It’s all hard work
  |  First Published: September 2003

IN ANOTHER fishing publication several years ago, Steve Starling once called September ‘Scumtember’ in reference to the fishing in his local waters around Gerringong.

The fishing this month around Batemans Bay can mirror Steve’s sentiments and I have often adopted his comment as one of my own catch-phrases – the fishing this month can certainly be pretty crappy at times.

Don’t get me wrong, good fish do get caught at this time of the year, it’s just much harder work. The greatest factor would arguably be the water temperature, which is usually the coldest it gets. Fish are generally inactive for long periods, often feeding only in low light. Choosing when to wet a line is more crucial than other times of the year.

Relying on well-known feeding triggers, such as tide changes, after rough seas or following a good downpour, as well as the aforementioned dawn/dusk periods, can mean the difference between success or failure.

Lately I have had a resurging interest in drummer fishing, something that I once did a heck of a lot but I drifted away from it in the past three or four years. Unlike many other fish, the black drummer is a viable September option.

I had a serious need for putting a decent bend in a rod due to a lousy jewfish season (more than three tonnes of commercially-harvested jewfish from the Clyde this year is probably the main reason!) and a distinct lack of fish on the dinner plate motivated me to get out for some memorable white-knuckle sessions on fat pigs.

Several trips yielded a swag of tasty fillets, enough to even invite the in-laws over for dinner. All successful sessions shared a common theme – the first calm day after rough conditions, with dirty, stirred-up water calm enough to fish close to the water, and application of a sparse bread berley trail that stayed in range of our casts.

One memorable monster of a pig was lost in a last-second power dive that snapped the double-strength hook in half! My hiatus on chasing drummer had left me forgetful of their sheer brute strength. Kilo for kilo, the rock blackfish is up there with the best of them.

I’d also forgotten how good a feed of well-bled drummer tastes. A couple of 1kg to 2kg pigs provides a delightful feed but I urge you to let the big girls go, as they tend to be somewhat tough. I can distinctly remember sitting down with the family to a feed from a 3.6kg drummer that ended up going to the dog. Dial-a-pizza was a poor consolation.

Tuross is another option to shake the Scumtember blues, according to Wade Eaton, who has been putting his new boat through its paces on some big genuine black bream and good-sized flathead on softies. Tuross fishes well in Winter, unlike the Clyde, which can be a tough nut to crack. Wade has caught up with bream maestro Kevin Gleed on the Tuross a few times lately and reckons Kev has been cleaning up on good EPs as well as bream.


The ABT BREAM National Grand Final will come to Batemans Bay on October 3 to 5, when the best of the best bream spinners will battle it out to see who will be the 2003 BREAM king.

Being a long weekend, anyone wanting to come to town to witness the weigh-in will need to book accommodation early to avoid disappointment. I’d love to be on the water watching these guys at work but, unfortunately, I will not be flippin’ plastics for the bream, I’ll be flippin’ burgers for the masses, but I hope to catch at least the final day’s weigh-in.

Congratulations to NSWFM’s Cobar connection, Nigel Webster, who will be tying the knot of the marital kind on the same weekend. Lucky he didn’t make the grand final or he’d be in a bit of a spot!

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