Normally, April fishing tends to taper off somewhat but regular rains are continuing to provide the nutrients that keep our fish stocks in good numbers.
I keep hearing, ‘The fish are out there but the weather won’t give us a break’ but all is not lost because conditions should settle this month and there will be many options to take advantage of.
If you’re not too keen on travelling far offshore, why not try to get to the ramp just before sunup. One of my favourite spots to go snapper fishing at this time of year is close to Redhead and Dudley bluffs, it’s no secret where the hot spot is.
Around the headlands in 12m to 20m the sandy bottom is littered with boulders big and small and there are some deeper gutters in close to Redhead Bluff itself.
Packed with fish food such as urchins, crustaceans and seaweed, the area attracts baitfish like slimy mackerel and yellowtail.
This is the ideal home for snapper, kingfish, jewfish, cobia, bream, tarwhine, tailor, drummer and bonito, to name a few.
So set your course for the bluff and about 100m off, throttle down and check your fish finder to survey the bottom. Once you achieve the required depth range, all you will need to locate is a ‘lumpy’ bottom and maybe some bait fish mixed in.
Always remember to remain as quiet as possible, especially if you are in an alloy boat. Noise travels long distances in the water and remember, these fish may have been feeding in these shallow waters overnight and, once spooked, you are wasting your time.
Place, not throw, the anchor into the water and release it to the bottom while controlling the rope. What you are trying to achieve here is to rest it on the bottom, not let it crash around and disturb the feeding predators.
Then start berleying. I sometimes begin the berley trail when I start my sounding track. In my mind, I am creating a trail to where I am anchoring so in theory fish may follow.
The berley I use is a combination of bread and finely chopped pilchards with a few larger cubes.
Then I’ll cast two baits out as far as I can from the boat, one with a finger nail-sized ball sinker and the other unweighted. Each has a different bait, one a whole pilchard and the other a complete large prawn, both with half-hitches over the tails to present them straight on the hook.
Normally as the sun starts to rise over the horizon I would have a some nice 1kg to 3kg snapper and maybe some bream. Between 6am and 7.30 is the hot bite time.
I may also relocate not too far away, maybe 30m to 60m, and repeat the process.
By 10am I’ll pull anchor and start to troll some live baits in close to the rocks and whitewater in pursuit of a king or cobia. During some sessions I’ve caught some nice king’s and cobes while anchored.
Bonito and tailor can be caught with this method as well.
By 11.30am it’s time for a quick flathead drift just wide of the bluff in around 40m. Usually there are plenty of little spikies but persist and a half a dozen nice fish can be caught.
By now you should have a reasonable number of fish and by the time you get back to the boat ramp around 1pm, you should have had a great morning.
This is only one option for an offshore fishing session but it’s an easy, effective one. Just get up early.
Big kingfish have been consistently in the news with regular reports of good catches by those fishing with live squid, especially around Swansea bridge.
But ,as Luke Lee from our shop can attest, you can catch them on plain old poppers at times. Don’t be too conservative and don’t be afraid to use 24kg gear because some fish well over 10kg have been hooked but very few have been landed.
Luke Lea with a 5.5kg kingfish caught at Swansea bridge on a popper.Reads: 1994