As we welcome in the New Year, fishing along the Central Coast seems to be in good shape with action in the estuaries, from the rocks and beaches and offshore.
Most species are quite active in January so even if one or two brands of fish aren't biting, there's always something else to chase.
Beach fishing is very popular now and towards the end of 2007 there were plenty of bream, a few tailor, whiting and the odd jewie cruising the surf zone. Providing those summer north-easterly winds don't kick in too severely, we should see the beaches get only better this month.
Even though our population swells over the holiday period and heaps of people head to the beaches to cool off, swim, surf or fish, there is plenty of sand along the Central Coast so finding a spot to cast a line is never really a problem.
Top beaches, as usual, are North Entrance, Wamberal, Forresters, Budgewoi and Birdie.
For bream, fish towards the end of your chosen beach close to any rocks or reef and don't cast out too far because bream like to get right in close looking for food. The same goes for whiting and often these little silver bullets will be right in under the shore dump where food items like worms, crabs and pipis get dislodged by the wave action.
Tailor and jewfish will be found a bit further out in deeper water and both species bite better around sunset or into the night.
Local rock platforms can get a bit crowded at this time of year, especially around Avoca, Terrigal, Norah Head and Snapper Point. There are heaps of other places to try, like the extensive rocks north and south of Catherine Hill Bay, Red Ochre at the top of Birdie Beach, Toowoon Bay and Crackneck near Bateau Bay.
A few bream and tailor will be moving close around the rocks this month but a lot of anglers will be hoping for harder fighting fish like kingfish and bonito which normally kick into gear about now.
Each year is a bit different from the last but overall I've often found February to be a better month for the bonito at South Avoca or Wybung Head so we'll see what the ocean currents deliver.
Just because it's the height of Summer, traditional Winter targets like blackfish and drummer are still on the cards. I've been hooking into some fantastic blackfish off Norah Head over the past few months and quite a few drummer have taken a liking to the green cabbage baits as well.
Don't forget to take any rubbish out with you after a spot of rock fishing. It doesn't take any effort to keep our rocks clean and makes it much more pleasant for others to enjoy the great fishing our local rocks have to offer.
Offshore anglers tend to get a bit excited in January as the chance of running into marlin or cobia is good as long as the warm currents move in close to the coast.
Even if the big fish fail to show up, there should still be enough small to mid-sized kingfish around.
We've already seen quite a few kings around the inshore reefs and headlands. The majority of these fish fall below the 65cm size limit but there are enough 4kg to 6kg kings with them to allow a few to be taken home for the dinner table.
Regardless of all the hype surrounding deep jigging with those heavy metal jigs, I strongly suggest trying large soft plastics in water less than 25m deep. Plastics like the 6” Atomic Jerk Minnows matched to a strong 5/0 or 6/0 jig head can be deadly when sunk to the bottom and retrieved in a series of sharp rips and pauses. My favourite colour in the Atomic Jerk Minnows is lumo silver but the real shad and smoke metal flake are others that I can honestly say work really well.
Brisbane Water and Tuggerah Lakes have picked up a lot over the past few months. Bream, whiting and flathead are by far the most active species to chase this month, although with all the garfish I have been seeing around the lakes lately, I think they'll be my next on my list.
Bream numbers have really come back in the lakes and, to be honest, I've never caught so many on surface poppers as I have this Summer. One morning no less than 40 bream came aboard my little kayak within two hours. They may not be big fish, but the fun of seeing so many bream constantly smashing a popper makes up for any lack in size.
I have run into a few bigger bream here and there, so if you're yet to try poppers on bream now is the time to do it.Reads: 859