Estuary and inshore warm up
  |  First Published: September 2006

As Spring kicks into gear, hopefully a bit of warmer weather and the start of some better water running down from up north will act as just the triggers we need.

Spring heralds the start of some decent fishing for the estuary and inshore anglers. About his time the local estuaries and rivers start to fire up with flathead. The fishing gets better as we head into October and November but now’s the time to start getting serious about lizards on lures.

A few jewies also about at this time of the year in the river and off the local beaches. The beach run doesn’t seem to last all that long in Spring but they will be around and there are usually some good fish among them.

I’d be concentrating on fishing around the entrance to the Crookhaven River around now. Try from a boat with baits and big soft plastics or off the breakwall with big soft plastics. The big Squidgies are good on jew but so are those 6” Storm Wild Eye Shads. We’ve had some good fish on them off the breakwall in Spring.

There should also be some worthwhile salmon and tailor around the same area. Spring is pelagic time and they always seem to congregate around the river entrance, especially on a run-up or high tide. Metal lures from 30g to 50g are the go, cast from a boat or from the breakwall. You can also use pilchards but the lures are much easier, less messy and a lot more fun.

I’ve been fishing 25g Snipers for a while now over 3kg and 4kg threadline outfits with 8lb or 14lb Fireline and 8kg leaders. I take the treble off the back of the lure and replace it with a single hook on two small split rings. This makes it much harder for salmon to throw the lure when they jump and also makes releasing them a lot quicker.


On the inshore scene there will be some good snapper and flathead but only if those annoying leatherjackets disappear. These pesky little critters have been around for over 12 months now and are starting to really annoy most anglers who drift for flathead or reds.

We have a fairly large group of boaties and retirees who love to get out and do a bit of drifting and they must be cursing the leatherjacket plague at present. I don’t do a lot of drifting for flathead but we’ve had days out there when we couldn’t get a snapper bait to the bottom.

We even had a few days out at The Block when we had them biting off our 400g jigs and eating 80lb braid like it was spaghetti. That becomes quite expensive after a while and very annoying when you have kingfish under the boat and can’t get a jig down to them.

The only solution I know of to avoid having your baits, hooks, sinkers and swivels chewed up by leatherjackets is to relocate. But finding an area that has a few flathead, reds or morwong and no leatherjackets is the hard part of most trips these days.

There should also be some reds about in close at present. Winter’s cuttlefish run was a bit of a fizzer for some reason but this time of year is well worth a shot for a red. We normally fish within a few kilometres of the coastline and even inside Jervis Bay.

We used to anchor up and fish floaters down a berley trail in 20m to 40m but these days we fish in shallower water with plastics as a first preference. I reckon we’re catching more reds and of a better size doing the soft-plastics thing and it’s a hell of a lot easier than chasing up bait and berley.

Out wider will also start to fire in the next month or so but we’ll have a closer look at that next month.


Last year we had Rob Paxevanos at Greenwell Point for a few days as his crew fished and shot footage for his Fishing Australia TV show. They fished in Jervis Bay and from a few land-based locations and caught some fish. Rob promised me he’d come back and have another fish in our backyard, which he did.

In a production bigger than Ben Hur, he arrived with a cameraman, sound guy and producer along with Whittley 6m and 7m boats, two Nissan 4WDs and a few guys to fish with. Our first day was spent out at The Banks jigging kings and bonito, where I lost count of how many kings to 15kg we hooked and landed. It’s been some time since I got tired of catching fish but I ended up with sore arms and shoulders that day.

The next day a few yellowfin were hooked wide of The Banks so my son, Andrew, decided to jig some kings early and then head east and troll a few lures with the guys in the 6m boat. I’d promised to take a mate jigging in my boat so we met them out there and jigged some kings to 12kg or 14kg. Then out wider in atrocious condition Andrew had a lumo Top Gun Maggott nailed off the surface and landed a 30kg yellowfin – his best to date – on a 24kg stand-up outfit. The show goes to air on WIN television in September so keep an eye out for it.

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