October is the start of it all in our local estuaries, with the transition period to warmer water kick-starting the metabolism of many fish, especially flathead.
Over the past few weeks the water in the lake has slowly warmed, with a lot more flatties being encountered, especially towards the ribbon weed edges in 6m to 7m of water.
Anglers fishing smaller soft plastics up to 70mm have fared best, with slower presentations the go.
Most fish are averaging 45cm to 50cm, although bigger female fish will also be looking for a feed as they head downstream to begin their spawning ritual.
This is a great time of year for these trophy specimens, with crocs over 95cm possible. Every October is the same.
I like using bigger plastics at this time of year if I’m targeting the crocs. There will be a lot of casts in between fish but the end rewards will be worth it.
I know I’ve said it many times before but please let these big girls go, they are way too important to kill. A photo says it all and you’ll feel better for it.
When handling these big fish, take special care how you do it.
Hanging them up for a photo with no support is a definite no-no. Always support their body weight because it puts huge internal stress on them if you don’t.
Have a wet rag or towel handy when handling them will also help and never lay a fish on a hot deck or carpet.
If we anglers adhere to these few simple rules, there will be ample flathead for generations to come.
Other species that can be expected include bream, snapper, whiting and blackfish, particularly in the main channel east of the Princes Highway bridge.
Fishos using soft plastics or bait like bass yabbies, prawns and striped tuna will do well. Berley is a good option.
Tuross Lake is firing up nicely with plenty of flathead around the shallower margins.
Again, soft plastics will account for the majority of fish although live mullet should catch a few fish. If you’re after bream, the Tuross River is producing fish on hard-bods fished around the snags and rock bars.
The bream are widespread throughout the river so some moving around will be required. Also expect a few nice estuary perch.
The beaches have been a little quiet, mainly due to the lack of swell recently.
To get consistent results you need to do a bit of homework by driving around the local headlands and reading the beaches for gutters and holes.
Down south, Tilba Beach still has a good gutter, as does the northern end of Blackfellows Beach near Potato Point. Some reasonable catches of salmon and tailor have come from these two beaches.
This month we should see bream and whiting get a little more active, with live beach worms and pipis the best baits. Lighter outfits are the go with smaller casts just past the shore dump all that’s usually needed.
The ocean rocks have been fishing great guns for months now and even though we are heading into the warmer period, you can expect some good angling from most headlands.
Blackfish are still plentiful with the rocks at the Golf Course producing good bags. Drummer have slowed somewhat but big groper have been encountered around the same rocks and off the headland at Dalmeny. Live crabs are the gun bait with cunjevoi a close second.
This month there will be salmon, tailor and the odd bonito and kingfish off the deeper headlands.
Mystery Bay, to the south, is our LBG hot spot; it’s not that deep but the place holds plenty of bait and is extremely safe in most conditions.
Montague Island has been quiet apart from the occasional bonito to 6kg taking trolled deep-divers.
This month the kings should turn up, especially around the northern end, the Fowlhouse Reef or the southern pinnacles.
Have a few livies on board for best results. Bait should be easy to get below the Golf Course rocks or up at Kianga Reef.
Farther offshore, yellowfin tuna, albacore and bluefin tuna are all possible. Over the past few seasons there has seen some great game fishing very early in the season so let’s hope 2009 is the same.
A lot will depend on water temperatures, currents and bait activity but the early signs are there with some great-looking water to the north of us and promising reports from the longliners.
Closer to shore, the flathead population has woken up with bag limits reached inside a few hours on some occasions.
The fish are patchy but when you locate a concentration, expect some tasty fillets for the pan. Depths to 40m are good with the gravel off Kianga a good starting point.
Snapper numbers have dwindled but what’s there is bigger; I’ve heard of three around 6kg lately with the reefs of Tuross hot with fresh squid strips on paternoster rigs.
Mixed with the reds are quality morwong with a few coral cod, nannygai and trevally.
The deeper canyon walls in about 300m have blue-eye cod, gemfish and bigger coral cod.