Not only are the beaches off the Australian coastline greatly influenced by the ever changing factors that our weather can dish out, so are we, the angler, and all the fish species that live around the coastline. To us a rainy day may mean that we have to rug up and stay inside out of the elements, but to a mulloway that lives and feeds along the beaches will sense the coming of a storm or the rising of the swell and know from previous life time experiences that all they need to do is hang around a river entrance and wait for the mullet, bream and whiting to get flushed out when there is a flood.
An old wives tale is “Red sky in the morning, Sheppard’s warning”. It may be, but early mornings like this one are prime times when fishing off a beach.
Bream, whiting and luderick will also know that after a storm has passed there will be plenty of food floating around in the gutters that are usually found adjacent to a headland or a breakwall. It is in these gutters that these fish species can feed while at the same time still have some kind of protection from predators like mulloway, tailor, salmon and sharks.
How many times have you decided not to go out and have a fish due to the fact a summer’s day was slightly overcast? It is during these times that you may find that the salmon and tailor may go into a feeding frenzy in a gutter, channel or hole at your favourite beach. One thing that you will avoid is the crowds of beach goers that will also stay at home during these overcast days.
When I have gone beach worming, one thing that I try to avoid is the wind. Those little suckers do not like putting their heads up out of the sand and having it belted by particles of sand been blown at a great rate of knots. If it is blowing I will endeavour to find a beach that is sheltered from the wind.
Whiting that inhabit the beaches seem to have a bit on an aversion to getting sand in their eyes. So I find that when the swell is rather large I tend to target other species of fish that inhabit the surf zone like salmon, tailor and bream.
Try fishing in a gutter that runs parrel to the rocks and at ninety degrees to the beach. You may be surprised what you catch.
TIDES and the LUNAR INFLUENCE
Many anglers will spend a lot of time worrying about the influence that the moon has on fish, and in some cases this is warranted. But if you listen to Greg Joyes from Calmwater fishing charters who specializes in putting his clients onto big dusky flathead and mulloway in the Hawkesbury river system on the east coast of Australia prefers to work the tides first and the moon phases come in a close second. While Scotty Lyons from Southern Sydney Fishing Tours, who works the Botany Bay and Port Hacking areas will chase tailor and salmon in the low light periods, whether it is low or high tide. But he does seem to get more of his tailor and salmon when the moon is full.
A beach, deep gutter that’s flows out to sea and an overcast day. What more do you want?
While bream and whiting can be found just about anywhere in the surf zone at most parts of the day, the prime place to hunt them in along the edges of deep holes and gutters. Now these deep holes and gutters can be found anywhere along the beach and many anglers will cast straight out into the deepest part of the hole or gutter. What I will find is that the bream and whiting will tend to just hang off the sand spit or bar waiting for any tasty morsel to be washed into the hole or gutter. This is where you need to cast your rig up onto the shallow part and let it be washed back into the hole or gutter with the motion of the waves or current.
Now if it is a low tide hole or gutter you will need to concentrate you efforts at the bottom of the tide and if it is a high tide gutter you will need to work the top of the tide.
Another one of my favourite places to chase them is where the gutter runs parrel to a rocky point or formation and the best time seems to be an hour or two on either side of the tide. The bream and whiting will tend to hang just off the edge of the rocks and move under the cover of the white water looking for a feed of crabs, cunjevoi, small baitfish and anything else they may be dislodged off the rocks. In this situation you could try using a small ball sinker straight down onto the hook and allow it to float around in the wash, or maybe you could put a bobby cork on a suspend a bait underneath it. You could also try a paternoster rig, but make sure the leaders are kept short.
Tailor, Australian salmon and mulloway will also work the same areas as bream and whiting, so you can concentrate you times and efforts to around the same time. I find that the best times tend to be when the change of tide occurs either in the early morning or just on or after sunset. This low light period will entice the tailor, Australian and mulloway to come in closer to the shore in search of their prey. During the brighter part of the day the Australian salmon and tailor will usually move out to the refs to rest up ready to feed at dusk or dawn.
When fishing off the beach you may or may not come in contact with the size of flathead that you can catch in the rivers, creek and estuary systems the beach is a great place to target them. The flathead will tend to lay in wait just off the edge of sand spits, sand bars, the bottom edge of a deep hole, gutter or channel, along the edge of where the rocks meet the sand and is small depression in the sand. The dusky flathead that you mainly find in the estuaries will take on a much lighter colour when feeding on a beach, but are easily distinguished by the black spot on the upper part of their tail.