Looking forward to winter in the seaway
With autumn coming to an end and cooling water temperatures its time to start thinking about how the seaway changes in winter and what fish to target from June to August. Cold water temps usually mean the fish are less active and hold closer to the bottom. Theres less surface feeding and the range of species changes slightly.
Bigeye catches have decreased over the last couple of months and while there might be a late burst this month from June until september will only be seen sporadically. GT's should hang around in big schools until July but then will only be caught rarely until next January. Tailor should be a more regular catch but most will be caught on the bottom with only the occasional fish caught on the flats or around the edges. Mulloway numbers should increase and hopefully we'll see some larger specimens come through this year. I think we've all caught enough 50-65cm specimens to last a lifetime. Luderick numbers should increase and there will be a few incidental catches on lures around the edges. Queenfish may make an appearance but they have been rare in previous years. Bream numbers will increase and make a nuisance of themselves with people using small livies. Offshore, mackerel will disappear but mack tuna will show up on the surface from time to time, usually only smaller specimens though. The larger tuna are usually only caught on livebaits over the reefs during winter. Tarpon should still be around but based on what I learn't last year they will be holding deeper in the water column, instead of 2-5 metres down they'll be holding anywhere from 8-12 metres down.
Weatherwise we should see more westerlies calming weather conditions and weeks of flat calm seas. The water can also be very clear during these times with the bottom visible in 10 metres of water, when this happens the seaway only fishes well at night or dawn/dusk. The dreaded phosphorescence will make an appearance more regularly which will make the seaway unfishable at night, the only thing to do when that happens is to move further into the broadwater until dawn.
Lures that worked really well last year were the zipbaits vib 80-25g, the ZBL popper, Gulp 3" minnow, Ecogear grass minnow M and 40g Raiders also pulled a few fish. I wasn't livebaiting last year but did so a few years ago during winter and pike and yellowtail yielded the usual jewies and tailor. I'll expect a few GT's this year as well.
Pike numbers have thinned out over the last month and too much time has been wasted trying to catch them so I'll be looking at other species as viable livie replacements; Garfish, Herring, Hardyheads and Squid. I'll be trialling some new methods of fishing livies over the next few months. If they are successful I'll do a write up about them.
Heres a few pics from last years winter catch.