WINTER on the NSW South Coast can make the fishing a lot tougher than the warmer months, particularly in the many lakes and rivers in the area.
However, the challenge forces us to adopt different approaches and techniques, and once sorted, the results can be surprisingly rewarding.
If it’s Bream you’re targeting, deep water is usually where the majority of fish will be holding.
The cold water temperature means the fish will not be as active and therefore will not take a bait or lure as aggressively as you would experience in warmer water.
Smaller lures worked very slowly, or drifting with small fresh or live baits like prawns or nippers work best.
During the warmest part of a winter’s day, I am still finding some fish in shallow water.
At the time of writing the Moruya river in particular has been fishing quite well both in the main channel and on the flats. The water is crystal clear at the moment so a finesse approach is ideal.
Fishing line as light as two or three pound will go a long way to improving catch rates for bream while the Flathead are not quite as fussy and will still take a lure or bait with a heavier leader. I find six-eight pound line sufficient.
Kayaking on the estuaries can be bliss at this time of year. Pick good weather and you get the superbly scenic waters and fish all to yourself.
Out on the reefs, Snapper are a good target in close in the shallow water around headlands where they follow the Cuttlefish when they come in to breed.
I have had reports this season of Snapper in as shallow water as three metres, some of them being quality fish.
So it really pays to cover a large depth range when targeting Snapper in winter as you might find them anywhere from three metres deep out to 20 metres or more.
Around the wash on rocks and headlands you are also likely to come across schools of Salmon and Tailor which are excellent sport when you find the big ones.
If the conditions don’t suit rock fishing or heading out in a boat or kayak, winter is a great time to be fishing the gutters along the many surf beaches on the South Coast.
Big Salmon and Tailor love to hang around the deep gutters for an easy feed and as a result they offer anglers an excellent opportunity for some great sport fishing with minimum fuss.
I have had some very memorable sessions in the past walking up and down a beach with just one rod and a small box of lures casting into each gutter until I find a school of big fish.
Big winter Jewfish are also a possibility for those willing to put the time in.