The weather has cooled off a little and the days have definitely got shorter but in spite of the change, April is a good month on the Mid North Coast, so much so I generally book a couple of weeks’ vacation to hang around the lake and rocks doing whatever I like.
The lead-up has been good with reports of some cobia floating around chasing the small bonito that are set to leave us soon. Kings around Latitude Rock and Cape Hawke are a good possibility while some of the guys have been chasing a few marlin and tuna out wide, much wider than your average trailer boat should go.
Mahi mahi at the FAD have been consistent with mostly small fish being caught. There are some big bulls roaming the current lines which are knocking off livies trolled or skirted lures.
The rocks are firing and Seagull Point will get some attention from local and travelling anglers closer to Easter. There are plenty of baitfish, mostly slimies, hugging the rocks and the predators are not too far behind. Some reports of cobia to 15 kg have surfaced from a reliable source and the rocks between Bennetts Head and Seal Rocks are worth a shot.
Some garfish are hanging around the rocks and a bait jig suspended under a weighted torpedo float is just the trick in the bread berley. If the gars and baitfish are thick I generally cut down the bait jig to three hooks to save tangles.
There are still a few straggling bonito around the washes with more and more small tailor lining up to take pilchard baits or chrome slices. The tailor can get pretty thick at times and bite-offs occur as the fish struggle for the shiny lure. As this month draws to a close we can also expect a few more salmon to start invading the place.
The flathead, after a magnificent Summer, have thinned out a bit with many of the small males heading back up the rivers, leaving some quality fish down in the entrance of the lake system.
The big schools of bream that are common this month are sweeping through leases as they settle through the estuary with the surface bite waning a little later in the month.
The prawn dark has seen some great catches of whiting using live prawns (what else?) in behind the nets and in the channels of the lake. Some nocturnal flathead and big bream are also on the prowl during this time so it’s worth throwing a bait over the back if you are having a go for prawns. The peak prawning season was good this year and the long-awaited return to a regular weather pattern has paid dividends.
There are still blue swimmers and mud crabs around the lake and tributaries for those with some time on their hands. The swimmers can be a little patchy so be patient.
The scoured holes under the bridge have been fishing well for bream and whiting with plenty of anglers anchoring either side of the structure and drifting baits back into the depressions.
The beaches have not fished terribly well, though there was every indication they would. The local beach fishos I know have not fared better than a handful of bream, chopper tailor and the odd lone whiting and dart. Structure on the sand strip is hard to come by so take every hole or gutter you can get.
The bass have been quiet in the lower sections of the rivers but with the warmer water, more action in the upper catchments is almost guaranteed. For those who want something different in the freshwater, try a No 10 hook under a float for some big freshwater mullet.
They are great sport and occasionally the big bully mullet get involved and then you’re in for the fight of the day. The pink-eye mullet are common to 1.5kg and are a good way to spend the middle of the day.
Use a bit of berley, like soaked bran, something that will stay on the bottom and not drift away. Bait is a ball of dough pinched out of the centre of a fresh slice of white bread which barely covers the point of the hook. If you want to share a freshwater experience with the kids, the mullet are just the ticket.
On to matters that are a bit more self-indulgent: For the past few seasons I’ve been working on a bass DVD with a mate, Dave Scarlett, trying to capture what bass fishing on the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers is all about. I can pre-empt the release of the DVD and let everyone know that we should have a mail-order form in next month’s issue, along with some reviews.
Have a happy Easter and stay safe on the water.
Seamo with a good bass after a wet night session. The fish took a big Jitterbug.Reads: 470