THIS is a beautiful time of year on the Central Coast although, come to think of it, every month is a good time of year here.
But there is something special about early Winter. The mornings, though brisk, are easily dealt with by a jumper or jacket, while the middle of the day is usually T-shirt weather.
The afternoon sea breezes are gone, replaced by still, calm evenings – a beautiful time of the year.
The fish seem to agree as well. There always seems to be an overlap of the last of the warm-water species and the start of the cool-water fishing, creating a huge range of species to pursue.
On the rocks, it's all systems go for rock blackfish. These blokes are my favourite rock fish – I just love the aggressive bite. It’s just a tug of war: Lose a few metres of line and usually you've lost the fish. Use too heavy a line and you don't get the bites. They really are a great fish to pursue.
It pays to take a variety of baits as drummer can be rather fickle in their feeding habits. Get the bait right and you will get regular hook-ups. Have the wrong baits and you'll swear there isn't a pig in the ocean.
Head out with abalone gut, cunjevoi, bread, peeled prawns and sea cabbage and I'm sure you'll find one bait will be best on the day.
Early this month is also a good time for late-season game such as northern bluefin and mackerel tuna, as well as lots of bonito and good-sized kingies.
Once the weather cools most game anglers, ocean and land-based, seem to hang up their gear until the weather starts to warm again – a common mistake. The ocean temperature cools more slowly than the air so even though the days might be cool, you'll find the water is still quite warm. This is also the time for those oversized tailor that seem to follow hot on the heels of the mullet heading north.
The jewfish seem to be better this time of year along our rocks and beaches and in the upper reaches of the estuaries, rather than at the river mouths. The fish seem to vacate these areas and head north for the Winter or move upstream.
I used to catch some monstrous snapper around this time of year off the rocks and on inshore reefs. While snapper numbers are not what they used to be, it's still worth giving them a shot.
They seem to prefer a rising tide and live yellowtail baits. I've caught more reds over 8kg on live yellowtail than on any other bait.
But, once again, offer them a menu – big strips of tuna, mullet, squid and octopus legs are all proven big-snapper baits. With those baits you stand a chance with any prowling jewies as well.
Salmon usually turn up on the surface along the coast and around river mouths and seem fairly keen to slam a lure or bait.
In the estuaries, the big whiting show up in numbers and we might see a few hairtail up Cowan Creek.
The video on catching jewfish Dave Butfield and I have put together should be available soon. We haven't decided on a title as yet but I've just seen the tape prior to final editing and it's a ripper. We had a great day on the water catching heaps of good fish in broad daylight. Along the way we catch some monster flathead and have a crazy time with some kingies. For all you mad jewie fishos, this is a must-see.