. Mulloway and bream will be in better numbers around the rock walls, close reefs, holes, bridges and beach gutters. Tailor will start to run in better numbers up the coast. Keep an eye out for the running schools of mullet. Tailor sit off the back of these pods. The whales will also get more frequent in the coming months.Reads: 674