The cool weather has come early and the cold, icy hand of winter is well within reach of toiling anglers working hard for their fishing fix. Those who persist will be rewarded.
It’s May! May the fishing be good, May the weather be good, and most importantly May I take this opportunity to wish all the mums out there a happy Mother’s Day for the 14th of May.
We have had nothing but rain. The drought has broken. The Manning had a rise of 25ft above Wingham and is currently about 4ft above normal. All the weed and slime that was clogging up the river has been swept away and the river is clean again. While a rise of 25ft is not a flood, it could be classed as a big fresh.
May is usually the time we start seeing some frosts in the Hunter Valley. These cold nights and mornings really start to bring down the water temperatures. This is when we start to see the fish move into their prominent winter patterns. This cooler water in the impoundments will hopefully bring the fish up shallower in the water column, making them easier to catch.
We’ve had lots of good news recently. Firstly we have had rain. It was getting overdue in some areas, then finally arrived in sufficient quantity to rejuvenate streams throughout the region and put a bit of water back in the lakes.
Pilgrimages have been a part of human life around the world for ages and for decades now, an annual journey has been made to Bermagui. Anglers from all around the country and overseas come to our shores in pursuit of the golden fins of the mighty yellowfin tuna and what else may be on offer.
Offshore is the place to be at present, as there is a host of fish on offer that are only too willing to feed. The big question is: what to chase, where and when?
Surf beaches along the New South Wales coastline offer some good fishing throughout the year, but the autumn months are when things really gain momentum. This is a period when most species are actively swimming through the gutters, looking for a meal. If you strike it on a good day the fishing can be exceptional.
May signals the start of the cooler season. As a lot of fishos know, there is some hot action to be had! Port Macquarie recently had a decent bit of rain. We got the first bit of dirty water we’ve seen in a long time. With the river running brown, what do we target?
Welcome to May on Lake Macquarie. I am excited. I love this time of year. May, June and July are some of my favourite months for fishing the lake. For starters, the ambient temperatures have cooled considerably now, and that in itself makes fishing so much more pleasant.
As the chilly mornings and cool evenings are becoming more frequent leading into the winter months larger Murray cod specimens should be on the prowl for a decent feed.
There is little doubt that May is a month of heavyweight bream in the lower part of the system. There is a transition happening from estuary to coast for a lot of mature bream to spawn. There are always a few fish that stall at the gates and hang around the leases in the Paddock and the Wallamba River mouth just getting fat. Remember, this transition of fish through the entrance doesn’t happen overnight, but don’t waste time either. There is probably a three week window before things get back to normal at the end of the month.
You couldn’t pick a better time to be on the water than right now on the Hawkesbury. With the recent fresh in late March and April the fishing has really hotted up, and I could only assume this to be the case in many of the East Coast’s estuaries.
May can be like a weather preview of what’s in store, a warning almost, especially for those that have travelled from lower warmer altitudes to places like Thompsons Creek Dam (TCD). It hits them like a hammer when they climb out of the relative cosy comforts of a heated car.
It’s autumn and that means big bream. Put 6lb braid with 4lb fluoro on a size 1000 reel and jump on a hard fighting estuary horse of a bream. You’ll feel like you’re gamefishing in the estuary, especially if you’re chucking expensive crab lures around racks.
Overlapping seasons often mean both warm and cooler water species are eligible for capture, so don’t put away your topwater kingfish gear just yet. May is a great month to head out to the local inshore reefs targeting kings and snapper, as fluctuating water temperatures offshore encourage most species to feed. Snapper and kingfish are still readily available.
In the final installment of this series, we’ll be looking at bait and lure presentation, and the other little one percenters that give us an edge when we’re out on the water. This is an area often overlooked by anglers, but in reality it can make all the difference.
With MotorGuide as its major sponsor, the sixth annual Tuross Head Flathead & Bream Tournament has been an outstanding success with 255 competitors taking to the water around the small fishing village on the NSW south coast.
Heavy rains during March and leading up to April produced major flooding throughout the New England area, which would have seen many fishers put away the rods until it settled. However, that wasn’t the case for some places where the flush of rain brought out the keenest of fishers as well as some good catches.
You might be wondering who Deep Bite Man and the Edge Bite Kid are.
Do we have Snowy Scheme Mark II? I’ll believe it when I see it. There are far too many questions to be answered before I get too excited. We might have a big problem though – our world-class trout fishery might be under threat!
It seemed someone flicked the switch when summer finished. February was one of the hottest and driest on record, but since then we’ve had the whole mix. We have seen multiple flood events, cold foggy mornings, strong southerly changes, giant swell, intense storms and even an ex-cyclone visit. These significant weather happenings have had varying effects on the fishing around the region, but it wasn’t long before the fishing was back into the swing of things.
Plenty of rain, wind and east coast lows make it very difficult to pick a good day to go to sea. There have still been spotted and Spanish mackerel around in close waters. Hopefully they stick around until about June. The fresh has been good for the mulloway off the breakwall and the beach with a fair few school-sized fish being caught. Anglers have even pulled a couple of 2-3kg mangrove jack.
Finally the rains have eased off to intermittent storms and the occasional shower. Tourists have started to trickle through and the fishing is going off. With one of the best wet seasons for quite a few years the run-off has really stirred things up. Inshore salmon, barra, grunter and tarpon have been very active as the jelly prawn masses began to appear along the coast.
The wet season is still in full swing up here in the Cape and the fishing is still going off. The drains aren’t flowing as hard and the spawning time of most fish is over. The hot humid temperatures still result in explosive fishing. Offshore reefs, estuaries, beaches and even freshwater creeks are going off at the moment.
Cyclone Debbie caused havoc in QLD and NSW. Luckily for the Fraser Coast, we missed the worst of it. What Debbie did bring us was some much needed relief from the hottest, driest summer I’ve ever experienced. Since the rain, things have gone back to the lush, green coastal town we are used to. The bay seems alive again after all the creeks and rivers had a good flush out.
Not everyone’s a big fan of salad – as the saying goes, ‘you don’t make friends with salad,’ but calamari is a whole other kettle of fish. Salads can be a real missed opportunity when it comes to varying up your meals, but you can add so much to them, including your catch. When it comes to accompanying seafood, Greek salad is one of the greats.
Late season Cyclone Debbie certainly gave our local communities quite a touch up with massive damage being done in and around the Whitsundays and to a lesser degree around Mackay district. The rain from the system was a good boost to our local fisheries.
As the heat of the summer begins to pass, before we know it we’re already tucked into layers of blankets at night and throwing on that old fishing jumper that’s covered in cobwebs! You know what that means – winter is here next month! That’s not a bad thing – tailor, mulloway, flathead, big bream and plenty of species of trevally are all flooding our canal systems.
We can expect quite a few changes this month. Big rainfall last month flooded rivers and creeks sending plenty of dams over their spillways. There were still some which saw little change in water level at all. Mix this influx of water with the shorter days and cooler conditions and we have the perfect recipe to see change. This month I’ll focus on where to fish after the rain event, discuss where it will be tough and offer some alternatives.
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