With the weather settling and developing the usual Spring pattern it’s not surprising that many anglers are making a few offshore trips.
The reefs off Blackhead and Old Bar are fishing well with an unseasonable show of 3kg bonito turning up last month. Some of the fish are still hanging around and can be lured with pilchards on ganged hooks and half-by-quarter or 65g Raider metals.
Some legal kings have been caught around the close inshore areas but they are very mobile and can take some finding. Legal snapper, trag, and pearl perch are all on the cards.
For anyone who hasn’t tried snapper on soft plastics, it is well worth giving it a go. Large Gulp Squid or Pogies and some 1oz jig heads and you are almost ready to go. All you need then is a shallow reef area where snapper are likely start banging the jigs about the bottom.
Trevally are around in numbers and when the current allows, a berley trail will work wonders. Drifting for flathead in the shallower water will ease any concern of going fishless offshore this month.
As you would expect, the lake has benefited from recent rain and there are plenty of bream in the lower sections and making their way into the rivers. Flathead should become more common on the sandy flats as this month gets older, with fish from 45cm to 50cm gathering for spawning. The big females are generally about from next month but remember, they are the breeders and we need them to finish their business so please consider releasing them unstressed.
Blackfish are on the go and weed is generally available from the tackle stores. The leases up from the bridge have been getting some attention from the older luderick fishermen and while I haven’t seen too many bag limits, there have been a lot of quality fish in the keeper nets. There are a lot of big luderick in the lake and some big schools can be seen pushing up under the bridge at the top of the tide.
The breakwall is the obvious passage along which the tailor make their way into the lake and channel. Pike also hang in numbers around the schools of bait. The walls have been the scene of a few good jewfish catches on bait and lures with the slack run-out one of the best times. Chris Machonachie scored a school jew on a lure around the Tuncurry side of the bridge so anyone wanting to tempt the jew on soft plastics or even fly could get lucky. With daylight saving kicking in there is no excuse for missing the odd after-work session.
Early reports of blue swimmer crabs have encouraged me to get out and try my luck with a few witches’ hats. The crabs should be in full swing by the middle of next month and any fresh fish frames used for bait will do the trick. Ensure you abide by the restricted areas and keep the nets out of channels. The best spots are around the weedy edges of the many islands in the lake.
For those of you heading out to chase bass, it could be a little tougher this season finding the real big mothers. The lack of any real rise in the rivers over Autumn and Winter has failed to congregate the fish in the lower sections of the river and the post-spawn run has been almost non-existent.
It’s likely that you’ll be able to find good fish throughout the river systems from now to the next big rain. Another reason we need the gully-raking floods is to strip the Summer weed growth out of the river. I suspect a lot of the spots on the Manning, and other rivers, this year will suffer significantly from choking weed.
The beaches should pick up a little this month with dart, whiting, bream and perhaps a school jew or two. As the nor’-easters settle in the sand whiting will be encourage onto the beach and can be targeted with live beach worms and yabbies. Salmon and tailor are hanging around the washes and breakers but the passing schools are more an occasional opportunity.
This month the implementation of daylight saving should be embraced and used for what it was intended – fishing after work.Reads: 637