This month is normally about as good as it gets here on the Central Coast. I say ‘normally’ because last year was an unhappy exception.
Although our beaches are very reliable places to hook into plenty of fish in the middle of Autumn, the 2009 season was a huge disappointment but if all goes well, there will be a healthy mix of bream, tailor, whiting and jewfish to hook into, as well as a few salmon, dart and flathead.
As usual, the top beaches are Budgewoi, North Entrance, Forresters and Wamberal, but any local beaches could produce at this time of year.
Check your tide chart and try to fish away from those bigger tides that are over 1.7m. From my experience the big high tides we get through late Autumn and early Winter never fish as well as high tides around 1.4m to 1.6m.
This is especially so if there is a bit of a bump on the sea, because the more open beaches become a big washing machine with strong rips and sweeps that are difficult to fish.
Some of the biggest tailor show up at this time of year and both bream and jewfish should be peaking in numbers.
Unlike last season, Autumn in 2008 saw bream in huge numbers along the beaches but last year we had fewer but bigger fish. Quite a few stud bream between 1.5kg and 2kgwere caught, so here’s hoping we have size and numbers this season!
Rock fishing has been going well over the past two months, with plenty of bonito, kings and frigate mackerel moving in close.
A lot of the bonito have been only small but a few larger kings have been hooked here and there, with Avoca and Wybung Head the hot spots.
The same fish should be around this month, with frigates peaking in numbers and a few more tailor and salmon showing up as we move towards May.
Keep an eye out for large patches of sea mullet, which like to hang around the more sheltered beach corners. If you see a lot of mullet, that’s a good reason to try for kingfish or jewfish at the same place.
April can also be a great time to chase up some blackfish and drummer.
Some of the better places to try are the southern side of Catherine Hill Bay and throughout the Munmorah area, with the stretch between Wybung and Snapper particularly reliable.
Bream are also a good option along this part of the coast and if all goes well, all three species will be on the chew for the next couple of months.
Offshore fishing has been reasonable, with a lot of anglers trying to pin a marlin out wide or get some line seriously stretched on a decent kingfish in close.
While we’re just starting to fade out of the main marlin season, there’s still a very good chance of success this month as long as you find congregations of bait and good blue water.
That doesn’t always mean you’ll have to be out over the canyons, either, as quite a few smaller black marlin move right in close if the baitfish like slimy mackerel or frigate mackerel are there.
Jewfish and teraglin are about if you want to fish after dark over the inshore reefs.
From what I’ve heard, the trag have been in very good numbers over the past few months but now is the time to get out there because we normally have calm weather in April and with Winter just around the corner, it will be getting too cold to stay out late into the night.
If you simply want to head out and have some fun on lighter tackle, by far the best idea is to spin for tailor and bonito in close.
Inshore reef systems with a bit of wash will hold tailor and if you don’t see any sign of fish feeding on the surface, just troll around a small white feather lure for bonito. Once you strike a couple, then get out the spin gear.
Although a lot of people regard tailor or bonito only as bait or just something to catch, both species can go very well on the dinner plate if you bleed them on capture and place them in an ice slurry.
Estuary anglers will be starting to concentrate more on bream and blackfish as the weather starts to cool, but for now there are still plenty of flathead to be caught at The Entrance and a few other spots around Tuggerah Lakes and this month is normally pretty good for jewfish in Brisbane Water, with The Rip a jewie hot spot.
Frigate mackerel have been zooming along the rocks and beaches. They should also be around this month for those wanting some fresh snapper bait or simply some light tackle fun.
Tailor are reliable mid-Autumn targets from the rocks, beaches or adjacent to shallow reefs within a kilometre of shore.
If you want to pin a jewfish off the beach, this is the month to do it.Reads: 1592