April is has always been one of my favourite times of the year to fish the Tweed. The Summer temperatures have started to cool, but not enough to give you second thoughts about an early-morning start.
There is generally a crossover of Summer and Winter species. The mangrove jacks and whiting have not yet gone off the chew, while the larger Winter bream as well as the odd tailor, not to mention stud snapper, are starting to make their presence felt.
The trick to consistently catching fish this month is to head out with an open mind.
In saying this, I am very species-specific when I go fishing, which simply means I always target one type of fish.
I still head out with this intention but will try to have a wider spectrum of gear on the boat.
If you head out for a light-tackle bream session and the trevally start to smash into the bait then it would pay to have a slightly heavier combo at hand for them.
Keep an eye on the conditions leading up to the day you intend heading out.
If there is a bit of a cold snap then the Summer species could shut down but the Winter species will bite better. It would therefore aid you in deciding how you intend to fish, what bait or lures to take with and where to go.
If you haven’t yet caught a mangrove jack or you just enjoy chasing them regularly, this month is usually good. As the water starts to cool the jacks sense this and really go on the chew.
This is obviously the case with most of the Summer species that thrive in the warmer conditions.
This season has been a cracker on the Tweed, even with the amount of rain we have had, the jacks have been going off.
I haven’t had much time to target them due to the early starts required when working on a charter boat, but I did manage a few afternoon sessions when we had only half-day charters.
All the sessions revolved around the use of live bait. The baits used were whiting, poddy mullet and bream.
We managed six fish from four sessions with the largest going 52cm. There were the usual burnt thumbs and braid cuts to show as war wounds for the ones that got away.
One of my good mates decided to start targeting them towards the end of the season and has since developed the usual mangrove jack fever that follows. At his last tally he was something like four fish landed from15 hooked, which is about right when fishing around heavy structure for them.
The fish have been a really good size and you can definitely expect this to be the case in April. Here’s hoping the weather holds so we can get a few more of the red devils.
Easter falls in April this year so we can expect a fairly busy few weekends with the holidays. Just remember to exercise a bit of patience at the boat ramps or leave a little earlier to avoid the crowds.
The offshore fishing usually starts to hot up this month with the reef fish starting to come out of their holes as the current begins to back off.
Jigging Chaos or Knife jigs on the deeper reefs, as well as live-baiting, will be good ways to get your arms stretched by the Seriola family (kings, samson and amberjack) while pearlies, tuskfish and snapper should be around in good numbers for the bottom-bashers.
As I was typing up this article Liam Moriarty rang me to tell me he just got a 9kg snapper on a plastic on the shallow reefs off the Tweed. Hopefully this will be a good sign of things to come this season.
The Nine Mile Reef will be a top spot to chase wahoo this month as well as the odd big GT, while Fidos and the reefs around Cook Island will be the pick of the spots if you are chasing Spaniards.
If you are new to the area and are looking to spend a bit of time on the Tweed over the Easter holidays, pop in and see the friendly staff from Angler’s Warehouse about where to fish and what to use.Reads: 1357