As we welcomed in the start of November the weather changed with winds from the NW-NE now showing up. Early starts saw the lighter winds and lower tides but there were no problems experienced on the bar. Jew Shoal, North reef and toward DI are all options to fish in this wind. If you do head south, coming home could be a slow wet ride.
North reef saw a mixed bag of reef fish with cobia, jewfish, parrot and pearl perch to name a few. These species will take single and double hook paternoster rigs with pilchard and squid baits the most popular. If drifting then jigs also work well here but they will need to be heavy as the winds pick up. If on 30lb gear you may need to step up to 120-150 grams if deeper. Sunshine has been a little rougher, but for those heading out there you would be wise to slow your drift by way of a drift anchor or electric motor. You can still fish live a dead baits here and of course soft plastics and lighter jigs too. Halls reef is a great place to load up with live bait before heading that way. Another option is to deep drop your live bait and drift it above the structure. This could trigger a reaction bite from a hungry reef fish as it passes overhead. If on anchor be sure to let out plenty of rope to help soften conditions if a bit choppy. Reports of school mackerel have come in and although in small numbers it goes to show things are warming up. Pilchard floaters will always be successful if drifting or on anchor when conditions are favourable. During other times you can troll a wide range of lures that reach different dive depths. Doing this is a great way to pick up a cracking fish when heading home.
Off the beaches the winds have slightly hampered those anglers looking for distance casts. One option is to get around the southern side of headlands to get some protection. Fishing light also helps cut through winds as does fishing in close around the drop offs. Light setups can be a blast on the whiting and dart and even a standard 7 foot estuary rod can be used. Come and grab some live beach worm along with a few sinkers and hooks and you are into the action.
In the river we have seen some huge flathead and have been caught at all times of the day. If after a big one don’t be afraid to go BIG! A fish in the 80-90cm mark will have to eat and when they do they will snack on something worth their time. Big diving lures and paddle tail lures and plastics fished over the sand banks works very well and will also work in the deeper waters on mangrove jacks. If after the jacks get up into any little creeks, inlets and fish around structure! If using plastics go weedless and slow roll or burn them back out and use appropriate leader and braid strength. Whiting, bream and flatties can also be found together so look around the frying pan, dog beach and the river mouth. Small cube style baits of mullet, pilchard and prawn all work well here when allowed to drift lightly around. Whiting fisherman would be best to use peeled prawn, squid strip and live worms all lightly fished for maximum bait presentation. Elsewhere trevally can be found and will take everything from a prawn to a plastic or metal jig.
The freshwater quietened off after the rains but with the temps above 25C heading out early and casting around the timber and lily edges could see you land a monster on a surface lure. Once the sun comes up a bit switch to smaller jerk baits and put in a long pause after jerking down to the desired depth. Boaties should be aware that as dam levels drop previously submerged timber is just below the surface to go slow at all times unless you know the local waters.
So on behalf of Jack Mangrove, best of luck on your fishing adventures!