COMING back home to single-digit temperatures after trips to the Kimberley and Fiji takes some doing.
After a week of 30°-plus tropical days and a heap of fish, I keep telling myself that I have to make the most of what’s available but sometimes I wonder why I don’t just relocate to somewhere warmer.
These days the hot weather doesn’t worry me too much but I do feel the cold and find myself thinking of other things to do on cold Winter mornings other than get up early and go fishing. Call me soft or a sook, but standing on the rocks at daybreak in July is not my idea of fun unless I’m enjoying some exceptional fishing. As I get older I find myself enjoying Sunday mornings with the family and maybe fishing in the afternoon if the tides are right. That way I get the best of both worlds and don’t have to get out of bed at 5am and put up with frozen feet and hands.
Of course there are a heap of ways to beat the cold and if you dress to the occasion, fishing in Winter can be quite enjoyable as long as you stay warm and comfortable. Quite obviously, keeping your legs and torso warm are paramount. Fleece jackets and tracksuit pants are the go in reasonably cold weather but polypropylene undergarments are required when it hits freezing.
The final layer of clothing should be something that is wind- and spray-proof as any breeze in Winter can lower the temperature by several degrees. Just as important are the feet and hands, a problem when fishing. If your feet are likely to get wet, waders or gumboots with thermal socks are a good option although this isn’t recommended if you are rock fishing. Falling in wearing waders would make swimming to safety just about impossible.
Fishing the rocks in Winter, I prefer to wear neoprene booties and sandals with studs or shoes with rock plates and I just put up with getting cold, wet feet. I also wear woollen gloves where practical and even have a pair with the fingers cut out so I can feel fishing line and cast.
They say that if your head is warm then you will be warm and I guess this is because so much blood flows to the head and brain. Keep it warm with a beanie and it will keep you warm.
In mildly cold conditions I wear a Polartec beanie but in the middle of Winter at night I wear a Thinsulate thermal beanie which keeps my head and ears as warm as toast. If it’s sunny and cold I’ll often wear a thin Polartec beanie under a cap so that I’m warm but can also keep the sun out of my eyes and off my face.
Most people eat more when it’s cold so keep this in mind when planning Winter trips. Always take the time to make some sandwiches and especially a thermos of coffee or hot soup. There’s only one thing worse than being cold and miserable while fishing and that’s being hungry as well!
As I’ve already hinted, things are cold and quiet at present. There are a few fish about and some anglers are having a bit of luck but most are having trouble staying focused and putting up with the cold weather.
The beaches are producing a few salmon and tailor but the jewfish of April and May are just about gone. The rocks are fishing reasonably well for drummer with a few blackfish still hanging around for those who are prepared to fish the tides and put the time in.
Outside, the fishing is pretty quiet with only the keenest of boaties catching a feed. I guess we’re all waiting for Spring to roll around and some warmer weather to bring a few fish back down this way.
Last Winter I promised my wife I’d paint the house inside but that never happened. I went fishing every weekend instead and can’t actually recall catching a lot, to be honest. This winter I made the same promise and with the fishing pretty slow at present I’ve bitten the bullet and made a start with the brush.
Doing my office was a real eye-opener when I found tackle and fishing-related bits and pieces I never even knew I had. Most of it got thrown out in a big tidy-up.
Something that was also long overdue was a practical rod storage system for my boat outfits that just seemed to lie around in disarray. I now have a vertical system consisting of a 900mm long piece of 80mm x 25mm timber nailed to the ceiling in one corner of my office. Into this I’ve screwed eight small brass cup hooks that the rod tips fit over. Eight complete outfits hang from these where they are out of the way but easily accessed.
Another thing I also did while cleaning up was throw out some old picture frames and buy a few newer trendy ones that suited the office. I got some slides of memorable fish scanned onto a CD and got my daughter to print these out on photographic paper in our colour printer. The end result is quite impressive and it’s hard to tell the difference between prints from the local 1 hour photo shop. The new frames look great in the office and the shots bring back some awesome memories of trips away.
The rock platforms north and south of Jervis Bay that still remain open are producing some reasonable drummer.
Bobby Russo fishing the rocks at Currarong. After recent knee surgery in Sydney, Bob should be back on the rocks soon.
Blackfish are still around in numbers but will probably start to slow in August and September.Reads: 521