Winter colours: Red, silver or black
  |  First Published: June 2005

The fishing is starting to slow down a bit over Winter but if you know where to look you can still rustle up a feed or some good old-fashioned fun.

Snapper have been cruising the inshore reefs, drummer and blackfish have flooded the rock holes and salmon, tailor and bream are in search of a feed around the washes.

The snapper season this year has been pretty good. Reports of good reds have been steadily coming in since well before Christmas and as long as the water temperature holds up around 17° to 19° the reds will still be on the chew.

The local snapper guys have all their favourite spots and catch a lot of fish out of them but the great thing about snapper is they could be anywhere. There’s no need for an extensive knowledge of reef systems and fancy GPS co-ordinates, just find some reef in about 30 to 40 metres, anchor so that the boat lies on the high point of the reef and berley like mad!

Use floating baits, throw them as far away from the boat as possible and dig your toes in. Soft plastics are also a good alternative when searching for good snapper haunts. Jig them right across the reef system and mark bites on the GPS. Take particular note of the depth because more often than not a good percentage of takes will occur at one particular depth. As with all types of fishing, put it down to trial and error on the day.

When the water begins to cool blackfish and drummer are the fisherman’s friends. They’re great fun and fantastic on the table. I have spent many a wet, windy, finger-numbing day chasing these fellas over Winter and this year will be no different.

If you’re targeting blackfish there is no substitute for the traditional slow-tapered rod with float and green weed or cabbage for bait. Thousands of blackfish will be taken every season with this method.

But if you’re not inclined to stand on a wind-swept rock and stare at a float bobbing up and down all day, fishing with bread is a fantastic option. Use stale bread for berley and some nice fresh stuff for bait. Get the fish feeding on the berley, sometimes within sight, and then present a piece of bread in a form close to what they’re already feeding on.

Light lines and unweighted baits are the go. If you’ve never tried this type of fishing before you’ll be surprised what you’ll catch. Bream, blackfish, drummer and all sorts of other ring-ins like trevally, tailor and even salmon will respond to bread at certain times.

For the land based game nuts, northern bluefin are still hanging around. It’s now towards the end of the season and this is when the big fellas start their run. Mack tuna are also likely to turn up so be on the look-out with the spinning rod.

Some monster bream have been hanging about inside the port on the oyster racks. I’m sworn to secrecy but I would be trying some of the racks in the Karuah River. Make a day of it and fish the bridges as well on the slack tide for a jewfish.

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