Planning And Forethought Make Fishing A Breeze
Can you believe it almost Christmas again? Looking back over 2010 what have we done, what have learnt, what have we achieved, and what have we caught? Have you achieved any fishing milestones over the past twelve months?
There are so many the questions that come to mind as the calendar year draws to a close, and all too often the answers aren’t the ones we were hoping for when we started out on the first of Jan. Oh well, best we just go fishing and forget about life’s trivialities for a while!
December can be a tricky month to get out on the water due to all the social, family and work commitments, and can also be tricky to find fish when you’re out there. But with the harbour free from commercial netting since 2006, the bait schools at this time of year are prolific and if early signs are anything to go by there should be plenty of fish about to keep you eager and on your toes.
Start your days on the water by catching or collecting fresh bait. While this can be time consuming the rewards will be worth the effort. Plan each outing with forethought. Select a target species, a number of possible locations, and a rig the night before, then catch the bait and fish to the tides or time of day.
Yellowtail kingfish like structure with substantial vertical rise, so try harbour markers, hard reefs, or rocky headlands with steep drop-offs, all the while keeping a keen eye out for birds working, which could indicate a surface feeding frenzy.
Mulloway will often inhabit similar areas to the kingfish although they tend to spend most of the time much closer to the bottom, so fish your bait either just off the bottom or on the bottom. You can also try wrecks and deep channels or points.
For both of these species fresh or live squid work best in the harbour, as do live yellowtail, pike, garfish and slimy mackerel.
For flathead, drift the sandy straights of Middle Harbour, Rose Bay, Watsons Bay and North Harbour, or for more active fishing, flick lightly-weighted scented soft-plastics on light gear around the shallow grounds throughout the harbour, looking for rocky points, weed bed edges and sandy drop-offs.
Lovers of bream and silver trevally should seek out locations where there is a decent amount of current or tidal flow in conjunction with structure. Try Sow and Pigs, Shark Island and the many rocky points using a light, misty, oily berley and casting lightly-weighted baits into the water flow, allowing them to drift back like a piece of berley. Fish with the bail arm open and allow the fish to move off with the bait before closing the bail arm and setting the hook.
All of these species are great fun to catch and depending on where you catch them, great to eat. Other species worth targeting at this time of the year are whiting, leatherjacket, tailor and Australian salmon.
Offshore, expect almost any species to turn up. Big kings will be haunting their summer residences, snapper will be found both in close and out-wide, mahi mahi will soon be on the FADs and all species of marlin found in Australian waters will be cruising current lines both in close and over the Continental Shelf.
And if you love sweet water fishing, the bass and trout should be active and on the rise, so get out there.
Tight lines, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!