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flatties fire despite drought
  |  First Published: December 2006



It’s hard to believe that the year has just about come to an end, but it has and we are now approaching the holiday season, hot weather and hopefully some hot fishing.

We are also still in desperate need of heavy rain to replenish our local water supply and to give Tuggerah Lakes a direly-needed flush-out.

Brisbane Water should produce the goods this month with bream, whiting, school jew and flathead the main targets. Big flathead are always a major drawcard in the lower part of the system around Ettalong, Wagstaff, Umina and Woy Woy.

Traditionally, big flathead in this part of the world are pursued with live mullet or yakkas. While there’s no doubt that such livies are super-effective on big lizards, I’m totally convinced that large soft plastics are the best way to go if pinning a giant flattie is your goal this Summer.

Lately I’ve been using the biggest size Squidgy Flick Baits with good success but any of the larger plastics between 120mm and 200mm are worth a shot on big lizards. Don’t worry too much about the colour of the plastic but if in doubt try lighter greens or white.

Apart from the mouth of The Entrance channel, there aren’t too many big flathead in the Tuggerah Lakes system but there are usually good numbers of legal-sized fish at this time of year. Once again, soft plastics are the way to go, with 3” and 4” Berkley Power Minnows, Squidgies, Atomics and plenty of other medium-sized plastics all worth casting.

You’ll find these fish almost anywhere around the lakes but some of the more reliable spots are Toukley Bridge, The Entrance Bridge and the western side of The Entrance channel.

Lower Lake Macquarie is another excellent place to chase Summer flathead. Try drifting adjacent to the weed beds about 200m from the shore at Nords Wharf, Gwandalan and Mannering Park. Keep casting medium-sized plastics at these locations and you’re sure to run into a feed of average flathead and there’s a very good chance of hooking fish from 65cm to 90cm.

Leatherjackets are one of the more neglected estuary species on the Central Coast. Last year I remember seeing a number of good-sized jackets caught in Budgewoi Channel and I’ve caught a few nice ones around Toukley Bridge.

You’ll find them where there’s a mix of rocks and weed or around bridge or jetty pylons. Light line, a smallish sinker and small long-shank hooks baited with peeled prawns, squid or beach worms is the way to go. Don’t cast out too far for the jackets because they tend to stick right in close, almost at your feet.

Bass fishing around here is mainly limited to Ourimbah and Wyong creeks. While there are a number of very keen local bass anglers who fish these creeks in canoes, it’s a sad fact that the standard of fishing isn’t what it used to be. Ourimbah is in slightly better shape so that would be my first choice, but there’s still a chance of the odd big bass in Wyong.

The major problem is that we haven’t had a proper flood for well over a decade and that’s exactly what’s needed to flush out the thick weed that is choking Wyong creek to death.

ROCK, BEACH

This month can produce a few good fish from our local rocks and beaches but things slowly get better and really peak towards the end of Summer. Right now the main species you’re likely to encounter are salmon, jewfish, rat kings and the odd bream and tailor.

Ganged hooks and pillies are the way to go at the beach and off the rocks the same set up, suspended about 2m under a torpedo float, works well on the salmon, rat kings and tailor. Maybe a few bonito will also show up this month but they can be a bit hit and miss at this time of year.

OFFSHORE

Last year there was no shortage of kingfish off Norah Head and Terrigal but as good as the numbers were, most of the fish were only little rats, barely making the legal size of 60 cm. At the time of writing there are a few kings around and the odd decent one out wider so there’s a good chance of enjoying some sort of kingfish action this month.

Local boaties may also be looking forward to another run of cobia, not that the last run ever really ended. Right along the coast, the odd cobe was caught in every month of 2006, which is very rare on the Central Coast.

Regardless of the species, one of the main factors to influence offshore fishing in December is water temperature. Hopefully it should hover around 20° to 22° but don’t be surprised if frozen currents push in some horrible 17° water to shut things down because that does happen in this part of the world.

Wherever you fish this Summer, please don’t make a mess of things. Popular fishing spots like South Avoca, Terrigal, The Entrance and Norah Head can become quite crowded in the peak of the holidays so if we all take out our rubbish and put it in a bin the place will stay clean for others to enjoy. Good luck and all the best for the season.

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