Worms work wonders
  |  First Published: February 2005

It's funny how the humble worm is thought of as the ‘classic’ bait.

From comic strips, Disney cartoons and even famous books, all depicted worms as the bait of choice for anglers worldwide. Andy Capp uses them on the Thames, Huck Finn on the Mississippi and Bugs Bunny at his favourite watering hole.

The good news is they work on the Central Coast as well. I was again reminded of their effectiveness just last week. As our coastline was being pounded by rough seas and strong winds we took shelter in a secluded area of Brisbane Water and ended up with a nice haul of whiting, bream and school jewfish, all taken on worms.

While we had many other types of bait on hand, worms were at the top of the fishes’ menu that day. Worms are easy to source, with most tackle stores and bait shops stocking an array of different types, both alive and frozen. Combine these with light lines, keeper hooks and berley and you're sure to catch a feed.

It's all systems go for all types of fishing for February; from the continental shelf to the upper creeks, it seems all the habitants are keen for a feed.

In our estuaries and lakes there are heaps of bream, whiting, flathead and school jewfish to be had on baits such as bloodworms, half-pilchards, peeled prawns, live yellowtail and soft plastics.

Flathead are one species that you are better off fishing for on the drift. I like to use baits and lures at the same time.

Soft plastics can be quite productive while drifting along and a typical scenario is an appropriate sinker, swivel and a metre of trace with a soft plastic on the hook. This is let out the back of the boat while drifting and the rod is left in a holder to work itself – very productive and often outfishing bait.

Along our rocks and beaches this is prime time for jewies, flathead, bream, whiting and kingies, as well as bigger pelagics.

While our northern beaches such as The Entrance and Soldiers Beach seem to fish better for jewies during the cooler months, most beaches seem equal during the warmer months, with big fish coming in from almost any beach that gets fished regularly.

Bream, whiting and flathead can almost be found at your feet on the surf beaches, with a lot of anglers casting out past the fish.

It's amazing what's sitting in just a metre of water behind the shore break at this time of year so if you're getting no bites out further, wind right in and you might be pleasantly surprised. I have caught heaps of big jewies in less than a metre of water off our beaches.

The same species can be caught off the rocks, with extras such as kingfish, bonito and drummer thrown in. The kingies, bonito, salmon and tailor seem to respond better to baits presented in the upper half of the water column, while the rest are down near the bottom.

A suitable live or dead bait suspended under a balloon or float and then another line on the bottom is a good way to cover all available species.

Out wide, it's marlin time with the annual arrival of striped, black and blue marlin. While the blues are mainly in water deeper than 80 fathoms, the stripes can often be encountered in 50 fathoms and deeper, and the smaller blacks can often be in 20 fathoms or even less.

Lures and live baits are good ways to come in contact with these speedsters and if you are ever going to put some time in for these fish, now is the time to do it.

On the bottom there often are a lot of snapper in February as well as a few mowies and, if we are lucky, teraglin. This is also prime time for jewies on our inshore reefs of an evening or early morning, especially around the full moon.

Kingies and bonito are also fairly common offshore catches with reefs in 40 fathoms or less often most productive.

February is a great time to be fishing the Central Coast, with the kids back at school, less boat traffic and fewer people competing for land-based spots. And with daylight saving, it's feasible to squeeze in a fish before or after work.

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