The summer of the long dark cloud has turned into the autumn of the great wet. Although we’d slipped into La Niña before summer officially started I don’t think anybody really envisaged just how wet this year was going to be.
I remember the big wet of summer 90/91, but this smashes that with dams and storm drains reaching capacity and overflowing, livelihoods and homes destroyed, and more debris than Kimbriki Tip (sorry, Resource Recovery Centre) flowing down our waterways. Surely the fish have packed up and moved on? But no, so far the fish have continued to be the most resilient factor of the year. If you have seen the colour of the water from Middle Harbour to the Parramatta River you would have thought surely nothing can survive in that – but low and behold, if you didn’t mind standing in pouring rain and bailing the water out of your boat you were in for a good chance of some solid fish.
The only down side from from all this rain and dirty water has been the squid fishing. My usual summer shallow water haunts are now producing nothing but face masks and plastic bags! Please do the right thing with your trash. The best bait for bait fishing is always squid. Move out into deeper water with bigger jigs and you will be surprised by the size and quantity of squid. Sure, some days they’re impossible to find but others they’re there, and willing to take a jig. Try bright orange or other colors that contrast against the dirty water. When the squid have been tough, the humble yakka has filled the gap. They’re around in good numbers with an amazing range in size from absolute lollipops to some that look like juvenile kingfish. Scad are great sashimi but very fishy for some – burley up with plenty of bread, get them balling up and drop down your Sabiki jigs for best results. They do get a little harder to catch as the days goes on but much easier than finding the squid.
Surprisingly the fly scene over the last month has been good. There are still heaps of frigate mackerel chasing bait on the surface although they move with lightning speed they’re still taking small surf candies and sometimes just about everything that you can manage get in front of them. The advantage with all this dirty water is we can get away with heavier leaders. Kings are still holding in good numbers and size ranges on most of the outer harbour markers. This month large clousers in bright colours have been catching some great fish. If you’re out there right on sunrise there have been some meter long fish busting up along the current lines that are more than willing to accept a well placed fly. Salmon are still about but numbers have dropped off and finding a bust up is a bit of a lottery but not impossible. They’ll be back in winter.