WATER temperatures will be on the increase in the ocean, rivers and coastal streams this month. Already good schools of giant and big-eye trevally and mangrove jack are becoming regular captures. This season looks good with plenty of these fish already well into the upper reaches. They are increasingly succumbing to soft plastics, but don’t underestimate the effectiveness of big lures.
Poppers, fizzers, and shallow- and deep-diving bibbed lures have taken big numbers of these fish for me over the years. The Australian-made Killalures, RMGs, Lively Lures Mad Mullet and Halcos, to name a few, are all great lures at the appropriate time.
Look for species that often cohabit the same locations as jacks, such as the trevallies. Most of the productive locations I have fished have also produced trevally and, sooner or later, the jack become the dominant fish and will throw caution to the wind.
Each season I see more people targeting them. If you want to see these great fish continue in good numbers, releasing all jacks will ensure productive future fishing. I have already seen once-productive locations now devoid of these fish simply because anglers kept their catch. Take out too many fish and eventually your brood stock becomes fragile or lost.
One of the better areas to fish this month for flathead and whiting will be from Letitia Spit up-river to Barneys Point bridge and into the Terranora Inlet to Boyds Bay bridge. This forms part of the recreational fishing area, free from commercial fishing. During the early run of whiting and flathead into the system this area can hold significant numbers of fish. Baits such as worms or whitebait can be very productive, as can soft plastics or small shallow-diving lures.
If you have a boat and are unsure where to start, drift along the lee shoreline. Plenty of fish often can be located this way. There are plenty of banks where you can pump fresh bait these can be good places to start fishing.
Farther upstream, places like the old piggery flats, the area behind Blackwatch boats and the big broadwaters behind Seagulls and the airport have enormous areas in which to fish.
The Brunswick River should also fire in all arms. With a little stealth and a keen eye, you can catch some big whiting in the quieter areas. The rock walls and oyster racks hold plenty of big bream, while the boat harbour is famous for it’s ‘chip’ lures. A small timber surface lure works wonders here on the bream, courtesy of the fish shop patrons.
Some good trevally work the walls from time to time, as does the occasional big mangrove jack. Farther up any of the arms is great for tarpon, bream, flathead and crabs.
Offshore large breeding cobia will appear on the inshore reefs. The Brumbies, to the north-east, Fidos, Little Wommin and the Chincogan reef complex at Kingscliff are all areas where these fish can be targeted. Yellowtail kingfish have made an appearance already around Cook Island with plenty of anglers throwing big poppers and jigs into the washes for some excellent fish. The back of the Nine Mile is also worth towing a bait around or drifting a bait along the eastern and southern drop-offs.
Farther south, reef such as Black Rock, Windarra Bank and the many smaller inshore patches continue to produce excellent fishing compared with the local Tweed reefs. Excellent catches of snapper, jewfish and parrotfish have featured often. Larger pelagics are never out of the question in these areas.
The trick is accessing these locations. Smaller craft can use the many creeks along the coast in ideal conditions but seek local knowledge of the dangers. Brunswick Heads also has access to many top locations but again that bar can be treacherous. Watch the weather patterns and reports and keep an eye on the swell. Having said that, I have seen plenty of small craft at sea in these locations but if you can’t get outside, you can always have fun in the creeks.