After a long, hot Summer it’s now time to put on a jumper in the mornings, get used to an earlier sunset and get stuck into some serious Autumn fishing.
April marks a turning point in our local fishing calendar, when the warm-water species are still active but traditional Winter targets like blackfish and drummer start to kick into gear.
Beach fishing should be one of the better options this month. Over recent weeks we’ve seen bream, tailor, salmon, whiting, flathead and jewies caught right along this part of the coast.
At times silver trevally, dart, rat kings and tarwhine have put in an appearance as well as those dreaded line-cutting noahs. With mainly small whalers and a few larger whalers and hammerheads mixed in, it’s certainly been a Summer of sharks along the coast, but that should change as the ocean starts to cool this month.
April is by far the best month for beach bream and since mid-January some very impressive bream have been caught from the sand. It’s not often that we see a run of really big bream but this year a number of fish approaching 2kg have been taken along the northern beaches. One afternoon I witnessed a lucky angler pull in six bream, all over a kilo, in the space of an hour. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Tailor also seem to be bigger this season. Most that I’ve beached have been around 2kg although I’ve lost a couple of monsters much larger than that in the shore dump. Over recent years we’ve seen a massive decline in the numbers of tailor cruising the surf and an equal increase in salmon numbers, so it’s hard to know which species you’re likely to hook next.
If landing a big tailor is your aim then a wire trace will certainly help the cause but wire will also put off other fish. What do you do, try to catch a whopper of a chopper and miss out on big bream or a jewfish? The choice is yours.
Speaking of jewfish, I would rate April as the best month to catch jewies from our beaches. So catch some fresh squid, beach worms, tailor or mullet and get out there as the sun sinks behind the sand dunes. If catching your first jewie or trying to improve on a personal-best size is your goal, now is your best chance.
Big bream, big tailor and big jewies – you’ll find these fish at beaches like Budgewoi, Hargraves, North Entrance, Forresters and Wamberal. Of course there’ll be plenty of salmon hook-ups in between and perhaps a few trevally, whiting and flathead along the way.
Rock fishing is another front runner this month with the good run of bream being available to rockhoppers right along the coast. The big ones are certainly on the cards from the stones as well. One I recently saw a photo of weighed 2.55kg cleaned, which would have made it somewhere around 2.8kg fresh from the ocean. That’s a very serious bream and there’s no reason why a few more around 2kg shouldn’t be lurking around the washes.
So far it hasn’t been the best of seasons for surface fish along our rock platforms. Bonito have shown up in bursts here and there but if you’re not spinning at the right time it’s been easy to miss out. I scored a few last April, so there’s every chance of bonito this month and hopefully they are a bit bigger than those tiny jellybeans we’re seeing.
Not so long ago bonito averaged 2kg with a sprinkling of 3kg to 4kg fish but like so many other species along the east coast, they are getting smaller and smaller each year.
Small has been the best word to describe the kingfish this year, too. To my way of thinking kingfish are big fish, like jewies, and an average king should be at least 6kg to 10kg.
So many times I’ve heard of kingfish being caught from our rock platforms this year, but most of them barely make it to the legal length of 60cm. Really folks, these are rats, not real kingfish. A few years ago we were singing the praises of the banning of kingfish traps. Yes, that’s great, but something’s obviously going wrong – where have all the real kingfish gone ?
Drummer and blackfish should become more active as the days shorten, although they have been caught from the stones pretty much right through Summer anyway. Groper are always a chance and while you’re getting stuck into all those bream you’ll probably hook a few silver trevally as well.
Tailor, salmon, jewfish and frigate mackerel are the other main rock fishing targets this month but there’s still a of chance of cobia, tuna or other big predators if you send out live baits.
It’s been the Summer of flathead and blue swimmer crabs in our estuaries. Tuggerah Lakes has produced some excellent crabbing this season but so have Brisbane Water and Lake Macquarie. The peak of the season is over now, although you should still be able to get a few swimmers this month.
I fished for flathead with great results through the middle of Summer but since then my obsession with bream has taken hold yet again. I try to leave the local bream alone and concentrate on some other type of fishing for a while but then you have a good catch of bream or try a new lure and it’s on again.
At the moment I’m having a ball catching bream on small surface poppers around the shallow weed beds in Tuggerah Lakes and Lake Macquarie. As water temperatures start to fall this month surface lures may become less effective than plastics but either way the bream will still be there.
Offshore fishing has been quite patchy. Marlin have been hooked off the Central Coast but not in the significant numbers as they have been off Port Stephens. With so many sharks around this year a lot of anglers have turned to putting out big baits on heavy wire instead of trolling around all day in the hope of a marlin hook-up.
April can be a fantastic fishing month on the Central Coast. My picks this month are rock and beach fishing for bream, tailor and jewfish, Brisbane Waters for jewfish and Tuggerah Lakes for bream.Reads: 561