Early estuary season
  |  First Published: October 2005

The drought continues with little rainfall recorded across the last couple of months. This means only one thing – an early estuary season.

Bream, flathead, and even whiting all started very early this season with the first report of good quality catches coming in late August.

Flathead have been going nuts over the past month or so and should also be in good numbers right until the Christmas holidays, when the boat traffic seems to shy them off. Wayne and son Matt have been braining the flathead on soft plastics right throughout the Port and as I write this, I have received another phone text message: ‘12 flatties to 2.2kg’. Makes me wonder why I’m sitting here.

On another trip Wayne took the notorious bait-soaker, Graham Duffy, of Salamander Bait and Tackle, flicking lures for lizards. They bagged out on flathead and caught their fair share of bream, whiting and even a couple of flounder.

This occurred on the same weekend of the guys from my work’s fishing club held an outing. You could see their jaws drop as I told them of Wayne’s and Duffy’s success on the same weekend in the same area where the guys had failed soaking bait! I must admit that sometimes bait is the way to go, but not that time.

Offshore, a few reds have been sniffing around, with any increase in the water temperature being prime time to have a go. These temperature increase usually comes in this part of the world after a southerly blow, when warm water is pushed in closer.

The discoloured water that the rough weather produces also gives the reds a good bit of cover to hunt successfully.

Jewfish also start to hunt at the end of a spell of rough weather. They seem to like the water a bit discoloured.

Rainfall usually sparks the jew action in the ocean; it moves them out of the rivers and they feed up and down the coastline. So, if we do get rain over the next few weeks, jewfish are going to become prime targets.


It’s the time of year when vast schools of salmon are moving up and down the coast. They are great fun to catch but not much chop to eat unless you like going to a lot of trouble to make fish cakes which are usually pretty ordinary anyway.

There’s been a bit of local controversy lately about this species. The question has been raised that maybe there are too many of them and we are facing an ‘environmental disaster’ unless something is done.

I offer these questions to the debate. How many pros screamed ‘environmental disaster’ when the huge schools of kingfish were wiped from the face of the earth in not much more than a year by floating traps?

If people are worried about how much a school of salmon consumes in a day, think about how much those immense schools of giant kingfish ate in a day? Shouldn’t they still be eating that amount? The answer is yes, and when you think about it these kingfish, averaging a metre long and some weighing more than 25kg aren’t going to be feeding on the small baitfish salmon eat; they need something a lot bigger to keep them alive for the day and more of it!

So before people jump on the bandwagon and start screaming about environmental disaster whenever they see a school of salmon doing what they’re meant to be doing – eating – I urge them to consider what we’ve done to the ocean in the past, what is happening now and what we’d like to see in the future.

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