A Change Of Focus And TacticsWhat a wonderful autumn and (to a slightly lesser extent) early winter we’ve all just enjoyed. Despite one hell of a storm about a week into June, we were blessed with sunny days, lingering eddies of warm water and plenty of fish around to keep addicted anglers inspired and well fed.
Now we are entering the coldest months of the year – shorter days, frosty winds off the mountains, chilly mornings and icy cold nights. Regardless of this, the fish will continue to bite; it just means you need a change of focus and tactics to keep the action happening.
As I’ve often said, afternoons are the pick of the fishing times for me when the days get shorter. Whether it is merely a psychological mindset rather than an actual reflection of fact is yet to be proven. However, my circle of friends tends to agree and that’s good enough for me.
Another thing to consider is that the metabolism of many fish slows with the cooling of the water. For this reason, a change of tactics can be the difference between good and bad results.
Burley goes a long way to improving results in the colder months. Whether you’re up fishing in the skinny reaches at the backs of estuaries or you’re out in 1000 fathoms fishing for tuna, the fact remains that a steady flow of burley will boost the quality and number of fish you catch and ultimately take home to feed yourself and your loved ones.
It is also important to take into account which species you target and where. Many fish will make seasonal relocations, whilst others will stay put. Yellowtail kingfish, for instance, move out onto the wider, deeper high profile grounds in numbers, while John Dory come in from the deep and enter the estuaries, as do the mysterious hairtail. Offshore jewfish also make a transition from shallow reefs to small pimples of reef in waters around the 100-metre mark.
With this in mind, consider which fish you would like to target. Perhaps luderick (blackfish) or drummer off the ocean rocks excites you. Or casting small metal lures, soft-plastics or flies for the fussy Australian salmon whets your appetite for the ocean. Whatever the case, choose your target species with thought, search for the right tides, pick a sunny afternoon, take a stock of quality burley and get into position for a dusk session to fire up even the crispest of winter days.
In local waters of late, hairtail have been prevalent for over a month with the best catches in recent memory coming in. The Hawkesbury, Sydney Harbour and Port Hacking have been producing healthy hauls of these wonderful fish. They have a fair set of chompers but taste great on the plate. Snapper have also been in good numbers and are being caught on bait and soft-plastic lures at all of the regular tightly guarded spots. The kingfish, as mentioned above, have moved out wide, but great captures of truly large fish are still occurring off the rocks and the shallow reefs.
The whiting that were so thick a month ago have moved a touch further offshore and become a little harder to catch off the beaches, though are still in decent numbers in the sandy stretches of the harbour.
The tuna have started to turn up, with most of the action still down south. Even the odd billfish is stillabout, so stay on your toes if wandering wide.
Keep warm, keep the passion and get out on the water with mates this July.