What a topsy-turvy summer we’ve had. The weather has been all over the place for months on end, which is very annoying when trying to plan an outing on the water. It’s also been a different season to last year, with some fish noticeably absent while others are biting their heads off.
Late last year we kept waiting for the good water to hit and although it came through in small patches, for the most part inshore fishing has been a bit lousy.
Kingfish numbers have been down and so far the same can be said about bonito as well. Normally February is the best month for bonito along the Central Coast, but with the way things have been it remains to be seen how they will go this season.
A few marlin have been caught out wide towards the shelf and last February and March quite a few were sighted much closer in. I was amazed at how many marlin were seen right in close, within a few hundred metres, from the beaches and headlands yet almost no one was out there chasing them. So keep your eye out and perhaps put in some time if they are about again this year.
Rock fishing has been about average for this time of year, with the ocean currents and weather making things difficult at times. In February a lot of locals like to high-speed spin from Terrigal, South Avoca and Wybung Head with the target species being kingfish, bonito and frigate mackerel. Hopefully these fish will be about in enough numbers to make the effort worthwhile. I used to really love high-speed spinning from the rocks, with Wybung being a favourite spot, but these days I find it to be a bit too much hard work.
Bream have been on the chew around the rocks and they can be found right along the Central Coast. So if you spin up a few bonnies or frigates, keep a few to convert into bream baits and you’re sure to be rewarded.
Blackfish are a very underrated late summer species, but in reality they are usually easy to catch off the rocks at this time of year. Wear some polarised sunnies and keep your eye out for surface feeding blackfish under any scum lines or flotsam. Sometimes they sit some distance out from the rocks, but careful use of some bread-based berley can draw them in closer.
This can also be a good time to try flyfishing for bream with imitation bread flies. A floating fly line is best for this but it doesn’t come without problems. Nevertheless, it is a very rewarding way to fish once you’ve got the basics worked out.
Beach fishing has been producing bream, tailor and jewfish after dark along most beaches, with North Entrance always being the most popular and productive spot. Over the next two months beach fishing should only get better and hopefully we will see another good run of big tailor like last year.
Tuggerah Lakes have been great if you want a feed of prawns, with Canton Beach, the Entrance and Elizabeth Bay the pawning hot spots. Oddly enough though, bream numbers are way down on what they were last summer. Hopefully this could change, but there are only another two months of the good warm weather bream time left.
At this stage of the game the Entrance has been the best place around the lakes for bream, whiting and flathead.
Brisbane Waters may be a better bet for bream and there have been some pretty good whiting caught by those casting poppers and other surface lures around Woy Woy, Saratoga, Davistown and other parts of the system.
Some reasonable flathead and a few jewies have also been caught in Brisbane Waters. From past experience, I would say we’re coming up to the best few months for jewfish here, so it could pay to start gathering up some local squid for the freezer or buying a few extra packets of soft plastics.
This summer I’ve spent a lot more time chasing bass, both locally and up in the Hunter region. Although they’ve been taking all manner of lures and flies, the top bass lure has been a black Trollcraft Shrimp with an orange belly. After catching so many on this lure I’ve been trying other black lures and have found the Jackson Cabua to be another very reliable bass lure. In fact I’m trying to type this column up as fast as I can so I can get the gear ready and head off up into the Hunter region with my canoe and fly rod. Hopefully a big storm doesn’t catch me like it did last time!
There are some big bass in our local waterways, but it takes a bit of time and luck to find them.
The black Trollcraft Shrimp has been a top performer on bass this season.
February is normally the best month for bonito on the Central Coast.Reads: 1223