I don’t know about you, but every year I get to that point when it feels like winter will never end. All of a sudden the trees start to blossom, birds busily build nests, and as the days begin to get longer the air temperature begins to rise. Along with it, so does that of the water. As a fisherman (and even though I’ve had all winter to do it) I find myself suddenly drawn to the tackle room, digging through fishing gear and excitedly preparing tackle for the coming months. While fishing can be exceptionally good for various species during the winter months, it’s spring that really sees the options begin to open up, as in many cases resident fish become more active due to a rise in water temperature, or in other cases it heralds the arrival of migratory species. In my local waters there is no fish that creates more excitement with their arrival each spring than the influx of snapper to the bays and ports of the Victorian coastline. This, however, is just part of the picture as in all states there are key species that get anglers excited: from barramundi in the tropics; the giant black marlin of Far North Queensland; estuary species such as bream and flathead; light tackle inshore sportfish; the arrival of big bluewater predators as the first lick of the East Australian Current makes its way down from the warm tropical waters. It’s very hard not to be excited as there are options aplenty.
- Keep an eye on water temperature and fish the areas that have warmer water.
- Work dropoffs on a run out tide as it will push both warm water and baitfish off the flats, making easy pickings for bigger predators.
- Any structure can hold fish and in many cases it’s the bait hiding there that attracts the predators, so always cast close to things such as weed beds and rocks.
- If you want to catch a big fish, spring is a great time of the year to fish with a bigger lure or bait. This is especially so with my own personal favourite flathead lure the Rapala Rip Stop. It may look big but for even a small flathead it’s a small meal – compare its size to a mullet you might look to use for bait and you will see it’s a snack.
- As fish are getting active in spring, bright lures can be effective. While I wouldn’t run all bright lures it pays to have at least one in the mix.
- If you’re casting lures from the boat or bank try to pick something that gets a bit of casting distance so you can cover more water.
- When bait fishing from the bank don’t always cast a long way out as a lot of fish will be right in along the edges feeding. I personally love when trout fishing to have a totally unweighted scrub worm cast about five metres from the shoreline.
Bays and Inlets Tips
- Keep an eye on water temperature and target the areas that have warmer water – even if they are shallower than you may fish during summer and closer to Christmas.
- In cooler water, fish can and often will still feed in small windows, so target tide changes and keep and eye out for a rising barometer.
- Lure fishing is often a very productive way of fishing during spring as tuna and marlin are often moving into areas with currents and are not always concentrated, so covering water with lures will often get the bites.
Read the full story in the October-November issue of Nautilus Marine Magazine.