September marks a real crossover period, when all the cold-water species are still in full swing but we’re starting to see some light at the end of the long, cold tunnel.
A mistake we tend to fall into at this time of year is to fish for species that aren’t quite that active yet.
Although we may feel the days warming up, that doesn’t mean the water will also warm correspondingly. That may take another month to six weeks yet, so to have a realistic chance of catching fish this month, it’s best to stick with the traditional Winter species.
In the lakes and Brisbane Water, that means blackfish, with a sprinkling of bream and perhaps estuary perch or jewfish if you’re lucky enough to find them.
Those chasing the blackfish are far more likely to end up hooking into a few decent catches.
One thing that we should consider when chasing these late-season blackfish is that they can get a little bit fussy about which baits they’ll take.
For the most part, a good quality green weed will do the trick but this month it could be worth trying some of the brown or black weed types.
Providing heavy rain doesn’t flush too much fresh water into Tuggerah Lakes, these types of weed normally flourish at this time of year.
Other baits, like those tiny glass shrimp, live pink nippers and squirt worms, may also be to the liking of our local blackfish.
So if you’re having trouble catching blackfish this month, the key could be in the choice of bait.
Bream can be difficult to tempt right now but if you really do want to catch a few, again go for top-quality baits like live shrimp, pink nippers, squirt worms or bloodworms.
Another great bream bait that very few people ever use is blackfish gut. Some of the biggest bream I’ve caught, and seen others catch, have fallen to blackfish gut and in fact the biggest bream I’ve ever seen in the flesh was caught on blackfish gut many years ago in Budgewoi Channel.
If, however, you’re like me and prefer to chase bream with lures, I strongly suggest Berkley Gulps or small metal blades worked slowly in deep water.
Some of the Gulps which I’ve had most success on are the 3” Minnows, 3” Fries and those little sandworms. Top colours have been motor oil, pumpkinseed and camo.
As for the blades, a top one to try is the small Jazz Bokun and my favourite colours here are gold and black or white and green.
In really snaggy places, like up the creeks, I would be using the Gulps and in other places with a clean bottom, like at The Entrance, the blades can be the best option.
September is certainly one of the toughest months for estuary fishing on the Central Coast but I must say that through the Winter I’ve found the fishing to be much better this year than it has over the previous two.
So here’s hoping that Spring won’t also be as tough as it usually is.
Offshore fishing can also be very difficult this month, partly because of the weather and sea conditions.
Mirror-flat seas have a habit of turning into a nasty mess when those westerly winds kick in, especially out wide.
In close, though, the water may be freezing cold and clear, which is never much good for fishing.
So keep your eye on the weather forecasts and just try to make the most of things.
Out wide, the main fish available is kingfish, with a chance of yellowfin, big bonito and striped tuna.
In closer you may run into a few decent reds, morwong, trevally and, of course those dreaded leatherjackets which may also be causing havoc out wide as well.
Striped tuna, salmon and a few early-season kings may also get in on the act in sub-40m depths this month.
Beach fishing is pretty much all about salmon this month.
Yes, there’s a chance of tailor, bream and jewfish, but even if you target these species the most likely result will be a greedy salmon jumping all over the place.
There’s also a good chance that there won’t be just one or two moving into the gutter, either.
In fact it’s more than likely that the gutter will turn black as a huge pack of sambos moves in close and they tend to do this more of a late afternoon and stick around until sunrise, when they tend to move further out again.
Salmon will also be hanging around the rocks and headlands this month, especially at places like Terrigal, Wybung and Snapper Point.
However, a better bet for a decent feed of fish is to chase blackfish or drummer. There’s also a chance of a few bream hanging around the washes, as I’ve often run into bream off the rocks in September.
Overall, this is another difficult month for most types of fishing on the Central Coast but we’re at the turning point and fishing should improve soon.
School jewfish have been a common catch along the beaches over the past few months, although salmon are the most likely fish to take a bait at the beach in September.
Viking Lures maker Alex Hickson got into the local bream population recently and reckons he’ll be back for more.Reads: 1553