We’re fast approaching the Summer holidays so here are a few tips to those visiting the area who would like to stretch some line or score a feed of fresh seafood.
Prawning is very popular around Tuggerah Lakes at this time of year.
A few kilos of fresh local prawns shouldn’t take too long to gather, providing conditions are suitable.
That means we want a few hot days with some strong north-easterly winds around the new or dark moon phase. This month, the new moon is on the 16th so that means about four days before to four days afterwards will be the time to have a shot.
Scoop nets, drag nets, lights and accessories are available at most local tackle shops.
Remember to carry your fishing licence with you while prawning because local fishing inspectors will be out in force.
Blue swimmer and mud crabs are about at this time of year. Previous years have been quite good for the blue swimmers, which can be caught in witch’s-hat nets, which are also available at local tackle stores.
Mud crabs, however, aren’t so easy to catch around the lakes but I’ve seen a few big ones lately.
The muddies and swimmers will also be active in Brisbane Water, where are good tactic is to go spotlighting at night, with a long-handled net ideal to scoop them up.
The lakes and Brisbane Water will also have enough bream, whiting and flathead to keep everyone happy.
All three species will respond well to quality baits like fresh peeled prawns, live pink nippers, bloodworms or beach worms.
Freshly cut strips of mullet, tailor or garfish also make top baits for bream and flathead, but the whiting do prefer worms, prawns or nippers.
Casting surface lures for bream and whiting becomes a more productive and enjoyable exercise this month. Some of my favourite lures for this sort of thing are Lucky Craft NW Pencils, Jackson T-Pivots, Ecogear PX45s and the new Lucky Craft Gunfish 75.
The main tip I can offer to those new to the surface lure game is that no water is too shallow for this sort of thing. Depths of a metre or less are fine, but even 20cm of water is home to a lot more fish than one may initially think.
Some reasonable jewfish have been lurking around the lower end of Brisbane Water over the past few months.
While I’m not about to say they are easy fish to catch, the basics are pretty simple.
Firstly, you’ll have to catch some good bait. I say catch, not buy, so keep that in mind.
The baits to use are fresh whole or cut squid (depending on the size of the squid), live mullet, tailor or pike or very fresh fillets of these fish. Don’t throw away the heads; they will also interest jewies, especially the bigger ones.
Next step is to take a look at the tide chart and try to fish an hour or two either side of a tide change, high or low.
The main thing is to have a bait in the water right on that tide change, because this is when most baits are taken. While it’s possible to catch jewfish on bait during the day, it’s a much better bet to fish at night for them.
Woy Woy, The Rip bridge and out into Broken Bay are the areas that tend to produce for those who put in the effort, but jewies have been known to turn up almost anywhere around Brisbane Water at times.
On the beaches, you can expect to run into a jewfish after dark this month. Again, quality, fresh bait is essential, but don’t expect immediate success.
Although I’ve seen some very respectable jewies caught by lucky anglers in very quick time, in most cases it may take several trips to score a fish. Beaches to try are Budgewoi, North Entrance, Forresters, Wamberal and Pearl Beach.
Tailor, bream, salmon, flathead and whiting are other fish worth chasing off beaches this month. Salmon and tailor will probably be the most reliable, especially when using pilchards on ganged hooks.
Off the rocks, I recommend drifting out a whole pilchard under a float early in the morning. You’ll find out if there are any tailor, salmon, kings or bonito lurking around.
There have already been a few kings and bonnies close around the rocks but ocean currents are fickle at this time of year so it’s hard to predict which species will show up when.
The same applies to offshore fishing. December currents can be warm but we can also see some freezing 16° water hanging around.
Providing we have some warm water, the main fish worth chasing will be kingfish, tailor, snapper, bonito and possibly mahi mahi or marlin out wider.
Jewfish are another possibility just after sunset on the closer reefs.
All in all, December is a reasonably good month but the weather and currents can be a bit unstable – so bring your luck with you!
Matt Wright with a solid jewfish caught on fresh squid. There should be a few more like this swimming around Central Coast waters this month.
Bream like this one caught by Glenn Helmers will be on the cards over the next few months for those casting surface lures.Reads: 2230