WINTER SOLSTICE SUMMONS ANGLERS
By the time you read this the Winter Solstice will have past. The shortest day of the year is of huge cultural and religious significance and it is not lost on fish or anglers either.
Many fish species have sensors in their head that tell them when the days are starting to get longer, and some will start to do things like migrate, pair up to spawn, come out of hibernation etc.
Problem is that it still feels cold to us anglers but a surprising number, myself included, have found it is possible to catch fish without freezing your booty off-even in the trusty old kayak.
For a start, inland anglers are advised to pick days where the wind is down-if not you will need a mother load of high tech clothing or have blood lines from ice land!
The calm sunny days are the go, problem is that sometimes means morning frosts, and in a kayak trust me that aint good for anyone’s bum.
The solution is easy-have a big breakfast, check over your tackle, and do all the little things you don’t always get time to do while waiting for the day to warm up. There is no rush to hit the water many fish certainly don’t mind the sunshine either at this time of year.
Having spent the last few weeks up in the snowies targeting trout, the inland lowland weather in comparison feels quite pleasant, especially if you keep dry, and the fishing is good too.
Redfin are the main target, you’ll find them quickly trolling one shallow and one deep diver. Once a school is located you can stop to cast these same lures, or switch to plastics, bibbles minnows , vibes or ice jigs. Two anglers working a school can result in cricket score catches. Redfin are an introduced pest species but make great table fish so you are doing the environment a double favor.
Murray Cod and Golden Perch are also on the cards, but the latest best science suggests not to specifically target cod over winter, it can disrupt breeding. So perhaps fish the weed beds for goldens instead of targeting the deeper prime cliffs and points.
The best Redfin and Golden Perch bite can be found at Blowering, Burrinjuck, Wyangala and Hume.
Trout are another great option, and it is a good idea to check how your local lakes are fishing-trout stocked just 2 years ago when the drought broke are now nudging the 1.5 kilo mark. Look up the NSW DPI stocking program on the internet to see the many and varied lakes that have been stocked throughout NSW.
SOUTH COAST SUBLIME
However if you really want to spoil yourself, the south coast is the go. There’s some great close range kayak snapper fishing and the relatively late sunrise means a late start and I’m usually back before lunch with a prime table fish to keep the rest of the clan happy.
Of course you will need to get the right wind, sea and swell conditions and make sure you plan your trip with safety in mind, but if you make haste slowly a snapper just a couple of hundred meters from where you launch is all but guaranteed.
Target depths of between approximately 7 and 21 meters. 10 to 20 cm long soft plastics fished on a 7 gram jig head is the ticket. You can get away with 6 kilo leader when the sun is low, but drop down 3 kilo leader later in the day or pop on a 21 gram jig head and drift up some tasty flatties on the sand instead.
But if you are not ready for the ocean yet, or it is too rough on the day, trolling up tailor in the estuaries is straight forward and good fun for the whole family.
All the open estuaries along the south coast hold tailor, and hot spots include Mallacoota , Top Lake at Merrimbula, Wagonga at Narooma, the Clyde, St Georges Basin and Lake Illawarra just to name a few. There’s also been an influx of Australian Salmon in many estuaries, and most are between 1 and 3 kilos, which will make your day.
Fresh tailor tastes great pan fried or grilled, and salmon are good smoked or as Thai Fish cakes.
To keep it simple my kids and I simply troll one deep and one shallow running lure. Troll around bird or baitfish activity, especially in the broader expanses of water, and target the changes of the tide if possible.
Once you find salmon or tailor work the same area via trolling or casting and most days you are in for some good honest fun.
A nice day, some exercise, and fresh omega-3’s at the end…it’s how life was meant to be I’m sure.
See you on the water
Hobie Cat Australasia