March is undoubtedly the spin man’s month on the South Coast. The water is usually very warm and full of life.
Matchstick-sized baitfish, often referred to as ‘eyes’, are about in loose schools throughout the wash zones hard against the rocks. Where the current intercepts prominent points are great places to cast and retrieve metal lures and numerous pelagic species will be prowling the washy fringes.
Bonito and frigate mackerel head up the list of possible targets with striped and mackerel tuna outside chances. Of course, salmon, tailor and kingfish will also be prevalent and oddballs like long toms, small samson fish, Watson’s leaping bonito and even spotted mackerel have shown up at times.
Cranking metal lures off the rocks at warp speed is great fun when the fish are really on the chew. These days I prefer to use a lightweight mid-length outfit matched to a Daiwa Emblem Pro 5500 loaded with 600m of 10lb Fins braid.
You can cast repeatedly for hours without tiring and the light braid can really fire off long casts, even with lures as light as 20g.
The first wave of sea-run mullet will most likely begin late in the month, which often kick-starts some big fish action. The likes of big kings, longtail tuna, mulloway and sharks all seem to appear once the schools of mullet start their mass exodus north.
Last season local angler Chris Bamman extracted a monster mulloway that easily bottomed out 35kg scales during the mullet run. By all accounts the fish was possibly over 40kg and was taken from one of the most unlikely beaches on the whole stretch of coast.
He reckons the jewie he lost the next cast after a really long fight was possibly larger than the one he landed. Migrating mullet have the ability to turn a fishless spot into a piscatorial utopia.
Snapper fishing on the offshore reefs this month really seems to step up a gear and if boaters’ accounts of the action presently happening are anything to go by, we should be in for some great times leading up to Winter.
Bait anglers and the ever-increasing band of soft-plastic fishos have been tasting sweet success on reds. Most fish have been around 2kg with a sprinkling of fish to 4kg. Expect those sizes to increase as the water begins to cool.
Offshore fishing for flathead is well worth a shot at the moment with bag-limit hauls of fish over 40cm commonplace. I reckon sand flathead numbers will skyrocket over the next few years now the marine park has restricted the trawl industry.
It is also a fantastic time to fish the estuaries. From the coast to the farthest freshwater reaches, there will be a worthy pursuit.
Big surface-feeding whiting are still the go in the Tuross system according to Ray Smith, who recently nailed over 20 on surface lures.
In the Clyde River Ben Roberts has been scoring some monster bream deep in among the mangroves on the big tides. But once the tide starts to run out you’d be wise to target the many flats, rocky drop-offs and oyster racks.
Estuary perch to 40cm have been encountered in the Moruya River with subsurface presentations doing the damage. Bass Minnows in 3” are a good starting point.
The EPs in the Clyde have been averaging 40cm with the odd monster over 50cm. Clyde perch just can’t resist an aggressively blooped popper, just make sure you incorporate some pauses in the retrieve and the surface boofs will be assured.
Shelf bound anglers have been still finding some quality action on small to mid-sized yellowfin tuna along with healthy numbers of small striped marlin and the odd big and angry blue marlin.
March often throws a few really massive blue marlin into the mix, usually resulting in another 24kg outfit being spooled in the blink of an eye. You have been warned!Reads: 1943