A great time to wet a line
  |  First Published: August 2004

THE OFFSHORE grounds fish particularly well at this time of year, with the wider reefs (up to 120 metres) definitely better than the closer areas.

Big kingies, sizable reds, heaps of morwong and leatherjackets are abundant. Inshore, big tailor, trevally, salmon and some reds are there for the taking.

The beauty of this time of year is that the smaller fish seem to disappear and all bites come from fish usually well over legal size.

On our rocks and beaches, big tailor, salmon, blackfish, drummer and groper, as well as those big jewies, are on the cards.

Pilchards seem to sort out the smaller tailor and salmon, while bigger baits get the attention of the jewies and thumper tailor.

On the rocks, cunjevoi, abalone gut, bread and prawns will likely snare you a few good drummer and bream, while good old green weed and cabbage will suffice for the luderick.

Red rock grabs are definitely the go for the groper. Remember, heavy gear, small sinkers and fishing your bait in close will hopefully help you to connect to one of these tractors with scales.

In our rivers and lakes, big whiting can be caught almost exclusively on squirt worms. The bream respond well to soft plastics though at this time of year you might find you need to get your lure right in among the cover. You’ll also catch bream on pilchards and strip baits. In the upper reaches, baits like prawns, chicken gut and skirt steak seem to work better.

The Jewies are mainly to be found up-river at this time of year and while they’re by no means prolific, they're definitely worth a crack with suitable baits.

Salmon schools also around in abundance along the rocky or sandy shores and in river mouths. Some days they can be incredibly hard to tempt, while on other days they will slam any sort of lure with gusto.

This is also the time for hairtail up Cowan Creek but from previous years and recent reports, if you put in a session and catch one, you are doing pretty well.

I love fishing at this time. There is a certain appeal about those cooler days and a lot of enjoyment can be had providing you dress suitably. I will have up to five layers of clothing on, as well as beanies, gloves and socks. There is nothing like being cold to take the edge off what should have been a top fishing session.


You live and you learn – no truer words have ever been spoken, I reckon. It applies to all areas of my life, from fishing to relationships, parenting, business, self-knowledge and, in particular at the moment, film-making.

By the time you read this, the Jewfish Secrets video/DVD, put together by Dave Butfield and me, will on sale. Due to our heavy schedules, Dave and I allocated only two days for all filming and we figured editing might take another day or, at most, two. Were we in for a surprise!

I have lost track of the number of days it has taken us to come up with the final cut. Something like two days of filming were followed by at least 10 days to put things in order, work out what goes and what stays and then the narration and the cover – a bloody nightmare. The filming was but a tiny part of the whole process.

But we have learnt so much that all forthcoming videos will be done in a different format which should make them less of a headache. I know this is meant to be a fishing report and it might start sounding like just a plug for our show, but we truly believe that anyone having trouble cracking the jewfish scene will benefit enormously viewing the video. Everything from baits and how to make your own rigs, techniques, spots, locations and tides are covered in detail.

Naturally there is heaps of wild jewie action as well. Anywhere where you can find jewfish, from Queensland to Victoria, South Australia to Western Australia, the same rigs, applications and techniques we portray will work.

There's a part of me that feels like we've disclosed way too much. But the agreement that Dave and I had from day one is that this video should cover absolutely everything and people after viewing it should be able to go out and catch jewies regularly around their local waters.


With fish such as this beauty in local rivers at this time of year, it pays to dress in layers so you can keep your energy to fight the fish, not the cold.


Combating the cold was sure worth it for these happy anglers.

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