It seems that Summer has already arrived, even though it’s only the beginning of October.
Water temperatures have risen significantly in the Bay due to warmer days, sparking many estuary species to begin their Summer feeding habits. One such habit is feeding off the surface and now is the time to replace those well-used trebles on those favourite surface lures from last season with some sharp ones.
Bream, whiting and even flathead will engulf a surface lure when conditions are right and the keys are water temperature and structure.
Surface temperatures of 22° and above seem to be the trigger point for aggressive surface feeding, although I have had bream smack a surface lures in 17° water.
Low light levels, such as morning, and evening are definitely the best times because all three species move into skinny water at high tide.
Try surface lures such as the Lucky Craft Sammy, Lucky Craft Bevy Prop or the Bassday Sugapen, which all have excellent actions and are proven on bream, whiting and flathead.
From Soldiers Point to Karuah and Lemon Tree Passage to the upper reaches of Tilligerry Creek, there are some excellent areas for surface luring.
Flathead are now in full swing and plenty have fallen victim to hard lures, soft plastics and baits such as ganged blue pilchards and whitebait.
Where you catch one, several other flathead may be in the same vicinity as they gather to spawn.
Lots of smaller male fish of 50cm and under will undoubted lie next to or on top of one or more of the larger females.
Shoal Bay, Little Beach and the groynes at Corlette are popular hangouts for flathead, while the upper reaches of Tilligerry Creek will also have numbers of decent fish.
Sand whiting have made their way to the sand and weed flats that dominate the majority of the waterway, but it’s those that are influenced by greater tidal movement that will have the most and the biggest whiting.
Any of the flats from Jimmys Beach up to Tanilba Bay will have decent schools of whiting and live nippers or beach worms rigged with minimal weight on a long-shank, chemically sharpened hook and 1kg to 1.5kg fluorocarbon leader will certainly fool the wariest of whiting.
Beach fishing has been outstanding and so far the school jewfish population has been out in force, willing to snaffle fresh cut baits after dark.
Plenty of schoolies have been taken along Samurai, One Mile and Stockton beaches over the past month but it pays to have fresh baits. Freshly caught tailor, squid or mullet are number one.
If daylight hours are more convenient, you won’t be disappointed. Whiting bream and the odd salmon are willing to grab baits during the day, especially on tide changes.
Rock fishing is still an option if you enjoy a walk and don’t mind the heat during the day, although the walk into Boulder Bay has just become an extra 500m or so because the upgrade to the sewage treatment works has begun.
Black drummer and luderick are still worthy components on the high tides while tailor and snapper will still grab a floating bait early morning or late afternoon.
Offshore fishing is probably the most inconsistent because water temperatures inshore fluctuate daily, which tends to make the fishing a little hit and miss.
However, squire can be caught drifting the edges the reefs, especially The 21, the Inner V and Outer V and Boulder Bay Wide. Simple paternoster rigs with cut baits are ideal.
Drifting in the same vicinity will also ensure a feed of sand flathead, which can make a good day out when other species are tough to find.
Warmer water is slowly trickling down from the north along the continental shelf with some 22° patches holding the odd striped marlin, yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi.
Trolling lures, either skirted or hard, to cover the ground and find bait schools is probably the best bet. If you have access to the latest sea surface temperatures then that will increase your odds to locate the best water.
As Spring rolls into Summer then the fishing in the estuary and offshore will improve.