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Winter Woollies and What To Fish For

By Dan Trotter on July 26, 2016 in Other

Photo: Alan Lloyd

Photo: Alan Lloyd

To be honest, I haven’t done as much fishing as would’ve liked these last few months. With work, friends and family commitments at an all time-high, I’ve struggled to pick weather windows that coincide with some free time to get out to do what I love best.

Sometimes it seems as though life takes on a pace all of it’s own at this time of the year. We’re nudging past the half way mark, work commitments treble, we realise there are friends we haven’t seen since Christmas, and the days are short, which means finding time to get everything done and still go fishing becomes increasingly challenging.

Fear not, though, because we’re now on the right side of the shortest day of the year and the fishing this July should be sensational.

July and August are all about tuna for many men along the eastern seaboard, and Sydney will see it’s fair share of the fun too. For at least the last five years there have been great runs of yellowfin and bluefin tuna wide off the coast. It is the anticipation of this year’s run that helps many fishos get through the cold, windy weeks full of hard work.

While the ocean currents are the determining factor on whether the tuna will turn up, there’s a lot of finesse that goes into fishing for them too. I’ve always loved the lead-up to the full moon to take the run out wide to see what I can see, see, see.

A mid-morning start is perfect, rugged up in winter woollies with a boat full of tackle and mates, and pilchards for setting a cube trail for at least four hours. The tackle should’ve all been tested the night before, knots checked, hooks sharpened, spare leaders on standby and a selection of lures ready to go. Once you’re on the shelf, deploy the lures, listen to the radio and go in search of current lines, temperature changes and signs of life.

On home ground, winter is a time for bread and butter fishing. Spinning for tailor and Australian salmon off the stones is a great way to catch a quick feed if the conditions allow it.

Alternatively, watching a float bob about in the wash can make for some of the most hypnotic fishing around, and there’s nothing quite like the subtle take of a solid blackfish as the float disappears below the surface.

For boat-based anglers keen on a fish closer to shore than the tuna are feeding, it’s worth fishing for snapper on the hard inshore reefs and solid kingfish on the deeper grounds. If you love a feed of flathead, this is also a great time of year to head to your favourite offshore drifting ground and catch some lizards for the plate.

Back in the estuaries, there should be some fun fishing for bream, whiting, silver trevally and flathead. Be sure to focus your efforts on the tide and fish with the freshest bait you can lay your hands on for best results.

Until next month, fishy dreams, tight lines and tasty dinners.