Action a’plenty
  |  First Published: August 2009

Last month saw the opening of the trout season and for the most part was one of the better starts to the season we have seen in a while, water wise anyway.

Northeast freshwater

Most lakes, dams and rivers had plenty of water after recent rains and for those brave enough to battle the windy conditions opening weekend put on there were some good rewards.

The rivers of the North East saw some good flooded margin fishing mostly with worms and grubs, particularly the South Esk in the Fingal Valley. Here all of the little backwaters and drains were full of water and good quality early season fish were found foraging for tasty morsels in the tussocks and grass.

Having strong northwesterly winds of up to 40knots for the opening weekend made it difficult to find sheltered waters particularly any of the coastal lakes however the Pioneer Mine Dam offered a nice oasis from the blustery conditions and produced some excellent early season fishing.

Many trout up to double figures came from Pioneer throughout the first month with a good mix of browns and rainbows. The rainbows seemed to top out at 5-6lb and many being egg bound, a common issue with rainbows in locked dams and lagoons, however the browns pushed the 10lb mark and were in superb condition.

Most fish came on grubs fished under a small float but Squidgy Fish in Gary Glitter colour were certainly the stand out lure fished on a 3g #4 jig head with a slow rolling retrieve.

Coastal and Offshore

On the saltwater front waters off the coastline from Eddystone Point down towards the Gardens have yielded very good catches of quality flathead, particularly off the coast near Ansons Bay, with bag limits of solid fish being caught.

These quality flathead have also been caught off Binalong Bay and Tailors Beach in about 20m of water and down off Scamander River mouth as well. Recent stormy weather explains the current activity as rough water would have stirred up the surf and the bottom dislodging lots of food items the flathead love to feed on and with strong water flow down the river from recent rains and runoff it’s dispersed well along the coastline.

Further out wide the small breaks in the weather have allowed a few anglers to head to the shelf where some good hauls of blue eye trevalla, hapuka, gemfish and ling have been caught as well as some quality striped trumpeter in on some of the closer reefs.

Anglers also need to remember that September and October is now a closed season for striped trumpeter.

Georges Bay Salmon, Snotties and Gars

For those unable to venture far offshore, the waters of Georges Bay have seen the Australian salmon schools continue to move about the bay feeding hard on small baitfish. Many of these schools have been roaming the channel from Akaroa through to the bar way; some fish are reaching 3kg with the majority around the 2kg mark. The birds don’t seem to work these fish so don’t expect them to give the location of the fish away.

As the water throughout the channel is not relatively deep (2-5m) the fish seem to hug the bottom pretty closely so heavier weights on soft plastics and weighted flies need to be used or let your lure drop to the bottom before starting the retrieve.

Lures such as 20gm Halco and Raider and soft plastics such as Yep Tassie Tackle 3” Minnow and 85mm Squidgy Flick Baits have been ideal. The jetty anglers have also faired well on the salmon using similar lures and casting to fish moving past.

A tasty edition to the bay at this time of year is the snotty trevally or blue warehou; these are a hard fighting fish, great fun to catch and are very nice to eat. Most fish have been taken by jetty fisherman both on the Beauty Bay jetty and the Kerwins jetty and a common technique is to use berley to attract the fish and then small Sabiki rigs with multiple flies, such as the Wasabi Bait Catchers, and a small piece of chicken breast on each hook.

Large garfish are still being caught in good numbers but will start to decline as the month progresses. They can be found mostly around the sea grass beds down along the red channel markers. A small float with a small #10-12 hook and a tiny piece of white squid bait is the perfect rig for the garfish. Whenever fishing for garfish berley is as important as the bait and Ultrabite Stimulate Ground Berley mixed with a small amount of fish oil and sent in a trail down current will attract a school of Gars very quickly.


September will see the winter run of bream on the east coast start their schooling activity ready to spawn in the coming months. This is an ideal time to target fish up the many rivers on the east coast such as the Scamander and the Swan Rivers. Good quality fish can be caught this time of year but will be slow to start until the water temperatures start to climb as the month progresses.

This time of year offers good sport for all types of techniques, bait anglers prefer crabs, freshly pumped nippers, mussels and red worms and fish them either lightly weighted or weightless. Some huge bream to 45cm fall to this technique every year at this time and this season will be no different. Last season saw some larger than average bream in the Scamander River at this time so it will be interesting to see what turns up this month.

Anglers fishing plastics will see slower action to begin with but it will pick up as the month progresses, 100mm Squidgy Wrigglers in Wasabi and Bloodworm are the standout plastics that produce the bigger fish but will need to be fished dead slow along the bottom to create a bite. The vibe style of lures have become more and more popular over the last season and with some new models on the horizon this technique should make targeting the schooling fish in mid water much easier.

The Stiffy Devil Vibe is of particular interest and saw some good catches last season. It has the ability to vibrate at a much lower speed on the drop which makes it ideal in the cold water temperatures with lethargic fish, the Red Iris colour was the most popular model here.

Jamie Henderson owns St Helens Bait & Tackle right next to the fabulous Georges Bay. Call Jamie on 03 6376 2244, he has all the latest in tackle and bait and all the latest fishing information.

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