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Let Things Slow Down A Little

By Dan Hutton on December 1, 2011 in

In a world where everything seems to be going faster, sometimes it’s nice to just take a break and let things slow down a little. For millions of people around the globe, fishing is one of those pastimes that allows you to forget the worries of your world and simply be. With December rushing towards faster than a blustery summer southerly races up the coast, thousands of you will soon head to remote parts of the coast to spend time unwinding – and many of you will undoubtedly wet a line.

In light of this, I feel it’s time to once again look at the basics that make fishing outings more successful.

Fresh bait is key. Whether you’ve been down to the sand flats pumping nippers, at a surf beach trying pull a beach worm or spending time on the local jetty catching yellowtail scad or mullet, the time spent collecting fresh bait is well worth the effort if you want to take home a feed of fresh fish.

The tide and time of the day are also paramount. Try to concentrate your efforts around the high or low tide. If these fall close to the change of light (dawn or dusk), all the better. Fish of all species respond to the rising and falling sun and tide, so be sure to consult your tide chart and plan to be in place with fresh bait an hour before the tide changes.

Structure is the next most important factor when trying to catch a feed of fish. Whether you’re on a lake, a river, an estuary, inshore or offshore, or fishing off the beach, look for areas that will hold fish. These can as simple as a change in water depth on the edge of a sand bar. Also look for rock-bars, rock walls, jetties, fallen trees, markers and pylons or hard reef. From the beach, look for gutters or fish the beach corners. Gutters can be identified by the lack of breaking surf or the deeper, darker water. Gutters and the white wash at the edges provide good coverage for fish to feed from, so find a gutter and fish your baits in or close to the deepest section.

Lastly, pick a target species and hone your skills by learning where it lives and feeds, what it likes to eat and the appropriate tackle to use for best results.

December is a time of fish rich activity provided you know where to look. Around Sydney, small yellowtail kingfish will be in full force and bigger specimens will be patrolling, but the spring run of snapper is likely to slow down. Out wide, the cobalt currents of the EAC will worth trolling in search of marlin, late-season yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi.

In shallower water but still well offshore, December can produce very tasty feeds of the varied flathead species. Try fishing paternoster style rigs just on or above the bottom and pick areas where broken reef is interspersed between sand for best results.

In the harbour, fish for whiting, bream, flathead and silver trevally. Start a fine continuous berley trail, fish lightly weighted baits and allow them to waft down through the water column. Off the beaches, Australian salmon, whiting and occasional bream and tailor should be your target.

Remember, it is always important that the fish you catch are treated with respect. If you’re going to take them home to eat, bleed them and get them on ice immediately to preserve the quality of the flesh. If you plan to let them go, handle them carefully and get them back in the water as quickly possible. Minimise your impact wherever you can so that the generations to come can enjoy fishing the way we do, because there’s nothing quite like the salt water lapping at your feet, a light breeze running through your hair and the chance that a fish may bite.