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Calm Days And Fish-Filled Afternoons

By Dan Trotter on April 23, 2013 in Other

Photo: Dan Trotter

Photo: Dan Trotter

With the days rushing past faster than ever, staying focused on the bigger picture can be tough at times, especially in the heady, affluent circles we all call home. Our daily routines and the pressure to keep the rent or mortgage paid and the family fed, dressed and healthy can make it easy to forget about the simple pleasures and satisfactions. Just remember, despite the fact that there will always be someone who has more, you have plenty.

Rough seas, high winds and plenty of rain kept many anglers from their favourite pursuit during late February and the early part of March, and while there is plenty of warm water offshore as well as in the harbour, bays and estuaries, if no one is fishing then not much is being caught. Let’s hope that the weather treats us fin fanciers to some calm days and fish-filled afternoons this autumn.

Reading back through the diary pages for Sydney during the last strong El Nino years of 2008 and 2009, it appears the fishing was great in April, although the East Australian Current (EAC) was weaker and therefore coastal water temperatures were cooler. Keep your fingers crossed for calm weather days coinciding with your days off.

My bets for Sydney offshore boat fishers this April are on big kings on the 30- to 50-metre reefs with a few early fish from the deeper grounds, and solid snapper across the hard reefs inshore and the broken reefs further offshore. The summer run of jewfish enjoyed by a handful of anglers will have shifted slowly offshore, moving from the larger shallow reefs to the deeper house-sized reefs in the 90-metre depth range. If you fancy a relaxed few hours on the drift, the offshore flathead grounds should produce some healthy catches at this time of the year. Try a variety of baits that stay on the hook well; the addition of a lumo bead just above the hook won’t go astray either. Bonito should stay bountiful well into May, but anticipate that the small tuna species will start to move back up the coast and the striped tuna will head further offshore.

On the game fishing front, I’d expect to hear of a handful of big mahi mahi being caught as the EAC begins to slow and the eddies twist off and dissipate. There will be some great days fishing for striped marlin throughout autumn, but the run of small black marlin so evident earlier in the year will not make it back to our door. April is generally too early for big yellowfin and bluefin tuna from the Southern Ocean, but school yellowfin on the drift from the north are likely to be caught by the game fishing fraternity.

In the harbour, whether fishing from a boat or land, my focus would be on flathead, whiting, bonito and silver trevally. Interestingly, while some numbers of good-sized yellowtail kingfish have been about, they have not been in the quantities experienced a few years back when you couldn’t spend a day on the harbour without coming home with a legal fish.

Finally, for the beaches, expect to see the schools of Australian salmon moving back in, as well as smatterings of quality tailor. Whiting will also be around but you will need worms or saltwater yabbies to catch them.

All in all, if you can find the time to wet a line, make the most of it this autumn before the days grow too short and the winter chills dull your enthusiasm.

If you have a question or need a fishing guide for a day, email me at