If you thought you were worn out from the hectic fishing March produced you are in trouble – April is going to be just as frantic so grab a few extra vitamins and get out there because the great fishing will just keep powering on for the next few weeks.
The water is still warm enough to keep all the Summer fish here while many species start to migrate along the coast to do that annual thing that all creatures do, so almost anything is possible.
Offshore, the flathead have slowed only slightly and good sandies are over most of the usual drifting areas. They tend to be better quality at this time of year with bags of 50cm and 60cm fish quite common and little spikies at times almost non-existent.
Green toads, a legacy of the warmer waters, are about but have tended to be isolated. They can still cause havoc between when they show up and you move location.
The bonus at this time of year for drifters is the quality snapper over the reefs. Fish between a kilo and 2kg are regular and there are good numbers of larger fish. Mowies to 2kg seem to be in many catches of late, as are pigfish and some quite good trevally along with the usual sweep and a few leatherjackets.
For the sport fishos this in another fantastic month but where do you start?
Mahi mahi are around the traps and FADs and there have been some solid fish up over 10kg, mostly on live baits. There is still a good chance of a marlin – blacks, blues and stripes are all taken this month with large blues a special out over the shelf.
Yellowfin tuna always show this month but numbers and size are in the lap of the gods these days as we seem to get only the oceanic travellers. If you are out there when they show up a jumbo is always on the cards.
If you miss the fin there have been some size striped tuna about and you can really hone your fighting techniques by tackling these speedsters on light tackle. A 5kg stripy on 2kg tackle is pound for pound a much tougher proposition than a 50kg yellowfin on 15kg tackle.
If you like sharks you can find any number of species including tigers, makos, blues, hammerheads and whalers of all species. Just pump out the berley and wait; you will rarely go home disappointed.
Closer to shore there has been plenty of good kingfish action and April has always been a top month for kings around the islands. Live slimies and yellowtail are the top baits with fish to 15kg already caught over recent weeks, this will be a good month for the kings.
Don’t forget to drop a livie to the bottom on the deeper reefs as they frequent these areas over the next few weeks as well. If you don’t get a king, chances are an XOS bonito will monster your live bait.
They have been quiet over the past two seasons and are not about in great numbers this season but they’re big. Several fish over 5kg have been caught with a couple being taken on 2kg tackle that were just short of the world record.
Salmon are an all-year species but they really hit their straps this month and tend to be larger than average fish. A 3kg salmon is not uncommon with 4kg and larger possible and they can show up just about anywhere.
Tailor are about in the washes around most of the headlands and a pilchard will bring them undone. If you find a few tailor, drop the anchor and feed out berley and chances are the trevally won’t be too far away. Travis Anderson caught one weighing 3.7kg a few weeks back.
If you are berleying over the next few weeks chances are you will be chasing the big snapper that gather over the very shallow reefs and bommies in April. Water as shallow as a metre will hold fish, particularly during the early morning and late evening and they tend to school during this period.
Bellambi Reef and those further north attract a lot of attention and you can fish only a few hundred metres from the boat ramp and be in line for quality snapper.
If you miss the reds there is a good chance you will pick up a few bream as over the coming weeks they move into the surf zone and start to travel along the coast. The next two months are prime bream times before they head back up into the rivers and creeks.
Still offshore, the full moon this month will probably be your last chance to have a crack at the trag. I haven’t heard a lot about them lately but they could have a late run.
This is a top month with just about every rockhopper catered for. The deep ledges like Honeycomb and Kiama have good kings marauding the platforms early in the mornings. Live baits are essential and if you miss the kings there are still salmon, bonito, tailor, some mackerel tuna and still the chance of a marlin.
If you want to berley and soak a bait, royal reds are the bait of choice or, if you can get it, abalone gut. Bream, trevally and drummer are in many of the washes and the blackfish are starting to gather in schools as they make their annual run.
Cabbage and green weed will take them while berley in the form of sand and weed mixed in a bucket and a handful thrown in at regular intervals will keep the school about and feeding.
If the rocks are not your cup of tea then the beaches are fishing well for most species. The whiting, while not as thick as in past months, have grown and a dozen good fish a session seems to be the norm for those chasing them. The pick of the beaches is still Port Kembla and Windang but the fish seem to have spread out and most beaches have quality whiting.
Bream are about in numbers on the top of the tide in the mornings while tailor and salmon have been very common on most beaches, to the point where they are so numerous some days they are a major nuisance to those chasing larger prey like big mulloway.
This is a good month for big jewfish and getting information on them is like extracting teeth. Everyone is keeping their mouths shut but if the scales on the beaches and in car parks are anything to go by there have been a few good fish taken in the usual spots.
There are some good tides this month and with no daylight saving you can get home after dark at a reasonable hour.
In Lake Illawarra things are starting to slow in one section and speed up in others. The flathead have slowed after a very good season. There are still a few about around the drop-off and the channel but the main focus is on the big whiting on the flats near the entrance.
Worms are the best bait and some of the fish are thumpers, while the bream around the bridge during the evenings have been good quality. Towards the end of the month the creeks and feeder streams should really start to fire for the lure-tossers. Remember, the Wollongong Sportfishing Club’s annual bream tournament will be on next month so keep and eye out for that.
Garfish and mullet are abundant at the moment and fun to catch with a small float and hook baited with dough or prawn. Bran for berley helps to get them in the mood.
Down at Minnamurra there are some nice whiting along with the odd flathead and some bream under the bridges during the darker hours. If you like throwing lures around the pylons you could score a solid trevally or even a stray mangrove jack.Reads: 843