Ready for the weather and fishing to start warming up ? Chances are the wait may take a little longer yet.
When September rolls around each year we tend to get a bit anxious with the first few warmer Spring days and hope that Winter’s doom and gloom have gone. Although those bitterly cold mornings may be a thing of the past, there’s often a cold sting in the tail that keeps lingering on for another month or two yet.
The estuary scene can be quite tough in September, particularly when we haven’t had much rain and the water is cold and super-clear. So let’s hope the rains tumble down and if that doesn’t happen, the early bird who fishes with ultra-light line and only the best of baits or lures will catch fish.
Estuary perch are a good chance in Brisbane Water or Tuggerah Lakes this month. These elusive fish will soon start to spread out and head upstream after their spawning period in the lower estuary. So now, while they are still gathered in the lower reaches, it’s possible to catch them on small soft plastics, flies or live shrimp baits.
Handle them with care and return each one carefully. Although EPs are highly prized and fun to catch, we certainly don’t want their stocks to be damaged by careless angling practices.
Perhaps some more catchable fish in September are bream and blackfish, with the odd flathead or whiting. If you’re keen on the blackfish get in now because they’re likely to thin out soon.
As for the bream, fish with light line and top-quality offerings such as fresh mullet gut, blackfish gut, pink nippers or live shrimp. Lure-tossers should try 3” Berkley Power Minnows in pearl/watermelon or the smaller Berkley Gulps, also in watermelon.
A few school jewfish have been caught in Brisbane Water through the latter part of Winter and as we move into Spring the jewies should become more active.
Flathead are another fish that may be worth chasing in Brissy Water and Tuggerah Lakes pretty soon. Fish early in the morning or at night for the jewies and try the flathead on warmer afternoons when water temps are at their peak.
Offshore fishing can be quite challenging in September. You can be sure that weekdays will be as flat as a tack with minimal sea breezes, then when the weekend rolls around expect gale-force winds and massive seas !
Anyway, if you can get out you can expect hordes of hook-stealing leatherjackets, along with the odd snapper, morwong and trevally on the reefs.
A few kings have been caught right through Winter so there’s still a chance of kings this month and maybe the odd bigger fish if you’re lucky. Jigging still seems to be a more popular and effective way of tangling with kings on the Central Coast but live yakkas or squid will also catch kings, as will large soft plastics.
If you’re after some surface action the main targets are salmon, tailor, striped tuna and maybe a yellowfin or two.
Salmon are by far the most abundant but they can be tricky to catch at this time of year. Try casting really small metals like 10g SureCatch Knights or 14g Sea Rocks along the edges of one of those boiling sambo feeding frenzies.
If they aren’t responding to small lures then try whole pilchards pinned to a set of ganged hooks. Although the salmon may not be everyone’s cup of tea and they can be difficult to catch at this time of year, they can be a lot of fun on light gear and provide some thrills when there’s not much else happening.
In years gone by, striped tuna were one of the more popular offshore targets in September – as they are a top light-line sport fish and make first-class snapper bait. These days it’s rare to run into a good patch of stripies but there’s still a chance. Hopefully these small tuna aren’t just another sad, nearly extinct victim of ruthless commercial overfishing.
Rock fishing could be worth a try this month. If the seas are dead flat, pull out the heavy gear, find a few red crabs and test your fish-fighting ability against a rampaging blue groper. If the seas are average there should be plenty drummer or blackfish close in around the washes and if the seas are big, then stay away from the rocks!
There probably won’t be a hell of a lot on the beaches this month, apart from salmon which will quickly snatch a pilchard bait. A few nice bream and the odd small snapper started to show up along Budgewoi and Lakes Beach last Spring, so maybe that will happen again this year.
The occasional tailor and jewfish after dark are other beach possibilities this month if you’re prepared to fish into a cold night.Reads: 600