Fishing for the winter blues
  |  First Published: July 2017

July is proving to be the month for chasing those famous and often very large southern bluefin tuna. Winter blues now takes on a completely different meaning.

When, if or how close these fish may come to shore is never really known until it happens. You’ve just got to be ready to go. Heading out wide over the 1000 fathom line you are likely to encounter fish ranging from 30-200kg+ with most fish averaging in the 90s. They are likely to be taken on a wide range of lures. More often than not, every lure in the pattern can be eaten with explosive strikes resulting in multiple hook-ups. Whether or not we see this action again this July remains to be seen. All indications are there for another great season and hopefully more records will be broken.

There are other gamefish that are also likely to be around. With water temperatures staying up, yellowfin, albacore and mako sharks are definitely be on the short list. Long liners have encountered numbers of broadbill this season, so for those that wish to stay out at night, you may find yourselves attached to one of these elusive fish.

Winter is a great time for bottom bouncing. You need not go out early; let the sun warm things up. As it does, usually the fish warm up too. You will be able to have the pick of the days to do so, as calm weather is a regular occurrence. Most reef species for this area are available with nearly all the well-known areas producing. Snapper have been particularly good this season with plenty around. While the sizes haven’t been extreme, they are still very tasty.

With the calm conditions try anchoring and berleying to bring up the bigger fish. Even using those soft plastics over the shallow close-in reefs will produce. These calm conditions will also allow you to fish very wide with the aid of electronic reels. The very deep water over the Continental Shelf will produce some of the best table fish our waters have to offer in the form of blue-eye trevalla, ling, hapuka, perch, cod and many others.

Back closer to shore there are plenty of flathead to be found for those with smaller boats. Out from most beaches the sand flatties will dominate while the tigers will be found wider.

Cold, wet sand doesn’t appeal to most people in winter, so beaches often don’t get the attention they deserve. There are ways to make them more appealing that will also produce fish. Most of our winds are offshore at this time of year and there is very little break to contend with. These calm conditions allow anglers to sight fish schools of salmon that patrol the beaches.

A handful of lures and a light spin rod are all that is required to provide any seasoned fisho with hours of entertainment. Another method is to bring the fish to you with berley. Striped tuna are the best for this. Australian salmon also works well and if you find a deep gutter close to adjacent rocks, many varied species will appear. Even in the middle of the day, these fish will feed, especially when daylight hours are short.

Rocks are another popular place to fish when conditions are calm. Those hard-pulling drummer are top of the list. There are some nice groper, quite a few bream and trevally. You can also use lures for tailor and salmon.

In the estuaries, luderick and bream are the main species available with the luderick hanging around the rock walls, the river boat ramp or the bridge pylons. Most are taking green or cabbage weed, while nippers may produce over the sand. Bream react well to berley whether in an estuary or on a beach. The yellowfin bream are still here in numbers and will enjoy a well-laid berley trail in the lower parts of the estuaries, providing great winter angling.

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