Wet Summer sets things up
  |  First Published: May 2008

I have been bemoaning the wet Summer we have endured and its effects on the bass season but although it has been difficult to film decent footage for Wild River Bass 2, the excess volumes of freshwater have certainly improved the saltwater fishing.

The build-up of baitfish along the coast continues with masses of slimy mackerel and garfish pushed in close to shore by the cruising predators. Collecting live baits is easy, with Haydens and Latitude littered with bait schools. A small amount of berley, a bait jig and you are in business.

Drifting livies will attract the attention of the cobia, longtail tuna and possibly a small black marlin so be prepared.

The FAD has still been producing dollies and the inshore reefs have been providing mixed bags of sand flathead, plenty of sergeant baker to annoy you and some great pan-sized snapper.

Of my favourite species, the rock blackfish or pig, is ramping up and we are set to have another blinding season this year. Generally considered a Winter species, these fish, like flathead, are available year round with the peak of their availability during the cooler months.

They are delicious eating and fight harder than anything other than a good-sized groper.

Bream will start to appear in better numbers along the coast as they filter out of the estuaries to spawn along the rocky fringes. The rocky ends of any of the beaches are worth looking at with Burgess, Elizabeth and One Mile being great spots.

There have been fleeting reports of tailor from the beaches and rocks with scattered salmon that I assume are massing for another Winter onslaught.


The big flathead just keep coming from the lower end of the lake. A mate, Paul Albery, and I had a good bream spin the other week with fish to a kilo landed on poppers.

I had to get back home so Paul dropped me off at the ramp and went live-baiting for a flathead or two. What he wasn’t expecting was a metre-plus monster to eat his legal-length whiting (27cm) bait. Paul’s fish is one of many big flathead that have come from the lake this year and many have been returned, including Paul’s. Sadly, still too many big female flathead are being killed for eating.

The crabbing will slow down after this month so get in while you can. I recently had the pleasure to enjoy a couple of muddies from the lake and I can tell you they are worth the effort.

Blue swimmers are perhaps sweeter and more prolific in the estuary system and much easier to catch.

Many of the mullet have made a move out to the beach fringes, although some stubborn bullies are still hanging around the lower leases along with some big bream.

A run of school jew along the wall has had some anglers happy and hooking larger models is always possible.

One angler was terribly disappointed while casting a soft plastic and hooking into a fish that ran him down the wall with the tide. Through pressure and grit, the fish was revealed as a flap-hooked shovelnose of sizable proportion.

There will still be a shark or two in the channel through the night and there was one small whaler stuck in the Rock Pool net a while back.

Don’t forget the MegaBream and the Forster Fishing Carnival this month, it should be a fantastic week of events and hopefully become an annual X on fishing calendars.

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