It’s been a very dry winter and with more westerly winds then usual we are praying for a wet spring to bring some balance back. The lack of rain and westerly winds has made the water very clear and a lot of weed in the estuaries. So a good flush out is much needed. If we don’t see enough rain then our prawn season may be a lot thinner than last year when it was fairly dry then. But what might be very present is a good run of mud crabs and blue swimmers which was in abundance last year and what I’ve noticed is that one good run is usually followed with a repeat or similar the following year before the pattern changes. Everything seems to move in cycles and then every now and then something uncharacteristic happens to make it interesting and or create a new pattern. Evolution is real. The fishing should be heating up throughout spring particularly in the estuary. Offshore we had a second opportunity at bluefin through out August and the commercial fleet made the most of it while the strong westerlies kept most recreational boats onshore. September the water cooled down a couple of degrees and left us with albacore which a few boats got into. Coming into October the water looks to remain cool and hopefully a few albacore are about. If the currents and weather are settled on some days then fishing the bottom has never been so popular and it has been very productive over the last couple of years and as mentioned in the last issue the bottom fishing inside the shelf has some interesting waters to cover.
Further inshore we have been seeing some good snapper from the shallows to the depths. Topcat Charters has been finding them in 40m and rec boats anchoring up and burleying have been finding them in shallower. But boats out drifting the 60m plus depths have also been picking up some good snapper and these days anchoring is not needed when you have a decent electric motor on board with spot lock on it. This is becoming a more popular option. Simply pull up and wack your electric motor in and hit the spot lock feature and some of these motors these days are powerful enough to keep you stationary in 2 knots of current. Motorguide electric motors seem great value for money.
Above: Dean Heycox with his first cast for the morning found himself a cracking Snapper!
My favourite time of the year for snapper is spring and I really love the months of October and November as it warms up and you get those beautiful mornings which allow you to drift the 60 to 80m depths before the NE winds start to blow. By summer these winds are like clockwork, everyday by 11am the NE wind begins. But before then you can get some spring days where it’s calm all day and the evening fishing in those depths can be magic.
Above:Jarrod Ward with a nice catch of land based Snapper.
Off the stones snapper are still readily available and the bait starts showing up and with bait comes predators. At some stage kingies will start to show and chance of bonito. But what’s probably more reliable is spinning for salmon and tailor or bait fishing for drummer and grouper. Nothing has changed for chasing these fish but what we do have in store is free bags of bread for burley that the bakery provides us with which has been welcomed by fishos passing through.
The beaches have been relativity consistent all winter going into spring with small to massive salmon and tailor. If it’s not one beach on fire with good schools, it’s another. So move around and you will find them. Pillies on gang is still the all time classic and spinning with metals. Although the metals these days just keep getting more and more impressive and when you start casting fancy Japanese metals you start experimenting with other hard and soft lures in the surf or corners of the beach and you’ll find some work quite well on bream, flathead, luderick and all kinds of other species. One to try is small hard vibes. Daiwa, Atomic, Rapala and Strike Pro do some great ones.
The estuaries start coming back to life at this stage. The bait starts showing up, the jewie fisherman start clearing the cobwebs off the aerators, the bream boys start buying new shirts, 6lb fluorocarbon leader and polishing their boats, the flattie flickers start buying new esky’s for beer and pull out their favourite 3-6kg stick and the whiting boys start buying boxes of sugapens and bent minnows and to report on those mentioned lures the Bassday Sugapen now comes in a 58mm version with some new colours which are going to be very popular over summer. The OSP Bent Minnnow now also comes with a rattle which will be equally as popular and all can be found at Compleat Angler Batemans Bay. This season we are packed with all the best brands in lures for our local estuary. Upstream the bass fisherman are starting to awake and we should have a better report on the bass next issue. You still can beat the soft shell Tiemco as lure of choice and for a cheapy then the Kokoda Bat is successful and not as painful to lose. The next big order of Ausspin spinnerbaits are on their way which has been a proven bass killer over the years in our local streams. That more compact style weighing 1/8th, with a single Indiana blade in black and purple is dynamite.
So with sunnier days ahead everything is starting to heat up, all we need now is a bit of rain and everything will be fine.