Fishing is a great pastime that I like to pass on to as many people as I can. But fishing is more than catching fish, and once we realise this then I feel we start to catch more fish.
US columnist and author Glenn Dromgoole wrote, “Fishing is good for the soul. You toss your line out. You reel it in. You toss it out. You reel it in. It leaves the mind to wander. Occasionally a fish might interrupt the reverie, but that’s OK...”
This month is a great time to go fishing and enjoy the weather and scenery and, if you enjoy it enough, you’ll catch fish.
One great arena to enjoy this month will be the beach.
The prime target species will be bream and decent gutters should hold plenty. The best baits will be fresh mullet fillets, garfish and beach worms.
The best gutters will be found after some exploration up and down the beaches. If you don’t have 4WD and a beach permit, then the access points along Ocean Drive between Port Macquarie and Lake Cathie would be best.
We should see some salmon turn up on the beaches and tailor will also be in the mix. If you can find these species hungry then metal slugs will get you some quality fish.
Those fishing from the rocks will have better opportunities to get some nice tailor, with spots around Tacking Point lighthouse, Grants Head and Point Perpendicular the best options.
These places will also be popular for those chasing drummer and luderick. Cabbage weed and cunjevoi will be the best baits.
Don’t forget to spend some time watching the surf and your intended fishing spot before you commit to wetting a line. Play it safe and make sure you don’t end up in the drink.
Offshore action will be dependent on the conditions; if things are favourable then some good fishing will be on offer.
Bottom bouncing will be the best option with the flathead ground straight out from the bar a good spot to catch a feed.
If you’re chasing snapper, morwong, and pearl perch, then head wide. Petersons Reef, south of tacking Point, would be one of the best places to start.
If you’re heading down to Laurieton then the Cod Grounds (152º 54' 30''E, 31º 40' 55''S) out from the Camden Haven River would be a good spot for some deep action.
If you’re after an estuary experience, it’s big bream time on the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers.
After a Summer of feeding up on terrestrial insects and gorging themselves on baitfish and crustaceans, the bream will be big, fat and willing to feed up before heading out to the beaches to spawn.
Only problem could be that you’ll have to sift through the juvenile fish as the bream start to school before their run to the beaches. Best time to target the larger fish will be after dark and the early hours of the morning before full light penetrates the water. Best baits will be prawns, whitebait and mullet strips.
For flathead fun, the flats are the place to be.
On a recent outing I had a bizarre encounter with some lizards and one that left me shaking and continually casting. I hooked a decent fish and as I wound it up, my jaw hit the deck and my eyes nearly fell out of my head! This flathead was of prehistoric proportions.
Then this behemoth cruised off, revealing I’d hooked her male friend. This monster female lizard had cruised up underneath the fish I’d hooked and for a moment I thought I’d hooked it.
We kept casting and boated a truckload of flathead, taking six nice meal-size fish home.
This month we should see flathead playing a similar game. As baitfish congregate on the weed beds and edges of the flats, so will the flathead.
Best option will be to drift with the tide, casting soft plastics slightly ahead of the boat.
Shore-based anglers should walk the flats around Pelican Island or drive out to Blackmans Point to work the flats there but get out early rather than later and make the most of the half light and the minimal boat and angler traffic.Reads: 1135