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When The Clocks Change So Do The Tactics

By Dan Trotter on May 6, 2011 in Sport

With daylight saving feeling like a distant friend, and the winter winds bringing a southerly chill to the air, many anglers will have packed away the tackle, choosing to wait for longer days and warmer weather to return. Other more dedicated fishos who can never get enough know better, because despite the cooler temperatures and apparent slow down in fish activity, there’s still plenty of action to be had by changing one’s tactics.

May is the best the month of autumn in the ocean off our beloved bays and beaches. Even the harbour has yet to slip into its winter woolies and close up shop. If you’re still keen to wet a line and catch a feed for the table, rug up and read on.

In the harbour, try anchoring up where a decent current runs, or find a jetty that perches on the tidal flow. Use a fine, misty, oily berley and fish large strip baits or active live baits on the bottom for jewfish, flathead or a solid autumn king. It is also worth peeling small green school prawns and presenting them on a longshank hook suspended under a small float around the wharf pylons for leatherjackets.

Bream and whiting also react to berley. To tempt these often-finicky species try fishing unweighted or lightly-weighted natural baits like beach worms, saltwater yabbies and live prawns. If wading the flats, work small, scented soft plastics by slowly hopping them around structures. It’s also a good time of year to put some effort into catching live squid and fishing them around known kingfish haunts as the specimens still around are likely to be large and a just reward for doing the hard yards.

If you have the option to get offshore, take it. Snapper can be plentiful during May and bag limit catches can be caught by anchoring up and fishing floaters down a berley trail or drifting and casting soft plastics over known habitats. Stay on your toes and watch for the slightest change in the line’s behaviour. If you think you’ve noticed a subtle change, wind as fast as you can to take up the slack then set the hooks and pray.

Yellowtail kingfish will also be on the hit list in many dedicated anglers’ minds. Try jigging the deeper reefs with 300 gram plus knife jigs. Sound out the highest point of the reef, take note of the direction of your drift, drive up drift and drop away. Erratic slower jigging styles seem to work best, and anglers fishing side by side should use slightly different styles of jigs and different colours to see if there is a preference on any given day.

Heading wider still, the yellowfin tuna run should kick in soon if it hasn’t already by the time you read this. Try the lead up to the full moon for best results. It is also worth deepwater bottom fishing if you have the gear and some idea. Be aware of the weather forecast though, as running back 40 kilometres in the dark into a heavy westerly is no one’s idea of fun.

On a final note, I’d like to mention that the large flathead featured in the image that graced the page of last month’s fishing prediction was in fact released, as all large flathead should be. The truth is, all large flathead are females and it is important to put them back from whence they came to ensure healthy populations prevail in the future.

Need more fishy facts in your weekly informational diet? Tune in every Sunday morning at 5am to 107.7, 2GO to listen to 2Dans Fishing.