Flathead and whiting haunt the Port
  |  First Published: December 2004



With the Christmas holidays just around the corner the estuary scene has been hotting up, with reports of flathead, whiting and bream flooding in.

Flathead have been making the flats through out the port their home over the past few months and are now eager for a feed.

Large lizards are likely to fall to many different baits and lures. If you’re after the bigger specimens, sneak down to the Bagnalls groynes or the old baths before daylight with a rising tide and fish with frogmouth pillies until the divers, jet skiers or other water traffic appears. Every year big flathead are caught this way.

If you’re not into the sit-and-wait approach, grab some soft plastics and head for a drop-off on the run-out tide. Lizards take up residence on the drop-offs on the falling tide because food is washed from the flats with the tide and the fish don’t have to move around to catch it – the tide brings it to them. Prawns, small fish, crabs and squid pass by every minute. The trick is to get your lure into the strike zone and keep it there as long as possible.

Whiting are moving across all the sand flats, sucking worms and yabbies from their homes deep within the sand and mud. We have two species of whiting in the Port over Summer.

The smaller trumpeter whiting infests the flats from about Soldiers Point westward and are great fun to catch with the kids. They’re easy to catch and fight hard. Use a simple small running-sinker rig, just enough to hold the bottom at drift in about three to five metres with a swivel and then a No 6 long-shank hook baited with peeled prawn, a live yabby or any sort of marine worm.

For the larger sand whiting use a similar rig with a No 4 long-shank hook, but fish the shallows. The sand whiting seem to inhabit water of about two metres or less.

At this time of year bream are on the rampage. They like to live under the vast oyster racks of the bay. They respond well to baits drifted back in a berley trail in between a good set of racks.

Looking for a suitable set of racks is best done on the low tide when they are out of the water. Look for a bit of current flow and the meanest, nastiest looking rack you can find – the sort of rack barefoot skiers hope they never come in contact with.

The only problem is pulling the fish out. Braided lines or heavy mono will do the trick most of the time but every now and then you’ll hook that 1.8kg bream that just wants to head for home.

After good rains the beaches have been fishing well for whiting and jewfish. Jewfish probably taste their best when caught from the beach because of the cleansing effect the clean salt water has on their flesh.

A rising tide early morning or a high tide just after dark have been producing the best results. Try fishing the dark of the moon. People can see in the moonlight, jewfish can hunt in the dark or the light. I think the moon just makes them more timid.

So with the nice warm summer weather and fish biting everywhere there’s no reason to be sitting around wondering what to do for the holidays.

1.

Jewfish like this one cruise the shore break on dark and take baits fished in gutters.

2.

Sean Jarvie muscled this prime flathead with his Dad from a drop-off on a falling tide. This young angler will be one to watch!

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