IS IT April already? This means Christmas is just around the corner but before we get that far we have to contend with Easter, so there is a lot of fishing to be done.
Easter is always a good time to have a day fishing with the kids and usually they are not that fussy about what they catch. As long as they keep getting bites and the odd fish they will stay interested.
So let’s have a look at a few spots where the kids might have a bit of fun starting down south at Kiama harbour. The walls around the harbour are great for kids, particularly the northern end near the fish co-op. You can park where you fish and the kids can catch yellowtail, mados, sweep, slimy mackerel, trevally and even a decent bream later in the evenings. And keep your eye out for the monster stingrays that patrol the walls – they are always great for the kids to see close up.
A few kilometres north of Kiama is the Minnamurra River and this is a great place for a day out with the family. There are plenty of bream of all sizes all along the river with flathead, whiting, blackfish and heaps of mullet if you berley with bread. If you have a little boat or canoe you can have even more fun.
The next stop is Shellharbour and although there is limited space, there are sweep, yellowtail the odd nice bream and some ink-squirting squid around the harbour breakwalls.
Lake Illawarra is the next popular choice. The ‘dam wall’ at the entrance is a good spot for flathead, whiting, bream and mullet, as is the channel next to the park on the southern side of the bridge. On the northern side there are the jetties next to the boat ramp at Windang and the park opposite the Windang Bowling Club, which can get crowded. But it is a good spot for flathead, bream, whiting, mullet, leatherjackets, tailor and blackfish.
Wollongong Harbour is the next stop and there are tonnes of places to fish here. The harbour in among the trawlers has yellowtail, sweep the odd trevally and a few bream. Next to the Coast Guard station you will find yellowtail, bream, sweep, a few tailor and even a lone monster flathead is not out of the question.
Over on the northern breakwall near the baths there are plenty of tiddlers on the boat moorings and a few bream might be tempted out from under the boats if a little bread berley is used.
Bellambi harbour and jetty can get pretty crowded and there will be massive amounts of boat traffic, particularly in the morning if it is a nice day. The afternoon offers the best opportunity with bream, sweep, flathead, tailor, squid and some whopper whiting if you have worms. So now there’s no excuse not to take the kids for a dangle this Easter.
If you want to get a bit more serious there is plenty of action on all fronts this month.
On the beaches there are nice bream gathering in the surf all along the coast. Early mornings seem to be best with beach worms and fresh slimy mackerel the best baits. Salmon and tailor are thick on most beaches during the evenings. Pilchards, yellowtail and mackerel fillets are doing the trick.
Also during the evenings there have been some quality jewies getting about and the weekends before and after Easter look like the pick of the tides with good highs right on dark. Bombo, Shellharbour, Windang, Coniston, Fairy Meadow, Corrimal, Thirroul and Wombarra – take your pick, as all these beaches are worth a good look and have been producing fish, as have Coalcliff and Stanwell Park. The later two have had limited attention due to the road closures so these could be well worth a look over the next few weeks.
Whiting are on the decline but there are still enough around to get a feed but you may have to move around a bit to find them.
The rocks are going well with some excellent blackfish on the bite. Fresh green weed can be difficult to get so try using cabbage weed off the rocks, a bit of the same for berley and you should score fish off most ledges over the next few weeks. If you are not all that proficient at the art of blackfishing, spend some time watching someone who is and it won’t take long before you get the hang of it. Drummer are starting to show in increased numbers so don’t be surprised if you lose a few floats to the pigs while chasing blackfish.
On the deeper ledges the pelagics are still about with yellowtail kings in all sizes turning up from Kiama to Coalcliff. Live baits like slimies, squid and frigates are getting the best results. Bonito are chasing baitfish in close, as are salmon, tailor, frigates and a few mack tuna.
If you use a bread and pilchard berley around the washes you should pick up a few bream and trevally.
The lake and Minnamurra are starting to slow down with the flathead not as keen to hit a bait as they were a month ago and the whiting schools are thinning, although what they lose in numbers they are making up for in quality.
Bream, on the other hand, are going from strength to strength. Most of the rocky shores of the lake and its feeder streams are producing with lures and bait while under the bridges of both the lake and Minnamurra you will find good bream during the evenings.
By the way don’t forget the Wollongong Sportfishing Club Bream Classic May 23. For information and entry forms contact Leisure Coast Bait and Tackle. The Classic is lure and fly only and there are some great prizes.
Offshore, snapper are the target this month. They will be over the shallow reefs and shallow anything from one metre deep as the fish move right in close over the next few weeks.
If you are into chasing kings there have been a few about the islands off Port Kembla, Bass Point and over Wollongong Reef but live slimies or yakkas are essential. Big bonito are picking up the live baits as well but they are nowhere as thick as they have been over past years. As a matter of fact, they have been quite scarce this year.
Salmon are still plentiful and can pop up anywhere so keep your eyes peeled for the flocks of birds.
Farther offshore there are still a few mahi mahi about on the trap floats but the water has cooled a little quicker than normally so these may be the last of the season. You still stand the chance of a marlin of all three varieties with this month generally providing larger fish, particularly the blues. Fish over 300kg are not out of the question. Striped tuna have been about out wide so one of these slow trolled out beyond the shelf could tempt a monster.
Reports of yellowfin tuna also out around the shelf have been filtering in but nothing of any size – but that can change tomorrow if the right water comes through.
I mentioned last month about exotic species showing up. A short-billed spearfish was captured by unconventional means by local lads Choc and Critter. They were fishing for bream with some success at the end of Corrimal Beach when Choc saw a long fish swim past just in front of him. Without a moment’s hesitation he threw his bream rod behind him on the rocks and jumped in, grabbed the fish and dragged it to shore. It was 1.6 metres long and looked like it had been hooked and escaped earlier that day but got unlucky the second time around. The boys took the spearfish home and left the pool of live bream to be released as the incoming tide covered the area.
The not-so-exotic flathead are still biting with most boats getting a feed as they drift over the sand patches. Smaller reds are over the reefs, as are the ever-popular sweep and lots of leatherjackets.
There are plenty of spots around the ‘gong to take the kids and they might even catch a nice flathead.Reads: 4998