While I don’t generally target large female fish during spawning periods, it is hard to resist the chance at some of the large flathead that around the lower estuary lately.
I know of at least four big girls over 90cm and that have been caught and if this is the suspected small percentage of the breeders in the system, it is no wonder Wallis Lake fares so well on flathead year-round.
Live bait is a good and easy way to target big flathead with mullet legal (28cm) whiting and even other small flathead top baits. The real thrill is getting tight onto a fish while bouncing a 3” or 4” soft plastic in the deeper channels and holes.
That is exactly what Dave Priddle did with a 4” grey ghost Atomic Shad and 1/2oz jig. The photo hereabouts was taken shortly before the big female was released, as they all should be. Nailing their heads to trees or on fences is a pointless exercise and simply eliminates future stocks.
As for eating qualities, flathead from 45cm to 55cm are by far the best and, let’s face it, there are more of them.
If you are more a bread-and-butter angler there is a mini-plague of leatherjackets around the oyster leases with some soft-plastics anglers complaining about the ‘ticket-hole punches’ and chunks snipped from their lures. I suspect it is a combination of leatherjackets and toads doing the damage.
A piece of prawn on a No 8 long-shank will sort them out and a good feed of jackets is not a bad thing at all.
We should see an increase in the numbers of sand whiting this month as they ramp up their aggressive spawning habits. They will chase and hit everything from worms to hard-bodied lures as they prepare for breeding through the warmer months.
With the lower section of the lake silting up, concentrate on the deeper channel edges and holes, especially anywhere there is a patch of weed.
The channel in front of Godwin Island that runs up to Hell’s Gate is good for drifted baits for whiting and a good number of flathead.
Reports have been sketchy lately but I reckon if you can escape the crowds there will be plenty on offer. Fishing areas like the cockle weed over at Coomba Park will produce bream. Late afternoons or early mornings casting fizzers to the shore is a great way to spend some productive time.
I’ve had a few reports from Sand Bar and the southern beach has been fishing well for the small schools of tailor and the patches of salmon that are still floating around in the gutter.
Mick Pope scored a good bag of nine sand whiting early one morning using preserved worms. Mick said there were also a lot of small bream in the mix. The jew were Mick’s preferred target but after losing too many baits he changed to a lighter rig and cleaned up on the whiting.
Small tailor have been showing up along the beaches and rock fringes with the best of them around 750g. Pillies and gar baits are the go on ganged hooks or, as usual, metal slices and jigs for the more active anglers.
A good run of big blackfish has occurred along the washes off the headlands with bronzies up to a kilo falling to bread and yabby baits late in the afternoon. Blackfish from the clean oceanic water look and taste different from their lake- and river-dwelling siblings and are much preferred by many.
It may take a bit of rockhopping to find the blackfish but when you do they will be crammed thick into the potholes. Spots to look include the northern end of One Mile Beach, Flat Rock and Cape Hawke.
I have not had too many reports from offshore save a report of snapper, sharks and rat kings. Christmas is traditionally a time for the heavyweight kings at The Pinnacle but the past few years have been disappointing – let’s hope we see a turnaround in fortunes.
Dave Priddle with a magnificent flathead ready to go back into the water. Fish this size need to be handled carefully and quickly.
Peter Wright with his 92cm flathead, mentioned in last month’s report, that he caught near the bridge on a 2” bream plastic. There are plenty like this to be found if you have the inclination to find them. Pete took his on bream gear which is a goofd effort considering how close to racks he was working.Reads: 800