Chilly Winter Waters
  |  First Published: July 2006

It’s not only the air temperature that has dropped dramatically of late. Water temperatures have dropped as well, and as a surfer, I can tell you it’s getting pretty chilly at 13.5.

Fish captures have been influenced by temperatures with species such as cod and gurnard starting to make up the majority of catches from the bottom of Bass Strait. This is not to say that all the better quality fish have departed though.

Snapper hauls have continued with most fish in the 800g to 2kg bracket. It shouldn’t be too long before better fish show up along the west coast.

Gummy and school sharks can also be expected on the moon as well as seven-gill sharks. Use berley down deep for best results.

Australian salmon schools have been found mostly by trolling in close to the surf beaches when conditions allow. Generally, winter sees a better class of fish so they’re worth a go.

For those who prefer baitfishing for salmon try a ganged pilchard cast towards the waves from a boat positioned safely just beyond the break. Berley can be used in this scenario and don’t be surprised if a few silver trevally also turn up.

On the reefs long finned pike, banded and yellow-eyed sweep, banded morwong and good leatherjacket have been abundant.

Banded morwong are often confused with luderick in Victoria but are a unique species that are very common but not often targeted. Techniques that are successful on luderick and blackfish in NSW can produce good captures of these hard fighting fish. A constant berley trail is good. Use little if any weight and go for baits such as peeled prawn, pipi abalone gut and cray tail.

Lighter nibble tip rods are required as the bite from these fish is more of an un-weighting of the line rather than a downward tug. As such, they are a challenging target!

For those looking for some shark action, offshore fishermen should expect blue sharks soon. If this season is anything like last year then good numbers of blues will be found amongst the krill, which has been prolific in deeper waters over the last few years.

Last season we caught and released 13 blue sharks in a 3-hour session, then backed it up the next day with 4 blues in 2 hours, all of which spewed up krill upon release.

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