Change of seasons signals prime time…
Sure, the mercury has dipped a little since the balmy days of early autumn, but the angling action continues to flare as we ride out the most fish-friendly season on the calendar.
Yep, late May and early June can still be very consistent, at least in terms of saltwater fishing. If you’ve got access to the brine, you’re fresh out of excuses if you’re not mixed up in the fray.
The warm currents have pushed all the way south at this late stage of the season, breathing life to inshore and offshore fisheries along both east and west coasts.
Whether your local honey hole has been producing the goods, or you’ve been eyeing off a hotspot further afield, now is most certainly the time to strike while just about all of the most popular sport and table fish are biting their heads off!
Check the forecast, string together a few RDOs, schedule a couple of flexi days… whatever you need to do, just get out there and wet a line!
Right now, you’ve got options. Are you looking to bag a haul of fillets for the barbeque, or chase that trophy PB? Why not both?
Sand whiting are thick on most beaches up and down the Queensland and New South Wales coast; they’re lining up to be plucked from shallow beach gutters.
Servo frozen prawns and squid strips work, but if you really want to brain them, take the time to catch your own supply of fresh nippers, pippis or beach worms.
While the brute winter bream aren’t yet dominating the beachs, you’ll certainly find enough mid-sized contenders mixing it up with the whiting. They’ll nail the same baits and pull a heap of drag on light gear.
Right now, it’s prime time to target those big hulking jewfish that skulk along the deeper gutters out the back of the breakers.
Solid jewies are rarely encountered during daylight hours. You’re better off staking them out over a tide change during the night or at dawn or dusk.
School jewies will inhale whole beach worm baits, squid or slabs of tailor, whereas the larger models are normally taken on live or whole yellowtail, tailor, pike or mullet.
IN THE ESTUARIES
It’s no secret the bays and rivers are firing right now, which means that the light tackle brigade are out in force.
In southeast Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, this means that big dusky flathead live under constant threat of attack.
The fattest croc-sized duskies are usually caught on live poddy mullet, but bulk numbers of flatties are nailing all manner of soft plastics, vibes and hard bodied lures.
Duskies seem to be most active when there’s a bit of flow in the tide, especially around the latter half of the run out. They’ll generally lay in ambush around the fringes of weed beds or sandy drop offs. Stay mobile and prospect with fanned out casts and you’ll find ‘em.
Estuary jewies are a viable target for light tackle gurus that incorporate a degree of finesse into their approach. You’ll need a solid to seamless knowledge of the waterway you’re fishing in order to find consistency.
Calm water jewies will hit similar lures to large flatties, but you’ll want to run slightly heavier tackle and beefed up leaders to avoid bust offs. Concentrate around bridge pylons, rock walls and deeper drop offs.
Plenty of tiddler whiting invade the shallows at this time of year. An exciting way to sift for the larger, most aggressive versions is to twitch tiny stickbaits and poppers across glassy calm sand flats.
HIT THE HEADLANDS
If rock fishing’s your deal, you wait all year for this prime slot on the calendar. All the high-octane pelagic species obsessed over by landbased spin specialists and live baiters are cruising the inshore currents right now.
The smaller tuna species like bonito and frigates are around in thick schools along most of the New South Wales central and southern coast. They’re best targeted on little metal splices on light spin gear at first light.
Kingfish have been around in big numbers for months now, but the larger models are finally becoming more prevalent. The biggest, meanest kings are best targeted on big live frigates, yellowtail, slimy mackerel or squid fished under a float or balloon on heavy tackle.
Plenty of good kings will slurp a gang-hooked gar bait spun through the frothy wash zone. Well-presented surface lures will be enough to fool some of the fish some of the time.
In the higher latitudes, pods of hard running longtail tuna tend to draw a lot of attention from pelagic crazed rockhoppers at this time of year.
The longtails are often mixed in with denser schools of mackerel tuna and most are taken on live garfish, yellowtail or slimy mackerel suspended beneath a low profile cigar float.
Big tuna and the occasional Spanish mackerel will slam chrome slices and minnow lures ripped across the surface fronting the deepwater headlands at first light. Now’s the time to beef up your gear, check your knots and leaders twice and make sure the gaff man is well practiced in order to seal the deal on any big hook up.
GET AMONGST IT
Travelling fishos are spoilt for choice through autumn and early winter. The beaches, bays, breakwalls and ocean rocks are all viable venues for a fishy showdown.
Even if you don’t get the chance to wet a line half as often as you’d like, now’s the time to talk yourself into a session or two in order to get reacquainted with the finer details while the going’s good.
It’s just like pulling off a Band-Aid or plunging into the ocean for a dip on a chilly morning. It takes a little effort at first, but jump right in and you’ll never regret it.