Easter marks the hopes and dreams of the land-based anglers searching for the thrill of the speedy longtail tuna that charge down the coast at this time of year.
Along with the various pelagic fish come the predators, like the whaler and hammerhead sharks and they love distressed fish on the end of lines so get your fish in as quickly as you can.
Booti, Flat Rock or Charlottes are the most frequented spots for the land-based live-baiting crews but other spots like Bennetts Head and Seal Rocks are also in the hunt for the passing tuna and cobia.
Often live slimy mackerel or yellowtail are available in the Forster boat harbour but they are subject to conditions.
The travelling sea garfish that sift the washes along the rocks are best jigged on-site with a steady stream of bread berley and a very lightly weighted bait jig.
I have been getting reports from spearfishers and other anglers that there are a good number of big rock blackfish (drummer/pigs) along the coast, with a mix of bream and silver drummer.
The rocks may well be worth a prospect and the beach anglers will be encouraged by the massive schools of whiting in the gutters and wide of the breakers.
Dart always seem to find the baits on the sandy stretches but the tailor have been a little thin.
Over the next month or so we will see a build-up of salmon numbers along with some heavier tailor and a few more school jew – I hope.
The frequent flushes of fresh water we seem to get over the stormy season have had the breakwall anglers happy, with plenty of jew coming in on everything from cooked prawns to 8” soft plastics.
I have no doubt the jewies and chopper tailor that are hanging around the breakwalls are after the tonnes of baitfish in the lake, waiting for them to flush out on the falling tide.
More impatient are the schools of bonito that have been cruising up Breckenridge Channel. On several occasions I have seen pods of a dozen bonito from 500g to 1kg firing up the channel at the top of the tide in and the clear, warm water.
It’s not what you come to expect in the lake but such is the diverse nature of such a large system.
With many of the whiting out on the beaches, worms and yabbies are a far better option than surface popping for them in the lake and shallows.
Bream have been patchy over the last month and I’m hopeful that as they get ready to run along the coast, they will become a bit more consistent on the tooth.
They can change from day to day with no real pattern to them.
Surface-luring up the rivers has perhaps been the most consistent with fish of 29cm fork length and better holding tight to the bank at high tide, where they’re demolishing the large prawns.
Spinning up flathead at the junction of the Coolongolook and Wallingat rivers is easy and has been particularly productive near the shallow water marker.
Fluoro-coloured plastics or bright lures are the go in the dirtier water. The flatties from that area are good table fish from 45cm to 55cm.
The lake is still producing some good blue swimmer crabs and the odd mud crab.
The swimmers are obviously more abundant in the vast weed beds and it is good to see so many small crabs (in my pot, anyway). That is a good sign for the future and for next Summer.
The only concern is that there are lots of crab floats being set in channels and marked incorrectly. A 1.25L clear Coke bottle doesn’t pass the Fisheries requirements, nor does a 2L milk container with no details written on it.
Check www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au for the current legal requirements on crab pots and nets.
With the more settled weather, hopefully the rivers will have had a chance to clear up and the bass will get back on the job.
With the closed season approaching, this is a great time to chase a few big bass.
Black and purple spinnerbaits, a ponyhead jig with a plastic and surface lures always manage to get the attention of the bass.
Fishing as far as Gloucester and down to the brackish reaches gives you an enormous, if not daunting, distribution range – good luck!Reads: 2001