Fishing on all fronts has greatly improved as we move through Summer and it should continue that way over the next few months.
Warmer currents have been pushing down the coast, bringing bait and predators. At the time of writing a sprinkling of marlin have been hooked out wide and hopefully by the time you’re reading this the beakies would have thickened up and moved closer inshore, where the average small-boat angler has a reasonable chance of success.
The East Coast Current has also delivered mahi mahi and kingfish in numbers. I must point out, though, that a lot of the kings are only little rats hovering around the legal size but there are enough fish from 3kg to 7kg to reward boaties with a feed. Bigger bruisers are always a chance, particularly for those using larger live baits or heading out wide to jig the deep water with all those fancy heavy jigs we now see on the tackle shop shelves.
While on the subject of kingfish lures, all the hype surrounding deep-water jigging has thrown a shadow over other ways to tackle kings with artificials.
In water less than 30 metres or around inshore reefs and bommies, large soft plastics can work wonders. The 15cm Storm Wildeye Shad and 15cm Atomic Jerk Minnow are some you could start off with, but any large plastic is worth a try as kings really do go for them.
I would go as far to say that the bigger and more silly-looking the plastic is, the more the kings seem to get fired up !
Big leatherjackets, some reasonable reddies, flathead, bream and bonito are other fish that have been active offshore over recent weeks. This month we can expect to see an increase in bonito and small tuna numbers and, hopefully, the bigger fish will follow them.
Rock fishing has also produced kings for those casting metal lures or soaking baits like whole pillies, garfish or squid. Again, some of the kings caught from local rock platforms like Avoca, Terrigal and Wybung can be quite small and should be thrown back to grow up and fight another day.
February is nearly always the best month for high-speed spinning with metal lures from the same rock platforms, as well as Catherine Hill Bay, Snapper, Norah Head and Winney Bay.
Along with kings, bonito are the main targets. There are heaps of good metal lures that will catch kings and bonito but it remains hard to go past the good old half by quarter. Remember that the faster you crank these lures back, the more fish you’ll hook.
Central Coast beaches have been yielding jewfish for those who put in the effort with fresh squid, big beachworms or fresh tailor or mullet baits. At the time of writing the biggest I’ve heard of was a 20kg specimen caught on one of the northern beaches, although the majority are between 5kg and 10kg. Just keep persisting and eventually your turn will come.
Estuary fishing has been quite productive with water temps peaking around 24°. Bream, flathead, whiting and jewfish have been caught in Brisbane Water, Tuggerah Lakes and lower Lake Macquarie.
Top baits at this time of year are live or fresh prawns, pink nippers or beachworms for the bream and whiting, while I reckon it’s hard to go past soft plastic lures for the flatties. The
lower end of Lake Macquarie seems to be fishing particularly well for flathead and this season the big lake has produced plenty of larger fish from 3kg to 5kg. Now that a few years have passed since netting was banned in Lake Macquarie, the number of jewies caught there would be close to the size and numbers of those caught in Brisbane Water, so that’s got to be saying something.
Now for some bad news. along with other Central Coast anglers, I feel outraged at the NSW Marine Parks Authority’s recent proposals to introduce yet more aquatic reserves along our coastline.
Wamberal Lagoon is at the top of their list, with parts of Tuggerah Lakes, Brisbane Water, Lake Macquarie and Toowoon Bay all up for grabs. Over recent years the State Government has already sealed off a number of good fishing spots to anglers who pay their $30 a year in fees, only to be told they can’t fish here or can’t fish there.
Nearly every month we hear of more proposals to create marine parks and reserves. If the angling community sits back and allows this to keep happening we may as well give the game away because in the future we’ll have nowhere to fish.
So get out your pens, paper, typewriter or computer and start writing to local and State Government representatives stating why you don’t want to have your local fishing spot taken away from you.
There’s no point thinking that we can’t do anything. The louder our voice of protest the more chance there is of stopping at least some of these marine reserves going ahead.Reads: 541