THIS TIME of year there is so much happening around the traps that it is difficult to decide on a plan of attack.
The dedicated, species-specific anglers will no doubt be having a field day on the flathead, bream and whiting but the fact is March is one of the months of the year that offers a bit of everything.
There has been talk that we are once again on the cusp of an El Nino cycle and trying to predict fish movements will again be a toss of the coin. Another influencing factor is the erratic ocean temperatures that were patchy from after Christmas and into February. Regardless of the weather and the cycle, the fish that are in the local area still have to eat.
This month probably sees the peak of the surface bream fishing in the upper tributaries and over the oyster racks. Like most forms of bream spinning, the types of lures that are available for surface tweaking are increasing all the time. The latest must-have surface lure is the Koolabung 35mm Cicada with a prop on the front. These lures work a treat and are small enough to tempt all sizes of bream.
The anglers who have been targeting bream of an evening and at night around the leases have been doing OK. The fish aren’t in plague proportions but there are a few good fish in the kilo range among them. Fish fillets, poddy mullet and chicken breast dropped into a light berley trail is the way to go at the down-current ends of the channel leases.
If there is one thing that is certain in fishing the lake, it’s that is there are generally plenty of flathead stuck to the sandy and muddy bottom. Much of the aggressive spawning that happens over the warmer months will taper off towards the end of the month and the fish can concentrate on feeding up. Drifted poddies, pilchards and yabbies will be effective in the channels up from the bridge and in areas similar to that between Hells Gate and The Step on the eastern side of Wallis Island.
The mud flats near The Cut, too, are worth a lure throw at high tide. I have found a lot of legal to 50cm fish in this area this time of the year and most have fallen to soft plastic shads or 3” DOA Shrimps.
The lake is probably at its most productive over the next few months and, perhaps, at its most comfortable to fish, provided the all-day and all-night nor’-easters give up for a while.
The prawning this year has been good with regular catches of 5kg for a night’s dipping. There are regulations in relation to prawning, including the length of the handle of prawn nets. One pair of prawners we watched in Breckenridge Channel last dark had nets in excess of 2.4 metres long (home modified). NSW Fisheries regulations requires a maximum of 1.2 metres. These guys probably weren’t aware of the regulation but strict adherence to the rules by everyone ensures Fisheries management stays on track. Do the right thing, eh? All the details of the NSW Fisheries regulations can be found on www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au or at your local fisheries office.
Mud crabs and blue swimmers have been hot and cold but are still worth throwing a pot or net in for. I guess you can get spoilt catching 12 one trip and only six the next but any crabs caught while you have a fish are worth the effort.
We need some heavy seas to scar the beach line sand into decent gutters and holes. The current beach formations are fair but the chopper schools and salmon patrol the shallow beaches well wide of a decent cast until the dark of the evening. Not too far from the tailor schools are the school jew and while there haven’t been a lot of fish caught, there are sufficient to keep anglers interested.
Whiting, bream and plenty of toads love the shallow ends of the beaches at the moment and fresh pipis or live worms are top bait. And, sorry, the toads are a fact of life. Try Seven Mile and Elizabeth beaches for good whiting this month.
Fishing offshore has improved with some trag, trevally, and heaps of the ubiquitous flathead surfacing from the reefs and surrounds. The odd pinky snapper is coming aboard but the size is limited. This should improve as it gets colder and the fish chase the squid and cuttlefish in close.
I’m yet to hear of a decent marlin this season with the exception of sightings and missed strikes. The offshore game fishing has to improve and I can predict that with some certainty because it has been ordinary to date.
• In the freshwater,the bass are still off their nuts. The Wallamba River above Nabiac has fished well with fish to 48cm recently and doesn’t seem to be suffering too much from the fish kill of last year. The water levels have been up and down and the weed is on the increase again so take the weed-walking lures.Reads: 733