Regardless of which species you go after this month, don’t expect any miracles, August just isn’t an easy time for fishing around these parts.
As the days get longer, the cold gets stronger. Perhaps that sounds a bit sad, although the good news is that we won’t have to wait much longer before a few warmer days are upon us.
Before it does start to warm up, though, we’re still in for a tough time on the fishing front.
The unfortunate reality is that August is about the worst month on our fishing calendar.
The water is freezing and most species are either very lethargic or have vacated the premises.
On top of that, the weather and sea conditions are other factors to contend with. As has been typical during the cold months, we have mirror-flat seas one day and huge swells rolling in the next.
It picks up and drops off quickly, making it hard to plan a day out in the boat or on the rocks.
Despite all this negativity, it is still possible to catch a few fish and even get your line stretched to the limit. It’s largely a matter of chasing the few species that are active at this time of year and then being lucky with the seas and weather.
The shortlist of species I recommend fishing for this month is headlined by salmon, drummer, blackfish, blue groper and leatherjackets.
Others that are also possible are tailor, snapper, kingfish, trevally and bream, with an outside chance of flathead and jewfish.
Realistically, it makes sense to target the more active species to at least give yourself some chance of catching something in these tough times.
Love them or hate them, salmon should be around in good numbers this month and into September.
Admittedly, we haven’t seen that many salmon around so far this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t thicken up again soon.
Casting small metal lures, blades or weighted soft plastics into the surf, off the rocks or out of a boat on light threadline tackle will have the drag singing in no time.
Salmon are solid fighters and their acrobatics are a bonus. They’ll also respond to various hard lures and flies, so chances are you’ll already have some type of lure in the tackle box that’s worthy of hurling at a patch of sambos.
If you prefer a more laid-back approach, simply cast a whole pillie on ganged hooks and it won’t take long to hook up.
If you’re a sambo hater, another way to stretch out the kinks in your line is by heading out wide to jig for kings.
Weather has been the enemy of the kingie jigger this year and it’s hard to pick a day when you can head out wider, so that could mean taking a day off work if the forecast looks promising.
Back on the rocks, those drummer will also give your tackle a bit of a workout.
Again, it may be difficult to pick a day when the sea conditions are suitable for rock fishing. If we don’t have much in the way of nice, stable weather, then it may be a matter of trying to fish in less than perfect conditions or simply go fishless.
That doesn’t mean trying to fish when the seas are dangerous, though.
On the other hand, if we have a dead-flat ocean, try to gather up a few crabs or cooked prawns for bait and give groper a go.
Flimsy tackle may not be of much use on these brutal fighters so arm yourself with heavy gear and use double-strength hooks. You’ll encounter groper right along the Central Coast, although in the past when I did a bit more groper fishing I mainly fished around Norah Head or up around Catherine Hill Bay.
Tuggerah Lakes and Brisbane Water may be easier places to fish but both systems can be very tough this month.
Water temperatures may be as low as 13° or even less and that means that bream and flathead will be very slow to pounce on lures. Quality baits fished on light line should do a bit better at places like The Entrance or Woy Woy.
Hopefully a few blackfish will hang around this month. As is the norm during the colder months, luderick might be biting their heads off at one spot for a week or two and then all goes quiet, while another area may spark up.
For example, the three main blackfish areas around the lakes are Budgewoi, San Remo and The Entrance. Chances are that at least one of these places will be fishing well if the other two aren’t.
Remember, too, that these fish may start turning their noses up at one type of weed in preference to another. That could mean swapping over from green to brown or as some people call it, black weed.
Basically, if you’re not having much luck but can see someone else bagging out, take a closer look at the weed they’re using.
Fred Boikov with a nice king jigged up aboard Scotty Thorrington’s boat Freedom, wide off Terrigal.
Nathan Cefai with another good kingfish taken while jigging wide off the coast.
One of the author’s favourite species, the blackfish. A few of these should be kicking around this month.Reads: 1063