Warm feelings about Winter
  |  First Published: June 2006

Winter can be good or bad, depending on your outlook. Casting lures to big Winter bream, drifting a float for blackfish or watching your favourite footy team flog the opposition all help make the big freeze so much more bearable.

Whichever the case, we’ve got a whole three months of it ahead of us, so we may as well try and make the most of it.

Bream, blackfish, drummer and tailor are the main species available to rock, beach and estuary fishos along the Central Coast this month. So far things are looking up and at the time of this report I’ve been catching all four species, along with the odd flathead and a few others.

While some of the tailor and flatties stretching my lines have been quite decent, I’m yet to hook bream of the proportions being caught at the southern end of Lake Macquarie. I can’t reveal the exact spot these mega-bream have fallen to baits and lures or I may not live to type next month’s column!

I can safely say, though, that quite a few bruisers between 40cm and 50cm have been caught, mainly at night or early in the morning. One lucky bugger landed nine fish of this calibre in the one session. Now that’s gotta be saying something about the removal of pro netting in the system.

Big bream like that are rare in Tuggerah Lakes, a netted estuary, but certainly not unheard of. The biggest bream I've seen caught was taken quite a few years ago in Budgewoi Channel on blackfish gut late one Winter afternoon. That fish was over 3kg.

In recent years a few 2kg bream have shown up around the lakes. Two that I know of were caught at the mouth of Wallarah Creek. Wyong River produced some big bream for John Grant and me through the Winter of ’04 and although I tried to repeat that last year, it just didn’t happen. Who knows, maybe Wyong will produce the goods this Winter. If not, I reckon Toukley bridge is another spot to put in some big bream effort.

Brisbane Water is another system off limits to netting and although some very respectable bream show up in Brissy Waters at times, it’s not really known as a big-bream hot spot. Having said that, places like the Rip Bridge, Woy Woy and Paddys Channel can dish out bream around 1.5kg and when fishing at these spots there’s always a chance of a big Winter whiting or jewfish, depending on what type of bait or lure you’re using.


Blackfish should be on the move this month. Autumn showed signs of a great season ahead with reasonable catches from Brisbane Water, Tuggerah Lakes and our local rock platforms as the weather and water cooled off.

I reckon it’s worth the trip to Catherine Hill Bay if you want to enjoy the best of what catching blackfish off the rocks is all about. Catho offers so many different points and ledges to drift a cabbage bait so you’re likely to find a spot to fish in almost any weather.

Perhaps the best spot though is a low ledge called Bardi, about half-way between the old coal loading jetty and Moonee Point. It’s the long point that sticks out farther than any other in the area. Bardi turns on size and numbers of fish but care should be taken if there is any sort of bump on the sea.

Catherine Hill Bay also offers plenty of scope for those looking to get busted up by some big angry drummer. My favourite pig technique is berleying up with a bucket of finely mashed white bread and then drifting bread baits under a beefed-up blackfish rig. This method catches heaps of small to average pigs along with a few bream and blackfish if they are in the neighbourhood.

If you specifically want to target larger drummer it’s probably best to employ heavier 10kg to 15kg gear and lob out big lumps of cunje or ab gut after you’ve berleyed up with bread.

Silver trevally, salmon and tailor have also been caught along the rocks in recent weeks. Through June the tailor and trevally may start to drop off a bit as the salmon numbers increase. Right now, though, I would be trying to get into some bream, blackfish or drummer if you simply want to catch a feed of fresh fish from the stones.

Offshore and beach fishos will start to do it tougher as we move into the depths of Winter. At the time of writing, there have still been some good catches of mahi mahi and rat kings outside but the main species available this month would be trevally, leatherjackets, flathead, morwong and a few reds. Pearl perch and kings are another option for those who head out wider, although that game can be hit-and-miss unless you know the area well.

Beach fishing in the earlier part of Winter can still produce if you rug up and wear a pair of waders. Bream, tailor, trevally, salmon and the odd jewie are on the cards right now but don’t expect any miracles from the sand through Winter.

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