I can remember, not so long ago, when the days were warm and the winds calm. The sea was deep blue and the fishing was spectacular.
But alas those days have gone for yet another season and we’re back to cowering beside the heater practising knots and dreaming of days to come.
Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom because if you look hard and you’re keen enough, fish will abound from the wind-swept shoreline.
Blackfish, bream and drummer are plentiful this time of year. The best way to catch all three in the same session is to use bread as bait. Berley with some old stale stuff and reserve some nice fresh loaves to use as bait.
The fresh stuff stays on your hook a lot longer and can easily be moulded around the hook and used as a weight for casting. You need that little bit of weight because of the nature of these fish to feed mid-water means you’re better off using the smallest sinker you can get away with. I usually use none at all.
The bait looks a lot more natural this way and the will generally gulp it down instead of biting off chunks. So the chance of a hook-up is generally greater.
Royal red prawns also work wonders when fished down a berley slick. They’re great bait for drummer, blackfish and bream and the chance of picking up snapper is also very real, especially if the water temp is up a bit.
Tailor and salmon have also been on the chew in the washes. Dawn and dusk are the best times to fish for these fellas.
If I’m in the mood I usually get up around daybreak and head out with a spin stick and a handful of lures. It can be quite rewarding – even if you can’t feel your fingers when a tailor bites down on them when removing the treble from its gnashing jaws.
Inside the harbour, things tend to go a bit quiet over this period unless you know where to look.
The breakwall bream crew are at it again after dark with some great catches taken on the slack tide between the rise and fall. Once the tide starts to run the fish are still there but getting an unweighted prawn, a bream’s choice of meal, down to them without large amounts of unnatural lead seems to be the problem.
The first person who can invent a way of getting the bait down to feeding fish in a strong current with the bait still looking natural enough for a wary bream will be the envy of the breakwall brigade.
Further up the port, the man they call Hot Coles has been braving the ice-cold evenings with Bloodnut the Breamer. You don’t have to look to hard to find this pair – even in the dark, just follow your nose.
The stench of Bloodnut’s home-made berley is hard to miss. I think that might be one of his many secrets, just slip some of Bloodnut’s home-made berley brew into the water around some likely-looking places and the fish rise to the surface from suffocation. All that’s left is to scoop them up with the net.
So even though Winter is well and truly here the fishing isn’t all that bad. So now you know how to tie an Albright, a dropper loop and a bimini several different ways, grab a rod and hit the rocks – but remember to pack your jumper!
Bloodnut strikes again: A good mixture of home-brew berley and some diehard ‘there's no such thing as cold’ attitude was the undoing of this stud bream.Reads: 450