This is it: The month many fishos live for, the most productive time for all manner of species and from offshore to the creeks, the fish are going off.
The warm water is streaming past our coastline and marlin are still hanging around along with other grade-A sport fish.
At the fish traps and the FAD mahi mahi have been swarming. With the big fellas holding deep it’s hard to get a livie past the rats but if you can you’ll be hooked up to one of the flashiest acrobats in water world. These guys can run and jump better than most kangaroos and after a crash course in avionics give Qantas a run for its money.
Other speedsters that can be picked up include striped tuna, mackerel tuna and the odd yellowfin but the star of the season has to be the northern bluefin.
Due to their feeding habits these silver bullets don’t seem to stray too far from shore which makes them a perfect target for the small-boat angler or land-based game fanatic.
I say fanatic because when it comes to bluefin you can never really half-heartedly chase them. It’s either boots and all or don’t bother waking up for a 3am start, having slept in your fishing clothes with your bundle of live-bait rods and gaff resting beside your bed.
Then you must carry your berley, rods, reels, baby swimming pool for precious livies, aerator and other associated paraphernalia kilometres over headlands in the dark to be on the spot before daylight. If you get this far, well, yes, you are mad!
The next step is to get a bait in the water. If you do this and hook up then all the madness will have payed off with another big slab of madness as you try firstly to extract the speedster from the ocean without running out of line and then carry your magnificent capture, as well as every other bit of stuff you took, all the way back over the headland!
Inside the Port bream have been out of control with bruisers hiding under most oyster racks and along the breakwalls. The local peeled-prawn-lobbers have been braining some monsters after dark so get in on their act.
The best time to be on the breakwall is at a change of tide and small tides seem to produce the optimum amount of fishing time. There’s less run in the water which allows your bait to get down where the big bream lurk.
Flathead the size of ironing boards have taken up residence along all the usual spots, including The Spit, the Myall and Karuah rivers and Tilligerry Creek. Soft plastics are all the rage but don’t disregard bait or big diving lures for the ironing board variety of lizard.
Blackfish have also showed up in great numbers and after last year’s exceptional season they promise to be a great target for the Winter.
The beach is still producing great catches of whiting as well as the odd bream showing up more often as the season goes on.
Towards the end of this month and all through out May bream will dominate the breakers. Worms are always a good bait but I always like to use bait that’s in the fishes’ ordinary food chain. Just think about it – a North Coast beach snake or a Stockton beach pipi, what’s more natural to you on a beach where professional worming wiped out beach worms 20 years ago?
Now is the time that everything is happening so if you’re not into it by now you’ve missed the boat.
Northern bluefin tuna can be targeted very successfully at this time of year, especially from small boats and rock platforms. Note the proximity to the shore – bluefin are coast-huggers.Reads: 416