Now we’re really getting into the best time of year for fishing here on the Central Coast.
Providing the weather and ocean currents are good to us, March can fire up in the estuaries, along the rocks and beaches and well offshore with just about every species of fish ready to pounce on a bait or lure.
Water temperatures have been consistently warm since the start of January and they should remain warm right through this month. Offshore, the average surface temperature has hovered around 23°, although there have been a few patches of cool water hitting the coast here and there.
Those little kingfish have been caught all over the place, even cruising the beaches ,snatching baits or lures aimed at tailor. At the time of writing I still haven’t heard of any kings over 7kg but surely a few larger fish will dish out some thrills and spills this month.
It seems that most of the small kings have been caught by trolling small lures around the headlands or over patches of reef, or live-baiting with yakkas. If, however, you put in the effort to catch some decent live baits like pike or big squid and use heavy 24kg gear then the chances of boating a kingfish of 10kg or more will increase.
Don’t be afraid of using quite large live baits because this is one way of sorting out the pickers from the big ones.
The same thing goes for rockhoppers. Sure, you may enjoy catching those small kings on spin gear, pilchards or live yakkas, but why not put out a live pike, garfish or big squid and see what happens? You might end up hooking a bonus cobia, big mack tuna or even a marlin.
March is usually the best month for spinning up bonito and frigate mackerel (locally nicknamed leadies) on high-speed spin gear. Avoca, Terrigal and Wybung Head are the best spots to do the high-speed spin thing and you might also hook up a few Watson’s leaping bonito, rainbow runner or samson fish to spice up things a little. They are all fun fish on light tackle and while the samsons are pretty good to eat, the other lot are best reserved for bait or you can simply catch and release them.
If you do want to try eating bonito, handle them with care and promptly bleed them as soon as you catch them. Although the flesh can be a bit dry, if treated well they taste a bit like kingfish and don’t make bad fish cocktails.
Bream should be very active along the rocks this month and those bonito or frigate mackerel make excellent bream baits. Pick a spot with plenty of wash close into the rocks and with the aid of some berley it shouldn’t be too hard to score a nice feed of bream.
A rising tide early in the morning or afternoon is generally quite good, although some of the bigger bream come out to play after dark.
Beach fishing tends to be quite consistent at this time of year with bream and tailor about in good numbers. Pilchard baits are reliable for both species and once again, a rising tide in the morning, afternoon or at night is the time to fish.
Salmon, flathead, whiting and jewfish will also be patrolling the surf gutters through March so there’s a mixed bag out there for the taking.
It’s been a top Summer for estuary fishing with a good run of flathead and blue swimmer crabs. This month we can expect pretty much the same.
March is also prime time to hunt jewies in Brisbane Water as they tend to penetrate farther into the system and make their way up Erina and Narara creeks.
Live-baiting with small mullet is one of the best ways to fool a Brissy Water jewie, although if you cast soft plastics around enough you’ll eventually run into one. Some of the better estuary jew plastics are the Berkley 4” PowerBait and size 5, 6 or 7 Squidgy Fish.
Next month we’ll address some of those insane marine park proposals a bit more. Remember, we pay taxes when we buy boats, fuel, tackle and bait. We also pay the NSW Government fees to actually go fishing, so I think we deserve a say on where we can fish. Until then, enjoy fishing this month as it’s the peak season for most species.Reads: 592