Looking for something special
  |  First Published: May 2003

Do you ever step out on a moonless night, look up and see the Milky Way and the Southern Cross, not a leaf moving on the trees, see the barometer is up and you just know that tomorrow is going to be one hell of a day?

It’s the feeling only an angler can get – knowing that tomorrow it is all going to happen and, if you get all the right pegs in the right holes, you will come away with something special. I don’t mean just catching a few fish, but for the feeling being out there away from it all and doing something that is special.

Days in May can be like this, with calm, balmy days after light south-westers during the night make the ocean a placid place, nothing like the ogre it can be a month down the track.

There is still a bit of warm water about too, I even caught a little cobia off Bellambi a few trips back, so anything is possible. But most of the serious anglers know there will be a few bream about this month, so that’s what they will be chasing.

The lake feeder streams are at their best this month for tossing a few lures around the snags. There are plenty of average fish around with a good smattering of larger fish to really keep you on your toes. Try Mullet creek and Macquarie Rivulet.

Keep an eye out for the Wollongong Sportfishing Club’s bream comp on May 25, when there will be great prizes. The competition is open to all who like to chase bream on lures and flies. For information, call Ian Phillips on 4257 2790.

Beaches all hold good bream at the moment, with any deep holes in the beach at low tide good spots to target fish, particularly in the mornings. The bream they seem to hold in the holes during the daylight and fossick for food in the shallows as the evening approaches.

Off the rocks, most of the calm bays and the wash areas you would normally fish for drummer will hold plenty of bream, while the same quiet bays are good spots for the boaties. For best results, as always, use berley to attract the fish to you and don’t get too greedy and catch the first fish that shows up. Competition is a great way to get the normally cautious bream to drop its guard and get careless then they are yours for the catching.

Bream aren’t the only fish that will come into the berley as there are still a few decent reds hanging about in close. The shallow inshore reefs are your best bet, particularly in the evenings, if you are chasing reds. Some nice fish around 6kg mark have been coming in from spots north and south of Wollongong.

Salmon, kings

Salmon schools are quite prevalent along the coast with the islands and Bass Point the main areas. Yellowtail kings, while not as thick as they have been for the past couple of years, have been much larger. More than a few fish over 9kg have been landed. Live yellowtail have been the key to success but the kings are not a sure thing because they move from place to place, but Rangoon and the islands have been the pick of the spots. Up around Garie at National Park is worth a look.

There are some solid bonito about but they too have been a bit quiet over the past few months. They have been hanging around with the kings and salmon, so there is a bit of variety for the sportfishos.

While the marlin didn’t make a real impact this season, April-May is traditionally the time that the big blues show up out around the shelf. Trolling big lures or fishing live baits down deep is the way to go – that is, if you have a boat large enough to take on the distance and changing weather that can occur any time.

Big sharks are out there, too – tigers and an increasing number of makos can make for and interesting day of berleying. If you are lucky you might even score a late dolphin fish or two around the traps but this must be your last chance.

For the bottom-bouncers there are still some nice flathead over the sand but you have to work that bit harder, particularly if there isn’t much wind to give you a good drift. Small reds and a few mowies are over the reefs and gravel, with more leatherjackets starting to make an appearance in most catches. Sweep have been active and a few tailor have been knocking off baits in closer.

Drummer await

Off the rocks, it isn’t a bad time but things go downhill from here as the cooler water arrives. Apart from those bream, the drummer start to get into action with fish up to 3kg not uncommon. Try royal red prawns fished under a bobby cork in the foaming whitewater, where you can get some pretty hot fishing.

Blackfish are another species that gets a bit of attention this month and if the weather gets a bit nasty later in the month, you could do worse than fishing in the harbours with green weed under a float.

Off the deeper ledges there are still salmon and a few kings but they are best chased with live baits like yellowtail for best results. The bonus is there are a few big mackerel tuna hunting the deeper ledges, particularly during the afternoons. Not a lot of fish move faster than a 7kg or 8kg mack tuna hitting the afterburners, so be ready to lose line on that first run.

The beaches are slowing down, too, but the bream will keep things active for a while, along with some nice tailor during the evenings on most beaches.

This month may be your last chance to get into the jewies before they close down for Winter. Big fish are the targets as the smaller schoolies head to other places when the water starts to get cold. While the beach after dark in May can get a bit chilly, a big jewie soon warms up the night.

The estuaries are slowing right down, so unless we get a bit of rain to stir things up for one last run, after the bream it could be time to put the little gear away for a few months.

This month the weather governs the fishing so you have to go when the going is good. What happens if you don’t? You may have missed that one occasion when you might have scored something out of the ordinary, or that once-in-a-lifetime catch. Don’t die wondering – get out there and do it.

Trannie No.1.

Geoff Ward was in the right spot at the right time and scored a solid mack tuna. There have been a few about.

Trannie No.2.

Even the humble handline will get you a few bream if you use berley and fish light.

Trannie No.3.

There will be some nice snapper over the close reefs over the next few weeks and, if you are lucky, you might get one this big.

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