THE WATER might be starting to cool a little but the fishing is still hot.
Kingfish of all sizes continue to wreak havoc in all the usual spots. Many hopefuls are missing out on the action, though, despite boats within earshot bagging out with relative ease. The kingies might be plentiful but they are no suckers.
Some days the difference between success and failure can be as simple as the size of the live baits. Many variables can turn a bad day into a great one. One day they want metal jigs, then it’s small slimy mackerel the next.
I can distinctly remember one day on the rocks when live yakkas and slimies were being refused all day and, through sheer boredom, I decided to use my excess yellowtail as lures. I proceeded to cast and retrieve unweighted, nose-hooked live yakkas in an erratic motion on my Shimano TSM4 and whammo! Second cast resulted in a 6kg king, closely followed by several slightly smaller friends.
The rest of the day produced zip on the conventional ballooned baits. Kingies can be incredibly frustrating buggers sometimes so a broad arsenal can certainly help to swing their fickle moods. Keep trying different things, you never know what will arouse them next.
On the beaches, whiting should still be about in numbers good enough to warrant getting down and dirty with the worms. Bloodworms seem to be the No 1 bait with beach worms a good second choice. Big bream as well as jumbo salmon and tailor are also on the go and with an ounce of luck jewies will be haunting the shallows after dark.
April is a great month for a dabble in LBG. The frigate mackerel are about and northern blues hitch-hiked their way down the warm currents right down to Tathra and beyond a while ago, so a big effort should go a long way.
Back in the February issue I predicted a possible return of a juvenile samson fish or two and it seems the odd one has indeed shown up. Last year in April snapper anglers fishing the stones found a few samsons pinching set baits so don’t be surprised to see a few more turn up throughout the month.
Speaking of snapper off the stones, Old Knobby should be starting to creep into the shallows again to begin fattening up for the Winter breeding rituals. The boaties have certainly had their fair share of reds over the last few months so now it is up to the rockies to even the score.
Estuaries are still fishing well for all the usual suspects. I took Phil Petridis for a run in the new Polycraft on the Moruya River the other day and we were blown away by the sheer volume of whitebait in the system. It looked like 50,000 Berkley Drop Shot Minnows running with the current and it is not hard to see why they are such a good counterfeit.
Phil managed three good flathead on big Storm plastics but the bream were few and far between. This was most likely due to the water being as clear as we have ever seen as the big incoming tide pushed in from the ocean.
When the tide flows out, however, the fishing has been pretty good. The run-out tide puts a bit of colour in the water, making things a heck of a lot easier. Big trevally, genuine kilo-plus bream and plastic-munching whiting are much more willing to bite. Swarms of undersized tailor are highly problematic, though, and will surely test your patience and plastic collection.
Bass in the upper reaches of the Clyde have been fantastic of late, especially well above Shallow Crossing. The skinny water is the place to be, where portage in the form of dragging your chosen paddle craft over boulder-strewn rapids or log jams to access pool after pool of deep, dark jungle-like water is producing fish to a whopping 2.3kg.
Everything from standard bream plastics to spinnerbaits or the highly realistic River 2 Sea Cicadas are all working but my favourite weapon of choice of late is the Squidgy Bug rigged on my home-made foam popper heads. Slow bloops from well-placed casts deep under overhanging trees provide unforgettable surface strikes and a heart-in-the-mouth tussle to extract Mr Bass from the timber.
There is still plenty of time left to chase a bass before their Winter march to the brackish water begins. I can think of no better way to escape the clutches of the hectic modern world.
The author’s mulloway quest begins in earnest from April onwards. This estuary night time plastic-muncher is a mere pup compared with what the beaches tend to produce throughout Winter – let’s hope the fish read the script this year!
Wade Eaton with a not-so-common bream by-catch in the form of a hefty mullet. This fish proved quite a handful in among semi-submerged trees.Reads: 536