Great days on the lake
  |  First Published: February 2010

After spending a great day out on the lake I’d have to say life just doesn’t get much better.

Sure, there are trips when you get nothing, the weather turns to crap and you drop just about every fish you hook, but days like yesterday and today make up for them.

We didn’t get a heap of fish but it was a lot of fun and that is what fishing should be about, getting out there with family or mates, getting a few fish and enjoying life right there and then without any other things to worry about.

Macca and I headed out early to chase bonito out at Moon Island to salt up for our nightly bream sessions in a month or so.

These little rockets were a lot of fun to catch on 4lb line and small chromies and it’s well worth doing with the kids. Simply troll chromies out near Moon Island and watch the smiles on the kids’ faces once they’ve hooked up.

If you are shore based, there are plenty to be caught off Blacksmiths breakwall first thing in the morning and late afternoon with 15g chrome lures working best.

Then we came back into the lake and cast Halco Roosta poppers (red and white is the best colour or black) at the drop-over, where quite a few kingies have been hanging around the marker buoys. Unfortunately we’d missed the tide as it had just started to run out.

I’m suffering kingie fever since I went out with my wife a few weeks back and brought a nice fish of about 10kg to the boat after a 20-minute fight. I was a bit excited about it as it would have been my biggest kingie to date but my wife was a bit more excited and managed to hit the fish on the head with the big landing net, getting one of the trebles caught in the net with the other just in the fishes mouth.

We watched it swim off into the distance and I have purchased a new gaff which now lives on the boat.

A lot of boats have had success trolling fresh squid on downriggers around the drop-over, with the odd jewie as well. There have also been a few cobia about so anything could happen there.


Macca and I then headed into deeper water (9m to 11m) to try for a jewie as there are still loads of them around.

I christened one of the latest rods I’ve built with a nice fish of 5kg. We have been getting them regularly early in the morning on plastics, especially 7” Gulp in smelt, banana prawn and orange tiger.

We use the same lures for bigger flathead down deep (the shallows are very warm) on jig heads from 3/8oz to 1/2oz and bigger if the drift is fast.

I built a rod for Macca’s 40th birthday and was happy to be there when a monster flathead inhaled his 7” banana prawn Jerk Shad.

Flathead will be on the bite this month, with the Channel and surrounding areas best. Soft plastics around 5” work well in the shallower water and 7” in the deeper water.

The southern end of the lake will probably be too warm but anything is possible. Fresh mullet or live poddies, fresh or live prawns and squid will be best baits.

Shore-based anglers could try near any of the boat ramps or cleaning tables around dusk or early evening as flathead come in to feed on the baitfish attracted to the lights and the fish frames. Bream frequent these spots and are always looking for an easy feed at night.


Baitfish seem to be everywhere in the lake and tailor love eating them and should be plentiful in March.

We could see the baitfish showering everywhere and the tailor blew up on the surface with the best for the day a 1.9kg bruiser caught on 2kg line. I decided to use the poppers we threw at the kingies and it was great to see the tailor launching themselves out of the water to smash the poppers.

If you do see the tailor feeding on top, don’t drive right into the middle of them as they will obviously spook and head deep. Watch which way they are heading and then move the boat around them, cut the engine and let them come to you.

For shore-based anglers, the choppers are pretty much restricted to Blackies breakwall, the beach and on the odd occasion in front of Swansea RSL Club near the bridge. Pilchards on ganged hooks are the go there.

To cap off the day we found a few big bream where we hadn’t found them before and they hit our 5” Jerk Shads, meant for flathead, like freight trains.

If bream are your go there will be plenty about. Early and late in the day, try the shallows with poppers or surface walkers.

Near the sand islands or from Coon Island Caravan Park down to Boydies there are plenty of whiting. Live tube or blood worms are the go and bream will also take these. Other baits include fresh or live prawns with strip baits such as mullet working on the bream.

The beaches have been firing for big jewies in the gutters at dawn and dusk with a fresh livie or dead bait. This time last year a few 20kg to 30kg fish were pulled in.

There should be tailor about so have your chromies ready or brined pilchards on ganged hooks. In brighter conditions, try for bream and whiting with live beach worms.

Offshore seems hit-and-miss. There could be a few trag around the Doctors Reef and up towards Redhead and Merewether and if we have a bit of a blow, good snapper and bream will be around most inshore reefs.

Mahi mahi will be about at the FAD with a lot of little ones providing fun on light gear. Have a flick around the moored ships on the way out as they are just big FADs. Out wider, marlin will be your go and there should be a few about out at the shelf.

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