Not all doom and gloom
  |  First Published: May 2009

Things have well and truly cooled down now, as we start to enter a more difficult time of year for fishing.

As I type this report a strong southerly is howling and the seas are a huge mess, and that’s the sort of thing we are going to have to get used to over the next few months.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as some species actually kick into gear during Winter and those fishos who like playing with weed baits, floats and long, floppy rods can have a ball when large numbers of blackfish move into Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water.

Each season is different from the previous and at this stage it’s hard to tell how it will unfold, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be good.

Blackfish should also be very active along the ocean rocks this month, so if you’re keen to have a go for them I would be doing it now; last year they started to fade away by the middle of July.

Just about all the rocks along the Central Coast can be good for blackfish, but some of the more reliable places to look are Crackneck, Toowoon Bay, Norah Head and up around Frazer Park and the southern end of Catherine Hill Bay.

Black drummer are also a good option in the same places, although heavier tackle is a better bet if you want to avoid bust-offs from the bigger pigs.

Bream will also get in on the act when fishing for pigs with baits like bread, peeled prawns or cunjevoi. So far the bream numbers seem to be down a little but they could pick up as me move into Winter.


Beach fishing is normally at its best through the Autumn but this year things seem to have gone a bit haywire. Yes, there have been a few tailor, salmon, bream and jewfish caught, but the action has been spasmodic.

Interestingly, a number of smaller school jewies from 1kg to 4kg were lurking along the beaches a while back. That may be normal up on the North Coast, but we tend to get more 10kg to 14kg fish here rather than schoolies.

There’s a chance that beach fishing could be good this month, although you’ll probably have to rug up and wear some waders to find out. Once again, the main species worth pursuing would be tailor, salmon, bream and jewfish.

Back in the estuaries, there has also been an unusual showing of school jewfish in Tuggerah Lakes, with a few fish caught at The Entrance and well back inside the lakes up towards Toukley Bridge.

A few jewies have also been active in Brisbane Water at the usual spots like The Rip bridge, Woy Woy and up around the Gosford end of the system.

Bream numbers were up through April and May and I was getting stuck into plenty of them most times I tried.

Now, though, the bream should start to get harder to catch as our estuary water temperatures drop.

Baits such as strips of fresh tailor or mullet, peeled prawns and bloodworms will take bream when they aren’t too keen to hit lures.

If, however, you’re like me and prefer to stick with lures then the best ones to use over the next few months are small metal blades like Jazz Bokuns and scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulps.

Remember, too, that any estuary perch or bass that you may catch through June, July or August must be released unharmed, it’s the closed season and hefty fines will be dished out to anyone trying to bring them home to eat.

It’s their breeding season and that’s why the closed season is enforced. So if you do run into any, just take a photo and pop them back into the water so they can do their thing.


Offshore fishing also slows at this time of year. Not that things were really on fire through Autumn, but a few kingfish, trevally, tailor and snapper had been around in recent weeks.

Of course, those dreaded leatherjackets are still snipping lines and they are sure to cause more grief over the next few months.

If the weather turns bad and you can’t get out then watching a few fishing DVDs is the next-best thing.

I thoroughly recommend grabbing a few of Craig McGill’s DVDs as they really do offer some excellent advice on a range of species including squid, kingfish and jewfish. They are also very entertaining, especially the Fishing Sydney and Local Knowledge DVDs.

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