August is a notoriously tough month for fishing around here. The water is freezing, it’s a constant battle with the weather and fish tend to keep their mouths shut or do a vanishing act.
Now that you’ve been warned that things are not easy, let’s move on to how to best deal with our toughest fishing month.
Firstly, it’s a better idea to target species that may be available and a bit active, rather than try your luck on some less co-operative fish that may not even be in the water to begin with.
Love them or hate them, salmon are here now and if you want to hook into some you just may end up having a happier month than some others of the salmon-hating persuasion.
I’ve tried eating salmon and using them for bait, but now I simply release them because as much as I’ve tried, I just can’t find them useful for anything other than a fun time on the end of a line.
At the beach this month there will certainly be a few salmon cruising the gutters, although I remember that last year they seemed to be more consistent along the beaches in September and October.
Every year is different, though, and even if they don’t show up in big numbers, there will at least be enough around to have a bit of fun stretching some line.
Wamberal, North Entrance and Budgewoi are probably the best salmon beaches along the Central Coast, although you would be in with a chance of hooking a few from any local beaches.
As always, whole pillies on ganged hooks are the most reliable way to go, but I have noticed that more keen anglers are trying lighter tackle and casting soft plastics or small metal lures from the sand when the sambos are around.
Large numbers of salmon may also move into Broken Bay and Swansea Channel this month.
I found Swansea to be chock-full of salmon earlier in the season and had a ball with mate Glen Helmers catching them on bream gear. Once the word gets out, though, the channel does cop a lot of boat traffic, which proves that certainly not everyone hates salmon!
For those who prefer to catch something else, there are options for more edible species.
Offshore, there are basically two ways to go at this time of year. Head out wide and chase kings and bonito or stay in close to target silver trevally, tailor, snapper and the odd morwong and flathead.
Either way, you’re probably going to encounter leatherjackets at one stage or another.
The jackets are particularly annoying out wide and those who jig for kings can almost be sent insane by these pests.
Tackle shops must sell a lot of jigs through the cooler months, as it’s common for a boat with three fishos on board to lose about 15 jigs in the course of a few hours.
One day I fished with a mate whom we’ll call ‘Lucky Dave’ and he lost more than 15 jigs himself! So if you’re heading out, take plenty of jigs and expect to come home with a lighter tackle box.
Right in close around the shallow reefs and headlands, tailor can be worth chasing by trolling or casting small chrome lures like 40g and 65g Surecatch Knights.
Always remember that the choppers prefer a bit of churned-up whitewash so get the lures into the suds for a hook-up.
Obviously, salmon may get in on the act and there’s also a chance of picking up a few kings as well.
Rock fishing has copped a lot of bad publicity this year, with a number of tragedies occurring on rocks at the northern end of our coast.
The reality is that education and common sense are more important than anything else when it comes to rock fishing.
If the seas are a bit rough then it’s a better idea to simply go home or fish the beach instead.
If you’re not quite sure if it’s safe enough to fish then you really should not be there in the first place.
If you’re new to the game then try to go with an experienced rockhopper and learn as much as you can before going it alone or with other inexperienced mates.
Never take your eyes off the water, never take risks to land a fish, wear grippy footwear and be aware of tides and weather predictions.
If all goes well, blackfish should be on the bite around most local rocks. If not, then other fish to look for are drummer, groper, tailor, salmon and the odd bream.
Don’t expect any miracles this month, but if you put in the effort you’ll probably catch a few fish.Reads: 1716