Winter is once again upon us and with it will finally come the cooler weather. We can dust off our eanies and jackets in preparation for a few early starts on the water. I really enjoy the winter months that bring with them the change of target species. Heading up the river under a shroud of mist in the early hours of the morning is what winter fishing is all about. Bream and blackfish show up in our river systems and are both very popular species for both the fishoís out for a bit of sports fishing or those chasing a feed of fish.
When the blackfish turn up you can see scores of anglers lining the rock walls of the estuaries float fishing with weed baits. I often head down to the river to watch some of these older blokes as they are masters at catching these temperamental feeders. The float needs to be set at the right depth and the right type of weed needs to be used at the right stage of the tide. Itís quite an education if you havenít done much of this fishing before.
Winter time is also one of the preferred times to chase snapper on the inshore reefs as the current slows down making these prized table fish more accessible. Float-lining a variety of baits as well as fishing with soft plastics are the gun techniques to get amongst the snapper. With both techniques you never know what size fish will grab your lure or bait on the next drop. Last season we had one red hot session that sticks in my mind.
We headed out in the afternoon for a quick snapper session with lures. Once over the Tweed bar and on the shallow reefs we started to fish. My mate Simon was into a small squire first cast that would have gone a kilo and was quickly returned. I then hooked a better fish and at just over 4kg went into the esky for dinner. I was trying out a new vibration lure at the time and a few casts later hooked a good fish that was clearly not a snapper.
A prolonged fight followed with me being severely under gunned on my light bait casting tackle. The fish showed itself after 40 minutes and without a net big enough on board; we gently lifted a Jewie (Kabeljou) of about 40lb into the boat. We took a few photos and then after reviving it next to the boat watched it swim away. We thought that it really couldnít get any better than that but we ended up getting a few more quality snapper and getting wiped out by bigger fish on several occasions. What an afternoon session. So to say we will be looking forward to this winterís snapper fishing will be putting it mildly.
I am not sure how much fishing I will be doing in the near future as, by the time this article goes to print, we should have an extra addition to the family. All our regular patrons at the restaurant reckon my fishing days will be over once the little one arrives. Hopefully this is not the case. We canít wait for the joyous day to arrive and will let you know how it all goes. Catch you on the water (maybe)