Time to get excited
  |  First Published: September 2009

This is the month I begin to get excited because the fishing starts to gather momentum in just about all departments, giving you a whole lot more options than were available only a few weeks ago.

It wasn’t a bad Winter with all those snapper about and that historical glitch when the monster bluefin showed up off the coast and sent sport and game fishers into a frenzy.

But now we start to settle into the rhythm of picking and choosing what we target and it just gets better each week for the next six months.

In October we usually see that first spike of warmer water penetrate down the coast, breathing new life into a whole lot of places that have been barren for many months.

The rockhoppers should have a good month with the deeper ledges down around Kiama worth a look for bruiser kings hard against the rocks right on dawn.

A fresh live squid is the prime bait but a big stinky pike is a good standby if squid are scarce. Live slimy mackerel and yellowtail will get plenty of salmon and smaller kingfish, with a few bonito thrown in to steal those precious livies.

The bonnies seem to have hung about over Winter down south and should get bigger with increasing numbers of baitfish arriving.

If the current hits just right October is always a special for a stray yellowfin tuna and big mackerel tuna from the rocks.


Along the Blowhole Point, keep the spinning rod handy because there could well be schools of striped tuna working close enough to cast at and nothing goes faster. Bonnies and salmon will keep you busy between schools of tuna.

Drummer are still on the boil and they take a whole lot less preparation time to chase than the pelagics. Grab a bag of royal red prawns or some cunjevoi and hit the washes.

Little or no lead is the key to good drummer and a healthy supply of bread berley helps to get them into the area and on the bite.

Throw in a few bream and some nice trevally and you can have a good session on the rocks.

The beaches are starting to get a move on, too, with more species on offer. Flathead are on the increase and a pocketful of plastics and a walk along any of the ’Gong’s beautiful beaches on a sunny morning casting into likely places is hard to beat for sheer relaxation.

It might not be flatties on the chew, either, as many more jewies are falling to plastics. Salmon don’t mind them, either, and tailor make a mess of them but it’s all good fun.

Whiting will really get a wriggle on towards the end of the month with the beaches around the entrance to Lake Illawarra firing first, then gradually all the beaches.

Beachworms are the top bait and give you plenty of by-catch from bream and salmon.

During the evenings there have been some solid tailor up to 3kg on the northern beaches and at the back of the golf course at Coniston. Whole pillies on ganged hooks and fresh slimy mackerel have been the best baits.

A few small jewies have fallen for the mackerel strips with some larger fish picking up a half or butterflied mackerel after dark. Small to mid sized jewies have been caught on plastics but as yet they have not really hit their straps but it shouldn’t be long.

The estuary shallows are warming and the poddy mullet, prawns and shrimp are starting to move. The new moon this month marks the traditional start of the prawning season and when the prawns move, so do the flatties.

The week after the full moon should see Lake Illawarra and the Minnamurra River start to fire.

Plastics and live prawns are the way to go with the prawns picking up some big bream in the deeper holes and ripper whiting over the flats.

In the back creeks, live prawns are the go for big bream around the snags or try bread berley for some of the big mullet and garfish that get moving this month.


Offshore fishing moves up a few notches but there is still a way to go before we hit the red zone.

That’s unless the yellowfin turn up, as they often do towards the end of the month. ’Fin of all sizes, from jellybeans to jumbos, can turn up anywhere from the rocks to beyond the continental shelf.

In close, trolled small skirts and Christmas trees work on the smaller fish while further out, larger skirts, bibless minnows and big diving lures work and good old pillies in a cube trail are still the best option.

Albacore are good propositions on the troll. Throw pillies over every time you have a hook-up to bring them to the boat. And there is still the chance of a smallish bluefin this month.

Striped tuna will be about from the beaches to the shelf and when they show up, striped marlin are not far behind.

There’s even the chance of a big blue marlin this month; Kev Ward nailed a 186kg blue in the first week of November last year so towards the end of the month you just might.

There will be blue sharks, big makos, the odd big whaler and even a few tigers starting to show this month and heaps of those pesky little baby makos over the close reefs, biting motors and berley pots and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

There are nice snapper to 5kg over the reefs and gravel in about 40m. The pick-and-berley routine works well when the current allows but plastics with heavier heads get down in the current and stay there for longer.

Salmon, bonito, trevally, rat kings and everything else that eats small baitfish are erupting all along the coast and provide great fun on light tackle.

As always throw a live mackerel or yellowtail into the school to see if the predators are being preyed on themselves by big kings.

If the kings are not shadowing the salmon they will be around the islands and the deeper reefs like Bandit and Wollongong on live baits and big knife jigs.

Flathead are on the bite over all the recognised sand patches but those rotten leatherjackets are still a nuisance.

Over the reefs there are trevally, samson and increasing numbers of mowies, pigfish and a few barracouta. If it gets rough there are always calamari squid in the bays and around the boat ramp jetties.


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