LET me start this month’s column with the bad news.
In spite of early promise and good bait schools, there has been very little pelagic action from the rocks this season. A few northern bluefin tuna have been hitting the rocks but, by any account, it has been a dismal performance by the live-baiters, or at least the fish.
A few small bonito and some size tailor are still around and working the washes with lures and pilchard will draw results.
The focus this month, though, must be a little deeper in the washes and the targets are the migrating blackfish and some sturdy drummer – pigs. Yabbies at night for the blackfish and green and cooked prawns, abalone gut or cunjevoi for the rock blackfish are definitely worth a throw.
Berley a wash that has a tail of whitewater trickling out from the rocks and fish your baits on a lightly-weighted rig and you should be in business.
I have heard that with a steady berley trail, a few good bream and silver trevally have been turning up along the deeper rock ledges. Spots like Cape Hawke, and Charlottes Head have been surrendering pigs to 2kg.
I, for one, will be looking forward to tangling with a few of these fish this Winter. I largely neglected my rock fishing last year because of the bream infection I have been suffering but I’m told there is a cure; you just have to break away.
Talking of bream, there are some big fish knocking around the lake at the moment with the oyster racks around Bandicoot Island and The Cut holding some whoppers – and plenty of second-hand lures with little bits of leader attached. You probably won’t set any numbers records but persistence with hard-bodied lures will see a few hook-ups. What you do from there is your problem.
It isn’t all lures, though. Bait fishos have been taking good bream on mullet and chicken gut around the leases and on the flats beyond Yahoo Island, around the cockle weed.
As you would expect, the flatties have tempered their activities over the past month. They are still around but have retreated back up into the lake and its tributaries, where they can be found often in deep water.
The flatties, too, have lost that aggressive strike. Mostly, during Winter the best you can hope for is weight and a headshake or two before they realise they’re hooked.
Tailor have been making incursions into the lake and channels with some sizeable fish among them. Chris Maconachie from the Forster Beach Caravan Park has been wielding the long wand of a morning and has managed some nice tailor and a school jew on fly in the Tuncurry Channel. Chris reckons the tailor are a good size and, let’s face it, fresh tailor is not bad tucker.
The last of the whiting are moving from the beaches and are being replaced with packs of tailor, the odd bream and salmon. Even bream caught along the breakwall have had remnants of pipis in their gut so pipis is a fair bet for bait on the beach.
Preserved worms, pilchards, even yabbies flicked around the gutters on the beach, have to be worth a try but, with the cooling weather, mornings rather than evening seasons would be my pick.
There has been no single beach firing better than any other and with the fish mobile, it is a matter of getting some up-to-date info closer to your trip.
One thing is for sure: I don’t know that the mullet run was an outstanding affair. A lot of blokes on the beaches and not too many fish, I believe.
The freshwater scene is cooling off but the bass are still available to anyone who doesn’t mind the cold. The lower freshwater sections of the rivers are the spots to target with deep-divers and spinnerbaits, though I believe there are still some good fish up the back of the catchments.
The bass still have to eat and put on some condition before and after spawning, so give it a go.
Octopus cannot be taken from ocean rock platforms in NSW or rock platforms in Sydney Harbour
This is what you get when your loop knot to the jig hook is too big. You get small fish aimlessly falling foul of the design.
Thermal beanies, foggy rivers and chattering teeth are all the signs of Winter. This 42cm bass came out of crystal-clear water at the head of a rapid. Fingerless gloves would be a definite help now.Reads: 545