Blackfish, salmon are highlights
  |  First Published: July 2008

We’ve reached the coldest, bleakest month of the year but all doesn’t seem to be so bad. Although fishing has been a bit up and down over recent weeks, for the most part it’s reasonably good for this time of year.

Blackfish have invaded Brisbane Water and Tuggerah Lakes and, at times, they’ve been biting exceptionally well with full bags all round.

Shame on those greedy scumbags who catch their bag limit, take the lot home and then return to repeat the process! In some extreme cases, they’ll take four lots of fish home in the one day and these are the sorts of folk who fish for blackfish day after day for months at a time.

Don’t go telling me they’re just giving the neighbours a few fish because no one can eat that much fish. There are only two things that can happen to all that blackfish; it either gets sold illegally for around a dollar a kilo or ends up filling up the freezer so much that the older fish have to be thrown out in order to make room for more fish.

As a prominent Aussie used to say, shame, shame, shame !

For those who just want to enjoy catching a few blackfish, try places like Woy Woy, Saratoga or Davistown in Brisbane Water or The Entrance, Budgewoi and San Remo in the lakes.

Try to get the best green weed you can find and, if possible, bring along a few different types of weed because mid-Winter blackfish can be a bit fussy.

I’ve been fishing for blackfish off the rocks and have found plenty of solid fish, mainly along the northern part of the coast.

This year, just to spice things up, I’ve been berleying the blackfish to the surface with mashed bread and then casting floating bread flies on 6-weight fly gear. It’s certainly not an easy way to catch them but you get to see the fish hit the fly which is a novel way of fishing for an old favourite.

Bream, drummer, sweep, mullet and trevally are just some of the other species that will also get in on the act some days. You certainly won’t fill up a keeper net by fly fishing but it’s 10 times as much fun, providing the seas are calm and the wind isn’t blowing a gale.


As we move into the depths of Winter, salmon numbers are increasing and there have been some real whoppers lurking around the beaches and headlands over recent weeks. I’ve caught a few around 4kg and the biggest that I know of weighed 6kg.

They really put up a fight at that size and aren’t too fussy about what they’ll eat.

Pilchards are by far the most reliable salmon bait but they’ll eagerly hit small metal lures, soft plastics and flies if you’re into having some light line stretched.

Those bigger tailor that have been around since March lingered on for quite a while this year. Fish of 2kg were reasonably common along North Entrance and a few other spots, with a few 3kg to 5kg choppers hooked here and there.

Normally, there aren’t too many tailor around in July but as we’ve had a good year for them I wouldn’t be surprised if a few big ones are caught along the beaches this month.

Offshore fishing hasn’t been too bad for early Winter, although it’s been a little patchy – normal for June, July and August.

A lot of anglers are complaining about the hordes of leatherjackets stealing their baits and biting off hooks. If that’s a problem, the best tactic is to move right in close and fish water less than 20m deep.

For those who don’t think the inshore shallows are worth fishing, think again. Trevally, kings, snapper and tailor are quite at home in shallow water.

With light line and berley you can really have a ball close in and end up with a good feed of fish in only a few hours. Beats wasting a heap of expensive fuel only to complain about jackets, doesn’t it?

Best bets overall for July are blackfish in Brisbane Water, Tuggerah Lakes and off the rocks, salmon on the beaches and trevally offshore.

Some big bream may also be on the cards around The Rip bridge and Ourimbah Creek this month.

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