Not long to go before things start warming up! It has been a cold Winter and I probably didn’t make things better by deciding to go trout fishing at Fitzroy Falls and at Pejar Dam, near Goulburn.
If you think Nowra’s cold, try spending a day at Goulburn tossing lures around Pejar in an ice-cold southerly blowing off the snowfields – that’ll make you know you’re alive.
We fished up there a few times over June and July and caught a few small rainbows but we certainly put in the hard yards.
Here are a few tips to beat the cold and boredom while putting in those yards and a thousand casts.
Take a thermos of hot coffee and/or soup and some sandwiches and food. A quick food break every few hours helps break the boredom.
Take a heap of warm clothes, like long-sleeved thermal vest and a beanie.
Another trick I came up with this Winter – take an iPod and headphones. I can actually drift away and stand there and cast all day while listening to music and it is so enjoyable. You can even select the music to suit your mood or the conditions.
We did best with shallow-diving lures and 10g gold Raiders fished over 4lb or 6lb braid with 6lb fluorocarbon leaders. The best results came by walking the banks and covering a bit of shoreline.
Pejar has been restocked with thousands of rainbows and some browns in the past 12 months so hopefully we’ll see some nice fishing there in the next few seasons.
When it was first created it was one of the most productive trophy trout lakes in NSW, with fish to 6kg taken regularly.
This Winter did, however, provide a bit of stuff to keep us warm in the saltwater.
We’ve been getting some reasonable reds on floaters over the past few Winters. The fish normally show up in mid- to late June when the water cools and they hang around until August.
The average fish would be around 1.5kg to 2kg and we usually fish with unweighted or lightly weighted baits floated down a berley trail.
We fish one specific piece of reef and gravel and anchor in 25m before getting a trail of pilchard cubes going. We then fish baits of striped tuna on 1/0 circle hooks and 6kg line direct to the hook with a pea-sized sinker directly on top of the hook.
Just throw the bait out the back about 10m, then slowly drift it down the trail as you feed line out.
I use a Calcutta 400 baitcaster for this as it’s a lot easier to feed line out and fish than a threadline. It’s also easier to strike when a fish races off with the bait.
The idea of mono line rather than braid is that the fish doesn’t feel anything when it eats the bait. It’s sort of the reverse of what we try to achieve when fishing plastics and most lures, but it works.
I fish 6kg mono straight to the hook with no leader or trace.
While we were getting some reds at our favourite spot there were also some nice fish being taken in Jervis Bay, which produces some very good reddie fishing over Winter if you know where and how.
My son Andrew did alright fishing floaters of an afternoon but a few other mates caught some nice reds on plastics out around Long Nose and Plantation points.
Fish to 4kg are quite common over Winter and then there’s always the chance of a 7kg beast.
The Banks fished pretty well for kings this Winter with quite a few fish to 10kg and the odd larger model. Some nice fish were taken on downrigged live baits but I much prefer to jig and I reckon we catch just as many fish.
The trick with jigging is that you can use the sounder to find the fish and drop a jig straight down and be fishing within seconds. Downrigging live baits is a little more time-consuming and very fiddly in comparison.
Winter is also the best time to get on the rocks and chase a few drummer. I still like doing this when I get the time.
May to September is probably the best of it so you can still get out now and expect to catch a feed of fresh drummer.
Just grab some white bread for berley and use cunjevoi or royal red prawns for bait.
Fish whitewater or a gutter with a bit of reefy structure nearby and you can’t go wrong.
I don’t think a lot of people realise just how good drummer taste when filleted and skinned. I reckon they’re better than snapper and probably one of the best eating fish we get here.
August is probably one of the quietest months on the South Coast.
There could be some yellowfin tuna about out wide and even some kings and reds in close but August is also famous for howling westerly winds, so it’s a good time to do a bit of boat or trailer maintenance or get some fishing gear ready.
I’ll be tying up some cubing traces and checking my yellowfin lures for Spring. Maybe I’ll respool a few Tiagras and even check a few mako traces for next month, when the real actions starts.
The Banks produced some great kingfish action in June and July. Fish to 20kg were taken on live baits and jigs.
The author hooked up to a nice red off Culburra in June. The Winter snapper action has again been excellent with a lot of fish to 3kg in close. Floating baits and soft plastics accounted for just about all of the best fish.
Estuary perch used to be Winter favourites before the closed season came into effect and although they’re now regarded as bream by-catch, it’s hard not to like them.
If all else fails, you can always catch a few calamari over Winter for a feed of salt and pepper squid.Reads: 3353