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Autumn – The Pick Of The Seasons

By Dan Trotter on April 12, 2012 in Sport

A couple of tasty sand whiting

“For the supreme test of a fisherman is not how many fish he has caught, not even how he has caught them, but what he has caught when he has caught no fish” – John H Bradley (1898-1962)

With the thoughts of winter not too far away, and the best fishing ‘our patch’ has to offer upon us, it is time to spend as much of your free time wetting a line as humanly possible.

The end of March, April and May produce spectacular days on the water, not only because the fish can be plentiful, but also because the weather conditions and water temperature are often idyllic. Advice from the lessons of years past points to spending the mornings with family and friends, or doing household chores and life admin. Once these have been attended to, get out and get amongst it. Aim to be on the water between 12 noon and 2pm, then fish through twilight until enveloped by darkness. Calm, peaceful sessions can be had on such afternoons, with the water lapping at your feet or swirling around the transom of your boat, the sun’s autumn rays warming your soul and the hope that a fish may just bite any time soon.

Autumn is my pick of the seasons on the east coast of Australia. Gone is the heady rush of summer and the frantic pace of festival days, replaced by a relaxed vibe and time taken to make the most out of each day before winter’s icy fingers start creeping up from the Southern Ocean with the shortening of the days.

As those of you who have read my articles over the years will know, fishing during April is often red hot. Offshore marlin and other pelagic game-fish may abound in the warm currents, visiting from the north. The epic tuna species can turn up any day and be gone the next, igniting imaginations about the winter season to come. Large yellowtail kingfish can be found scattered from far up the back of estuaries and out into the deep where baitfish are prolific on high profile reefs. Snapper, the ‘red gold’ of autumn, are healthy and plump following summer’s feasts, and can be taken at anchor or by casting lures on the drift.

April is the start of the change in seasons in the Tasman and the fish know this all too well, gorging themselves in anticipation of the leaner feeds that winter often brings. Along the beaches, Australian salmon will begin to make their schooling presence felt, whilst the ocean rock washes will soon be holding greenback tailor eager to chase down a well presented spinner or surface bait. Cruising the beach gutters, whiting and bream will often feed right up to the shoreline in search of a succulent feed. As always, target dawn and dusk around a high tide, and use nippers or beach worms and a long shank hook if you want to take home a tasty feed.

Around the harbour wharves anything is possible, from pylon lingering leatherjackets to mooching mulloway and hunting hoodlum kings.

Whatever your fishing persuasion, this is a month when it’s worth gathering a few friends, sourcing some fresh bait and spending the afternoons hoping a fish may bite.

Tight lines anglers – remember to respect the seas and the animals that call it home. Always take only what you can eat fresh, clean up after yourselves and enjoy the natural world where our lives and those of the fishes’ meet.