Rain kick-starts the estuaries
  |  First Published: December 2004

Rain, glorious rain! What a difference the wet stuff makes to the fishing scene! When the heavens opened back in early October and again at the end of the month, it really sparked the estuaries into gear.

Flathead have been actively following plastic shads all the way to the boat some days and plenty of them are averaging 60cm to 70cm, with a few bigger as well.

Bream are being captured in all the usual spots, with the oyster racks looking like the best option. A few school jew have also been scoffing those same shads but cracking a pattern is no easy feat. Wade Eaton scored a 3kg and a 7kg fish one day then released a 4kg fish in my Polycraft the next day. The third day, I released a 73cm flattie but we had no jewie hits.

On the fourth day Wade lost an estimated 12kg to 14kg fish with the leader almost in hand before the hook pulled. Day five came and I hooked a cracker on the first cast of the morning!

Unfortunately the fish swallowed the lure deep and the 10kg fluorocarbon leader rubbed out at the loop of the knot. It was a brand-new leader, too, and the only explanation I can come up with is that the leader knot must have been rubbing on the fish’s gill rakers. However, since that lost fish we have not had another suspicious bump anywhere in the river over many sessions. Frustrating fish but well worth the effort.

During the same period some big jew were captured at night and there was the odd hard-luck story around the bridge pylons and the breakwall. Some big scales were noticeable at the cleaning table, later confirmed to have come from a 19kg fish caught on a fresh garfish.


Offshore fishing has also been firing with plenty more albacore being caught. One local boat tagged 40 albies, many of which were into double figures. Yellowfin, too, have continued to pop up, most notably a 73kg fish in only 50 fathoms and several 45kg to 60kg ’fin among the 25kg schoolies on the shelf.

Marlin will definitely be on the go this month so there’s plenty of motivation for heading wide.

In closer and off the rocks, kingfish again will be lords of the reef. Fill the bait tank with livies, bump that drag up a notch and get out there. Don’t wait to hear that the fish are on, be the one to get stuck into them first.

It will be interesting to see if bonito show up in numbers this season. Last year we saw a few brief and encouraging late showings so one can only hope. Once, December was a guarantee for bonito but in recent years they have been scarce.

Snapper anglers have been finding reds from 3kg to 4.5kg offshore consistently all year and the action will only be governed by current strength as Summer takes hold. As long as the current isn’t raging you should be able to floatline a few willing takers. If not, strap on a huge lead and bomb the depths.

Mark Terry and James Bunn produced two of the biggest pigfish I have seen for the weighmaster in the recent Soldiers’ Fishing Club competition. Sue Voysey also got in on the bottom-bouncing action and weighed in a bizarre-looking tassel-snouted flathead. Pictures of these oddballs in fish ID books do not nearly describe their weird looks as seeing one in the flesh. They look like they have been bred with a cross-eyed black duck!

My crystal ball gazing was again amiss last month in relation to bass predictions. With such extensive rains bass numbers will be spread to the farthest reaches of the fresh.

December is cicada time and this means surface luring. The jarring surface strike of a big bass on braid is a buzz hard to beat and is worth five sub-surface fish in my book.

Once again there are simply too many fishing options too choose from. Have fun choosing what to fish for this holiday period – the options are endless.

Kingfish like this 6kg yakka-eater are welcome captures wether you fish off the stones or offshore.

Big bonito on light spin tackle are great sport and go well on the plate if well-bled and iced down immediately. Lets hope they show in good numbers this season.

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