The fishing just keeps going from strength to strength as March blends into April, with great weather and some fabulous angling prospects in all departments.
Snapper are always the big movers in April along this part of the coast as they travel in closer over the shallow reefs. They can be in almost knee-deep water in some places, mixing it with the bream.
The full moon over Easter is always a prime time, particularly during the evenings and very early in the morning. Bombo rocks, the south side of Bass Point, The Peg and the Crankshaft, the front of Honeycomb, Bellambi and Brandy Rocks or in front of the cemetery at Wombarra are all worth a try from the boat or off the rocks.
Berley always helps, with fresh squid or large fillets of fresh slimy or frigate mackerel the top baits. Don’t go too light as some of these reds are up to 9kg with an 11kg model coming in at Bellambi a few weeks ago.
You may get distracted by the bream if you are using the mackerel baits because there has been a recent marked increase in bream numbers and they should become even more abundant. A light outfit with smaller baits will pick up the bream but you take the chance of that big red grabbing a bait and doing you cold.
As always with big fish, target your species and stick to the task at the risk of missing a few bream, or target the bream and risk losing the big red – sometimes it’s a tough choice.
The drummer also seem to have made a move, even though the water is still very warm. Fish over 2kg are about in the washes with increasing numbers of blackfish around most headlands. If we get heavy seas over coming weeks, the harbours at Bellambi, Wollongong, Port Kembla, Shellharbour and Kiama should fish very well for blackfish. The calmer days should see schools starting to move around the headlands.
If you want faster action around the rocks there are still plenty of pelagics along the deeper ledges with mackerel tuna up to 8kg, bonito, salmon, a few frigates and tailor. If you persist with live baits there are some solid kings around Kiama and even a few longtails up to 20kg moving along the headlands.
The beaches are fishing well for bream, tailor and salmon on whole and pieces of pilchard while beach worms are accounting for some very nice whiting.
If you want a little extra fun keep your eyes open on the calm days, particularly if there is a westerly blowing. You will spot frigates and tailor chasing baitfish close in along the beaches. You may have to wade out some days but small lures and light tackle can give a tone of fun spinning these mini-torpedoes as they blast along just behind the small surf.
Now you have your tailor and frigates for bait, you can target the jewies during the evenings. Most beaches with deep gutters should attract a jewie, particularly in the latter part of the month when the big tides during the early evening coincide with the new moon.
There have been plenty of school jew around with a few fish over 15kg from time to time. Whaler sharks are a problem after dark so keep plenty of hooks handy.
In the estuaries things have slowed a bit but there is more than enough action to keep you busy. Flathead are about but you will have to work for them. As always, the main channel and the drop-off are the pick spots with Tallawarra producing a few fish, as is Mullet Creek.
Chopper tailor are taking their toll of soft plastics around the drop-off.
Blackfish are about the weed beds but without any tidal flow it is difficult to keep your float moving and they are hard to attract to the berley. The pick of the fishing is down at the entrance, where there are some quality whiting taking worms over the ample sand flats.
Let’s hope the lake authority can get its act together and get some flow back into the lake without using the lame excuse of drought for blocking the entrance. Before they stuffed around with the entrance it closed only on rare occasions. Now it opens only rarely.
Minnamurra hasn’t been messed with, has a much smaller tidal flow and never closes – funny, that. It has some nice flathead up around the edges of the weed beds at the back of the river but beware of the big eels if using live baits.
Bream are around the bridges during the evenings and there are still enough whiting to keep you interested east of the bridges over the flats.
Offshore is still humming along with just about everything with fins wanting to play, given the right conditions – usually a bit of current from the north.
Mahi mahi are still out around the traps and the FAD with live baits scoring best results. Do yourself and the others fishing these spots a favour and keep the revs down when moving back up-current – screaming back at 5000rpm doesn’t do anyone any favours.
I had the place to myself for a few hours and took hook-up after hook-up on fish between 6kg and 10kg, losing one bull over 20kg. They are tough at that size on 2kg and 4kg tackle! There were thousands of fish there, competing for every bait that hit the water.
Then Trevor the Troller showed up, had three high-speed passes, almost hitting the FAD, caught two fish and that was it for the day. He even called out that it was ‘a bit quiet’! I agreed and moved on to greener pastures.
There is still the chance of a marlin of any species with big blues out beyond the shelf and on the Kiama canyons, stripes along the shelf, a few blacks around 60 fathoms and the odd one over the closer reefs.
Striped tuna and small yellowfin have been taken out wide on small skirts and Christmas trees while salmon, frigates, tailor, bonito and mack tuna have been working the headlands and the backs of the beaches.
With luck the large schools of anchovies will move back in on the beaches as they did back in late January, sparking a feeding frenzy from Wollongong down to Jervis Bay.
Kingfish are back around the islands and Bass Point with early mornings soaking live yellowtail, mackerel and pike just out from the rocks the way to go. Live frigates trolled very slowly around the same areas will attract the attention of any big fellas that may be about. Getting the hook-up is simple; getting the fish to the boat is another thing.
Large bonito are notorious for grabbing live baits at this time of the year so if you run into a school of them, drop down in line class and have some fun, they often run at better than 5kg each.
Trevally are starting to show over the shallow reefs and around the headlands as the water cools but at the moment it is still warm enough to keep the GTs, samson fish, rainbow runners, cobia and even the stray spotted mackerel around so you still stand the chance of picking up almost anything over coming weeks.
Bottom-bouncers are finding plenty of flathead over the sand patches while the reefs and gravel are holding pan-size reds, leatherjackets, mowies, sweep, the odd trag and samson. So there is still plenty for everyone this month but get in now because in a few weeks it will start going downhill.Reads: 764