It’s time to enjoy what the warm weather throws at us. Hopefully that doesn’t mean more of the gale-force winds from the north-west which are howling as I type this month’s column.
Summer is generally a much more pleasant time on the Central Coast but the elements can still be harsh if you’re into fishing. Over the next few months, I reckon the mornings are a much better time to chuck out a bait because in the arvos those strong sea breezes kick in or, even worse, a big, black storm builds up and dumps thunder, lightning and hail on us.
Nine out of 10 Summer mornings are calm and the water is glassy and that’s the way I like it. That’s especially when it comes to being on the water in my canoe at first light, chasing bream around the lakes.
Offshore fishing is also a whole lot better in the mornings because those winds start to kick in a bit before midday and by the arvo, the ocean can be a rather unpleasant place to be.
However, I would still rather fish the beaches later or after dark. I suppose the main reason behind this is the chance of extracting a jewfish from the surf.
November is one of the best months for beach jewfish on the Central Coast. But I remember last year when there were heaps of bluebottles washed in and on a few occasions I went to Budgewoi and Hargraves beaches and the bluebottles were so thick I just walked back to the car and went home. Let’s hope we don’t have such a plague of these horrible stinging nightmares this November.
Apart from jewies and bluebottles, there should be plenty of salmon cruising the surf zone, along with a few bream. Whiting, tailor and flathead are other possibilities this month, although these three species can be a bit patchy through the early part of Summer. So if you simply want to catch a fish from the beach this month, concentrate on salmon or bream with baits like pilchards, pipis or strips of mullet. Or if you’re keen, get some fresh squid, mullet or pike and try for a jewie after dark.
Rock fishing can be a little patchy this month. Although there’s a chance of traditional warm-weather species like bonito, I reckon you’re better off staying with fish like blackfish, drummer and salmon for the time being. They are the reliable rock-fishing targets through the year and as we’ve had a tough year for fishing, sticking to what should be the easier options makes sense if you just want to catch something.
Offshore fishing is another case of chasing what’s there, rather than hoping for more fanciful results. Last November the rat kingfish really started to kick in with catches of 20, 30 or even 50 small kings in a session and the numbers kept on increasing as we moved into December.
That all sounds great but the sad side of the story is that nearly every rat king caught was lucky to make it to the legal size of 60cm. In fact, most were well under that. I’m not sure if we’ll see the little rats return in such numbers this season but there have been a few bigger kings from 7kg to 14kg bracket caught along the Central Coast over the past few months so hopefully they will still be around this month.
Just don’t expect any miracles because the currents and weather can be a bit unpredictable at this time of year.
Brisbane Water is the place to be this month if flathead or jewfish are on your wish list. Both species can be caught throughout the entire system but generally the better early Summer results come from the lower end of Brissy Water. Woy Woy, Paddys Channel and The Rip bridge are some of the more reliable areas to try for a big flattie or jewfish.
In this age of soft plastics lures, I still maintain that live mullet, tailor or pike is a much more reliable option for Brisbane Water jewfish and if you can’t get a hold of livebait, try fresh squid. The squid can be caught around Brisbane Water at night wherever there is some form of overhead lighting. As a starting point, take a look around the main wharf at Woy Woy.
Tuggerah Lakes should be good for smaller, but legal-sized flathead this month, along with bream and the odd whiting and blackfish. The Entrance is always worth a try for flathead and whiting in November but the place can also start to get crowded on the weekends from now to the end of Summer.
Don’t forget the prawns and blue swimmer crabs, which should become more active as things warm up, particularly around the new or dark moon phase.
You can get away from the crowds in a canoe or small boat by making your way up one of the creeks or along less popular parts of the lakes. The northern end of Lake Munmorah, the eastern side of Tuggerah Lake and up Wallarah Creek are a couple of less-crowded options.Reads: 1112