Winding lines in the thick of winter
  |  First Published: June 2017

It seemed to take a little longer to cool off this year, but now we’re well and truly in the icy grip of winter. Thankfully though, June is still an excellent time for various forms of fishing in our part of the world. Let’s take a look at what can be expected over the coming weeks.

Beach fishing has been particularly good through the second half of autumn and that trend should continue well into June. A good mixed lot of species have been caught by anglers casting baits or lures into the surf, with the main customers being tailor, salmon, bream and sharks. Some decent mulloway have also been caught here and there, although not with any sort of consistency. The biggest I’ve heard of recently was 22kg, but it’s quite likely that other bigger fish have been caught as well.

There have been problems with big swell and a lack of decent beach formations at times. It’s frustrating when you know there are fish around, you’ve got the bait and time, then turn up at the beach only to see one big line of shore dump. The best strategy when this happens is to jump back in the car and head towards one end of the beach where rocks or a headland provide some structure and potential hidey holes for the fish.

Historically, some of the biggest tailor and mulloway are caught during the early stages of winter, so it’s well worth rugging up and fishing after sunset with top-notch baits this month. Be prepared for salmon to move in and waste your valuable mulloway baits though, as sambos always build up in numbers at this time of year.

Rock fishing can really fire through June, with sambos also being a common capture for those casting pilchards or flesh baits. Tailor fishing from the rocks can be a productive affair as well. The key here is to be on the rocks before sunrise and present baits or lures close to or in amongst some white wash. Tailor really love the shallow churned up water around points and broken, scattered rocks or reef. This is where casting a surface popper at first light can be a good technique and much less prone to snagging up than a metal lure or pilchard bait.

June is definitely one of the best months for chasing luderick from our local ledges. Some years May, July or even August can be better, but mostly June is the most reliable and consistent. The traditional approach with green cabbage baits under a float rarely fails if the fish are present, but sometimes using baits of white bread presented closer to the surface can be more fun and just as productive. Unlike chasing tailor, this is more about fishing a rising tide than being concerned about the time of day.

Over the years, some of my biggest bream have been caught on bread baits off the rocks in June. Relatively light gear has been used to target them, but all knots need to be tied well. Use high quality carbon hooks and a super abrasion resistant leader down at the business end.

The Central Coast is blessed with some of the very best rock fishing spots along the entire NSW coastline, but my pick has always been the stretch from Red Ochre up to Catho. This takes in the infamous Wybung Head and Snapper Point, so in other words, be very careful and avoid fishing altogether if the seas are rough.

Offshore fishing can also be excellent in these early weeks of winter. Inshore anglers are likely to find big numbers of silver trevally, especially when a light berley trail wafts down from the boat. The main downside of our local trevally fishing is the average size of the fish just isn’t what it used to be, so sifting through plenty of small fish to get the better ones is a standard affair. A plus is the fact that other species like snapper, bream and rat kingfish often get in on the act, so a good mixed bag of table fish is the likely result.

Out wider it’s all about the kingfish jigging. Bonito have been mixed in with them. Local anglers who head out there each winter are familiar with the problems associated with jigging around the Perch Grounds, Texas and other reef systems in the 70-120m range. The first of those problems can be westerly winds that may be strong enough to prevent you heading out in the first place.

However, it’s quite common that these winds blow stronger first thing in the morning, so delaying the launch until 9am or so can be a strategy to consider. Once out there, the other main problems come in the form of pesky sharks, seals and the dreaded line snipping leatherjackets. On a good day, kings and bonito will more than make up for any hassles!

Back inside calmer waters, bream and luderick are on the chew right now, with the Entrance being one of the main hotspots. Bream have been in pretty good numbers around the lakes, but their size isn’t that great. Still though, enough fish can be caught for some fun or the dinner table and the odd bigger bream is always possible.

All good things come to an end. Unfortunately, this is my last central coast column with NSW Fishing Monthly. Since the very first issue, way back in 1994, I’ve had the pleasure of working under several different editors, including Jacqui Thomas and they’ve all been great.

One person who’s always been there though is Steve Morgan. I’ll take this opportunity to thank Steve and let it be known that I knew him before my association with Fishing Monthly or fishing writing in general. Steve really is one of this country’s greatest and most forward thinking anglers and a genuinely nice bloke. Goodbye Steve and tight lines to all the loyal readers out there.

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