New Year, new season
  |  First Published: December 2005

With the new year comes the start of a new fishing season on the Central Coast.

Some years ago in this column I wrote that the first six months of the calendar year were better for fishing in this part of the world than the second half of the year and I still reckon it’s true.

The northern part of the NSW coastline tends to receive warm inshore currents by the end of November or early December but here we never seem to get consistently warm water until at least half-way through January.

Over the past six weeks outside water temperatures have fluctuated between 20° and a miserable 14° with dirty green water. It’s certainly not uncommon to get some colder currents moving along the Central Coast in December but cold is around 17°, not 14°!

It’s not surprising that offshore fishing has been very patchy with many anglers who would normally target kings or snapper reverting to the ever-reliable flathead. Some of the lizards have been up to 3kg so you can’t really complain.

A few lucky boaties have struck better times with snapper up to 6kg out wide and kingfish of a similar size closer in. Leatherjackets, trevally, salmon and morwong have made up the rest of the offshore catch.

When the warmer currents do move in we can expect to see an increase in kingfish numbers and bonito over the inshore reefs and mahi mahi out wider with perhaps a marlin or two if we’re lucky.

The rock and beach scene has reflected a similar story with fishing largely dictated by the currents. Some respectable catches of blackfish along the rocks at Catherine Hill Bay, Norah Head and Toowoon Bay have been enjoyed by those picking the right times between the southerly changes and early Summer north-easterly winds. A few solid drummer have also spiced things up for those drifting cabbage baits on light blackfish gear.

Anglers casting pilchards on ganged hooks have been into a few solid salmon along the rocks and beaches with the odd bonus tailor, bream and small snapper here and there.

Spinning with metal lures is another way of connecting with salmon but when things are a bit patchy it’s probably best to stick with the pillies if you really want to catch something.

By the time you’re reading this those cold currents should have been replaced by warmer water and then there’s every chance of tailor, kings or bonito on pilchards or metal lures.


On a brighter, note local estuaries have been fishing quite well as water temperatures rise. In Tuggerah Lakes quite a few flatties have been caught at The Entrance, mainly on the western side of the bridge and out towards the islands.

At night the best area is under The Entrance bridge, although it will be crowded there right through the holiday period.

Flatties are also a chance right through the lakes system, with Budgewoi, Toukley and Lake Munmorah all worth a shot with whitebait, prawns or smaller soft plastics cast along the weed beds and drop-offs.

Early-morning bream are taking lures up the creeks or around the fringes of the lakes between patches of weed. If you want to try baits for the bream, look at spots like The Entrance bridge, Toukley bridge and Budgewoi Channel. Don’t expect too catch much through the middle of the day.

Bait soakers will do better later in the afternoon or through the night. Along with the bream, a few whiting are falling to peeled prawns or worms in the same areas.

If you’re not doing so well in Tuggerah Lakes, do as many others have been doing and fish Brisbane Water or the southern end of Lake Macquarie. I heard one bloke say that if you can’t get a few flathead in Lake Macquarie at the moment, you’re doing something wrong .

January could bring the results you’re looking for but don’t expect to have a spot all to yourself. It is the holiday period and the Central Coast can get quite crowded, particularly during the first week of the month.

My main tip for this month is to fish very early in the morning or at night.

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