Winter certainly isn’t an easy time for fishing on the central coast, with freezing westerly winds, rough seas and many fish simply going into shut down mode. However, all is not doom and gloom. There are also periods when a big high pressure system moves over NSW and sits on top of us for a week or so and that’s the time to get out there and take advantage of what’s on offer.
When conditions allow, offshore anglers with bigger boats can head out wide to target kingfish, bonito and yellowfin tuna. The perch grounds can turn on the action in July and August, with quite a few kings around the 8-10kg mark falling for 150-300g jigs or live yakkas fished down deep. The occasional jewfish and good sized snapper are also encountered around the perch grounds.
The only real problem out there can be the hordes of leatherjackets that make short work of expensive jigs and braid. If you’re having problems with the jackets, either move to a different patch of reef or try using dull coloured braid. If they are very thick and annoying, the only other option left may be to head back in and fish closer to the coast.
Inshore there will also be some kings on offer, as well as a few snapper, trevally, morwong, flathead and tailor. If all else fails, cast whole pillies or metal lures for salmon around the shallow reefs and headlands. Sambos may not be the first rate table fish that you’re after, but at least you’ll have some fun.
Rock fishing can be quite good in the middle of winter. Unfortunately we’ve had a number of rock fishing fatalities over recent months. The main reason behind these unnecessary tragedies is hopeful anglers pushing their luck by fishing exposed ledges during rough seas or as the sea and tide are rising. So remember only fish the rocks when the seas are calm and the swell is under a metre in height. Watch the TV weather forecast the night before planning a trip to the rocks and when you get there, if it doesn’t look perfectly safe just don’t venture on to them. If you try to take risks, then your name may well be the one people are reading about in the newspaper the next day.
If all is safe, the more reliable rock fishing targets in July are drummer and blackfish. That means dropping baits right in close under some white wash and using baits like cunje, green cabbage, white bread squeezed over the hook or some quality green or cooked prawns.
Along the beaches things are normally very quiet in July. Salmon are the main fish likely to be encountered, so the good old pilchard on ganged hooks is the best way to go. There may also be a chance of a few tailor, bream and jewfish if you’re lucky.
Tuggerah Lakes can become very difficult to extract a few fish out of in July and August. Water temperatures are at their lowest and so bream will be moving around in slow motion and generally closer to the bottom. The best mid winter bream spots are around The Entrance bridge and in Wyong, Ourimbah and Wallarah creeks, as well as at Toukley Bridge and Budgewoi channel. Just use good bait or lures fished deep and slow.
Blackfish are the other lake option at this time of year and The Entrance is the best area. Make sure you’ve found some good quality green weed and, if possible, some of that brown fluffy weed that is often referred to as ‘black weed’. I can never get my head around why people call it black weed, when it’s really brown?
Brisbane waters can also be very hard going with water temps hovering around 12-14ºC. Once again, try to target bream in the deeper places such as the Rip Bridge with fresh bait or scented soft plastics.
Leatherjacket, blackfish and a few jewfish are other species worth considering there through July and August. Of these, the jackets are probably the easiest fish to catch, using small long shank hooks and baits like pieces of peeled prawn or squid. Drop these baits close around bridge or jetty pylons.
Some of the more reliable leatherjacket spots are the Woy Woy baths, the road and rail bridges at Woy Woy and the wharves, jetties and moorings around the Rip, St Huberts Island and Booker Bay.
Overall, the main points to remember if you want to catch fish in the lakes or Brisbane Waters in July and August are: use lighter line, top quality baits, scented plastics or metal blades, and to try and time your outing with a high or rising barometer.Reads: 2021