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The Return Of El Niño

By Dan Trotter on October 23, 2012 in Other

Photo: Dan Trotter

If the end to winter and the start to spring are anything to go by, then my guess is that La Nina has passed and we are witnessing a return to El Niño, the drier side of the Southern Oscillation pattern, which typifies weather in the southern Pacific. I’m going to go out on a limb and forecast a hot, dry summer with late warm water currents, plenty of bushfires and a weak EAC. Like most fisherman I love theories on weather, moon phases, tides and, of course, fish. In fact, one of the great joys of fishing is the friends you make and the theories you get to build, test and ponder.

October can be a tricky month to catch fish in Sydney. The harbour holds onto winter’s colder water temperatures and offshore the seasonal lag is well and truly frustrating. As always, there will be some great catches, but by-and-large the best fishing to be had will be for bread and butter species. The good news is that most of them can be caught from the shore.

Spend your afternoons on the beaches soaking baits for bream and whiting or casting lures for Australian salmon and tailor off the ocean rocks. Who knows, maybe a big kingfish might take a liking to your offering? Spring is also a great time to fish for luderick (blackfish), drummer (pigs) and silver trevally off the ocean rocks. Select a safe wash with a decent amount of white water as cover and use weed as bait and berley for the blackfish and bread for the other species. If fishing from the rocks, take extreme caution, spend considerable time watching the waves at the location you intend to fish, never fish alone, always where appropriate footwear and if you have any doubt about your safety, do not fish form the location that’s concerning you. No fish is worth losing your life over.

Back in the harbour, bay and port, fishing can be a real patience and perseverance tester during spring. Again, it’s worth targeting the afternoons when the water has had a bit of time to warm up. Bait is the way to go unless you spy a school of surfacing feeding fish.

Look west of the bridge for resident Sydney Harbour kingfish (fresh squid is necessary if you really want to be in with a shot), try Rose Bay for flathead and whiting on a slow drift (nippers or worms are the bait of choice here), or anchor at Sow and Pigs for a good chance of a healthy mixed bag – a light misty oily berley will work wonders when the tide is doing its thing.

Offshore, my target would be solely focused on snapper. Look for broken reef between 10-80 metres with smatterings of bait. Either fish with soft plastics on the drift or anchor up and fish fresh long tapering baits of bonito, pike, striped tuna, sergeant baker or slimy mackerel down a consistent barley trail. Expect small mako sharks, silver trevally, occasional kingfish and some red ooglies as by-catch.

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year in Sydney and with every fishing outing comes anticipation and hope – tangle the two together and you have the recipe for a great day. Peace and fish scales!