Big chill is on its way
  |  First Published: May 2006

The water is cooling off and the days are getting noticeably shorter – winter is on its way.

Flathead and bass are two species that slow right up over winter on the South Coast.

However, with warm water still on the continental shelf all of the usual gamefish are being caught including yellowfin tuna, albacore, striped tuna and striped marlin.

Unfortunately, the marlin fishing has been hit hard by the longliners with well over 1000 striped marlin finding their way to the fish markets. This means those recreational anglers targeting striped marlin are putting more effort for less reward. We don’t need to think for too long about why the yellowfin tuna fishing isn’t what it used to be.

As has often been said, fishing for kingfish is unpredictable at best, the fish are there but whether they bite is another thing. They’re on one day and shut down the next. The pick of the action has been at Mowarrie Point.

Some good snapper are starting to show. Let’s hope the season is as good as the last one with fish to 4kg plentiful along with some bigger fish.

All the other species are there including sand flathead, morwong and perch. Fillets of slimy mackerel are a good choice of bait.

From now through to mid-winter is the time for some big tailor to show up on the beaches and headlands and even in the estuaries, with big fish often caught at Wonboyn. Salmon will become more prevalent too as they start heading north.

The estuaries have been fishing well with all the popular species on the chew. As a fishing guide, much of my enjoyment comes from seeing people catch fish, and at times this isn’t easy. I have to take into account factors such as different skill levels, the weather, tides and the mood of fish. But it’s certainly all worthwhile!

The past few months have been very satisfying. I’ve been cracking a new pattern and have added another species to my list of fish that can be caught consistently on lures. I’m talking about captures of 25-plus whiting on lures – some have been big to 40cm.

By targeting whiting, bream and flathead become bycatch, albeit very welcome bycatch. The total catch for the recent period exceeds 300 whiting. It sounds hard to believe and I’m still shaking my head at what’s unravelling before my eyes. Keep your eyes out for more on about this new technique – I’ll certainly be doing more of it on the water!

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