time to look forward
  |  First Published: September 2004

IT'S GOING to get warmer before it gets colder.

While this certainly doesn't apply on a daily basis, it's safe to say it applies month by month and the coming Summer is closer than the previous one.

Although Winter can have a lot going for it, such as no howling afternoon north-easters and the lack of pickers destroying your baits, it's a fact here on the Central Coast that the variety and quantity of fish available is greater from Spring to Autumn.

This report deals with fishing during September and once the middle of Winter passes, I can't help but get excited about what the balance of the year is going to bring. One thing I do know it's going to bring me is a new boat, a 6.4m Spacecraft under construction with a cuddy cab and extended hard top and powered by twin 140hp Suzuki four-strokes. Hell, it's even got a captain’s chair and a dunny.

Anyhow, back to September and the Central Coast. There has been a proliferation of salmon and surface fish activity.

While they might not be on the top of everyone's eating list, salmon are a lot of fun to catch. It's worth remembering that each year I pull a few big kingies from under these schools, even inside these estuaries. By big, I mean large enough to eat a 2kg live salmon bait.

It takes a bit of discipline, especially when the salmon are crashing the surface all around the boat, but I found that by idling around the schools with a live salmon bridled out the back and knocking the boat into and out of gear so that the bait can dive deeper is a sure-fire way of weeding out any predators under the schools.

Even though action may be forthcoming on your very first attempt, keep it in mind because while the salmon are feeding themselves they to are prey to other species. Without a suitable bait in the water you are not going to find this out.

I've had some good sessions on the jewies in past Septembers and while they are far from consistent, if you do strike a patch they are often schooled up so the chance of multiple catches of big fish is greater than at other times.

Berley is even more important this month because fish such as bream, trevally and even flathead can be scattered over an area and the trick is to get them concentrated around your location. If no bites are forthcoming in about 40 minutes, I will move to another location. Putting in mega-hours in one spot doesn't seem to work that well during this period.

September can be an interesting time off the rocks and beaches around here. It’s prime time for big groper and some really big rock blackfish.

Trevally and bream can also be found under the washes by berleying and using fish strips and pillies in conjunction with small sinkers. Salmon and oversized tailor are also common catches as well as the odd big jewie.

Big schools of large trevally work the inshore reefs out to the 40-metre mark and good flathead can be had drifting the 50-metre to 60-metre line.

Reds can be hit-and-miss this time of year but often the average size is better than in the warmer months. Kingies can be caught on live bait or squid on the wider reefs and it always pays to have a large live bait out on the surface for a stray yellowfin tuna.

So even though some days in September can be extremely quiet, try not to be dismayed by this and write off the whole month.

Overall, fish don't seem to feed quite as often now as when the water temperature is higher, but when they do feed they can eat with a vengeance. You'll want to on the water when his happens.

If you want to fine-tune your jewfish skills for Summer, check out the DVD that Dave Butfield and I have made – Jewfish Secrets Volume 1. While this might seem like simply a plug, speak to people who have watched the show or attended our classes and ask them what they think.

The author and Dave Butfield with a couple of stars from their Jewfish Secrets DVD.

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