Everything fires up
  |  First Published: April 2009

Recent big seas and heavy rain will be a big boon for fishing on the South Coast this month.

The estuaries always fire up after a decent fresh, beaches will have some quality gutters to sample and the cold band of inshore water that lingered virtually all Summer is now gone.

Kingfish should now be a realistic chance with the warm water lapping the rocks.

Plenty of undersized fish have been willingly taking various lures in recent months but legal sized (65cm) fish have been rare.

Over much of Summer the inshore sea temp rarely got over 18°, thanks to relentless nor’-easters.

Fortunately now there has been 21° to 22° water resulting in some of the largest baitfish concentrations I have seen in many years.

Miniature garfish, whitebait, tiny pilchards and vast schools of slimy mackerel have all been showering the surface. Together with good numbers of bonito, hordes of frigate mackerel, squid and the odd school of striped tuna, the inshore scene is set to explode if the big fish do arrive.

With a bit of luck some good inshore kingfish action should occur and longtail tuna will be a distinct possibility.

Ocean temps out wide have been considerably warmer with some boats finding patches as warm as 27°.

Massive schools of small striped tuna have been present on the first drop-off and as a result many boats have been slow trolling live stripies at barely walking pace around the fringes of the schools.

Good-sized schools of slimy mackerel are also showing on the continental shelf so marlin fishing will still be a high priority for anglers this month.

Yellowfin tuna will also be on the increase with all the baitfish activity.

Oddly, mahi mahi have been pretty scarce this year so far but with reports of such warm water, they may just be late arrivals.

We have checked the FAD and the wave rider buoy a few times for no joy and other anglers have found the same deal.

Some big mako sharks have also been showing up in cube trails, spoiling anglers’ efforts to keep tuna at the back of the boat.

It is also that time of year when snapper anglers again come out of hiding and begin casting off the rocks and inshore.

A few nice reds have been captured off the stones already and the inshore plastic scene will once again be receiving lots of attention.

The rocks have had fish to 3kg landed with the boat scene encountering the odd 4kg specimen.


Bass have been fantastic, thanks to some good water flowing through from several solid downpours.

Ray Smith has been experiencing 20- and 30-fish days in his Hobie kayak. Many have been smallish 30cm fish but he has been getting some much larger bass as well as getting towed into snags by several unstoppable beasts.

One session in particular, Ray says he lost a number of big fish on spinnerbaits and shallow-divers, making it a pretty expensive day on the water.

Once again, the Clyde River has turned on some awesome jewfish action with 18kg and 22kg fish being captured along with some smaller school jewfish taken from the bridge and the breakwall.

Bream to 46cm have been located around the oyster racks, rock walls and tree snags.

One fish decided that it wanted my last Hopper Popper (no longer available) more than I did as it proceeded to smoke a very stiff set drag and drag it deep into the timber. I never stood a chance.

Whiting, too, are still eager to smash surface lures worked briskly over weed flats and some metre-plus longtoms are also making their presence known.


Beach fishing this month will be well worth a look following some heavy seas stirring things up.

Salmon numbers have swollen to plague proportions with some real honkers taking lures and ganged pilchards. Fish of 3kg are common and provide some great family fun.

Whiting are also showing up in the usual spots for those who like to catch their own beach worms. Talk of 40cm fish is filtering through so if you like a bit of sand under your feet, now is the time to have a go.

Bream, tailor, small sharks and the odd jewfish will all be a possibility, too.

Oddly, drummer have come on with gusto in contradiction to the warm water spike.

Usually a Winter standby fish, drummer to 3kg have been present in the washes and should only go from strength to strength as the cooler months draw nearer.

Be aware that the use of abalone gut as bait is still banned, so stick to fresh prawns and cunjevoi – which are better baits, anyway.

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