Time for the usual summer suspects
David Seaman

There is no prize for guessing the usual suspects that are making the most of the summer months in the lakes and tributaries of the mid north coast. The bream have filtered into every inch of the Wallis Lake system, including the very ends of the brackish reaches where they will stay until at least April — unless flooded out with autumn rains.

The upper reaches of the rivers have some huge bream hiding out around the fallen timber and snags, often in just enough water to cover their backs. Live prawns or yabbies suspended under floats around the timber would be a great way to prise these big fish out from cover. The alternatives are not too bad either, with early morning or late afternoon on the surface with a cicada pattern, while at midday I’d run a shallow diving lure like a Berkley 3B Fatdog parallel and close to the timber and hang on.

With a bit of cloud cover, the bream are often happy to take surface lures all day, and it is just a matter of swapping from cicada to prawn (popper) styles to tune into what they want more. The most important advice that can be offered is that your casting with lures needs to be as close to the bank and structure as possible to draw strikes from the bigger fish.

Flathead have been a little thin in the traditional areas of the sandflat peppered weed beds, but they are still there, just not in the numbers one would expect at this time of the year. The average size is better though, with heaps of fish in the 60-70cm range. At this size it’s a fair bet that the fish are female, so be guided by your conscience whether you keep or release them. There are still plenty of smaller, legal male fish up the rivers and at the mouths of the tributaries, especially along the edges of the Wallamba River. I have heard of a pair of 1m flathead coming from the Paddock area. One was on a live whiting and the other on a drifted yabby on a whiting rig. The fish were caught at 2 extremes and the respective anglers released both.

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