The time has now arrived for the winter woollies. I always look forward to the cooler months with the fresh mornings spent heading up the river chasing bream or out wide chasing snapper.
That first cup of hot steaming coffee in the morning certainly helps to get rid of those Winter chills. This is the first of the months when we can specifically target our winter species on the Tweed and their numbers will increase as we find ourselves moving into June and July.
Last year we experienced one of the best bream seasons in a long time.
I think if we get one half as good this year we could be well pleased. Massive schools of bream took up residence around the river mouth and stayed there for a few months and let’s hope we can look forward to the action from this month.
The northern and southern breakwalls are the pick of the winter bream spots. The coffee rock reefs around the Jack Evans Boat Harbour and well as the rock walls heading up the Tweed and Terranora arms are also worth a flick.
All the spots in the lower reaches with deep structure will start to hold bream in May. Fishing these with herring, yabbies or pieces of pilchard is a good way to get bream with a by-catch of the odd flathead or whiting.
Always try to fish as light as possible because the bigger fish are generally a lot more wary than the smaller school fish. If the smaller bream are chewing up the bait and not giving the bigger fish a chance, upsize the bait or use live herring or small poddy mullet, which usually produce the bigger specimens.
If you are a keen lure fisho, then a deep plastic is always a deadly Winter technique. Plastics of 3” to even 5” fished on 1/12oz to 1/4oz jig heads over the coffee rock reefs and rock walls are the go.
The new mini vibration lures are taking their fair share of deep bream and shouldn’t be overlooked. They can be fished a bit faster through the water column and are great for covering ground to find active schools of fish.
Popular models are the Lucky Craft Spin Board and the TT Switchblade. Keep a lure retriever handy if you get one of these little lures snagged.
Bream aren’t the only target species in winter; we should see the return of blackfish in good numbers. It is always fairly noticeable when they have arrived because many of the rock walls and bridges are lined with anglers targeting these fish with long rods, floats and weed. Many of the spots are easily accessible by foot, although many serious luderick fishos prefer to find their own spots away from the crowds.
You can learn a lot about how to catch these fish by simply going down to the river and watching a few of the older blokes fishing.
Early winter is generally when a few wild bass show up in the upper reaches of the Tweed. The odd one seems to be caught while chasing bream but they can be targeted by casting small deep-divers or poppers around the snags. Remember to upgrade the leader as these fish are very strong and can bury your lure in the snag before you can react.
The offshore currents should start to slow down substantially, this month giving us all a chance to get stuck into the reefies. We can expect to find pearl perch, trag, snapper, kings and sambos on reefs in 36 to 50 fathoms.
May is generally a good month to break out the jigging gear if you are keen to get your arms stretched. Dropping 300g Chaos Jigs to the bottom and jigging them back up with an erratic retrieve is often tough for any of the Seriola family to resist.
If this sounds a bit too strenuous for you then dropping a live yakka or slimy mackerel down is just as good.
Bring on winter and the all the great fishing that comes with it.Reads: 715