Winter and its fresh cool winds and low temperatures can make us all a little timid and let’s be honest are certainly less desirable than the warm barmy days of summer. Just because it’s cold, does not mean the action is. The winter months can be a more enjoyable time to head out on the water, as the hustle and bustle of jet skies, swimmers and weekend boat cruisers are diminished leaving you to fish in peace. All you need is patience and some extra thought to work out what your desired target wants on the given session.
Here are a few tips and techniques to help you tackle some very accessible species on your local waterway.
With their hard fighting never say die attitude and shear abundance guarantee anglers’ many hours of enjoyment. Whether targeted from a surf beach, pier, rock wall or boat, you’re sure to be in with an exciting time.
Salmon can be taken on a wide variety of different techniques from spinning lures to using bait or even saltwater fly. Salmon are very energetic and will chase down just about anything that moves, in saying that fresh is always best when using bait. Pilchards, Whitebait, Blue bait and Squid seem to bring the best results. Using a flasher/surf popper rig with the addition of berley can all aid in doubling the chances of attracting the attention of a hungry Salmon nearby.
When spinning lures, altering the speed of your retrieval can trigger a harder strike as Salmon are real speedsters. Also keep a sharp lookout for birdlife for example Seagulls and Terms as they will never be too far from the bait fish that the Salmon are feeding on.
Flathead can be caught around the whole of Australia, making them a very accessible species to target even through the cooler months as there are no boundaries in where flathead can range. From the shallowest of sand banks to the deepest of muddy drop offs and whether targeted from a boat or from the shore everyone’s in with a chance.
With the nature of Flathead lying flat on the sea floor your presentations and offerings should also do so, making constant contact with the bottom whether it is a lure or bait. Pilchards and Squid are always popular baits and when opting for the soft plastic approach, fish and worm style soft plastics in the 3-5inch range on medium to heavy jig heads is almost deadly to a Flathead.
Soft plastics with strong scents will not only from entice a strike but also draw Flathead in from greater distances. Another key is to make sure the lure has touched base with the bottom and allowed to sit there for a few seconds for the reason that Flathead and many other species can become timid and lethargic as the conditions cool dropping the water temperature.
Squid, Egi or Calamari
With striking visual attacks and delicious taste, it isn’t hard to see why many anglers including myself spend countless hours in cold conditions chasing them.
Squid are mostly taken on artificial prawn/fish style jigs around the lights of piers and jetties, along break walls and even inside harbours, but I would have to say reef areas with a depth range of 1-6m especially weed beds with sand pockets in-between holds the best consistency of Squid. With so many different shapes, sizes and colours of jigs out there and it isn’t hard to be overloaded on what to choose.
Having a range of 2.5-3.5 size jigs in both natural and bright colours will be more than sufficient to cover all bases. One little technique I’ve found to help when starting your search is to use bright colours in overcast to low light conditions for example pinks, oranges and greens. When fishing in high sunlight or early morning use more natural colours, like blues, browns, silvers and gold’s.
On all of my outfits I run Daiwa EG-Snaps as they allow me to try a range of different colours and sizes throughout the session without the hassle of having to cut and shorten my leader. Daiwa Emeraldas Nudes are a strong favourite of mine not only for their erratic action and extremely sharp hooks but more so that the Emeraldas Nudes are a hard body construction, meaning squid of any sizes will never tear them apart.
There are no set retrieves in any style of fishing as conditions may vary once you’ve arrived at your desired location. One of the best all-round retrieves for starting your search on squid is, to cast your jig out allowing it sink to the depth you prefer then in one sharp motion raise the rod this will then draw the jig up off the bottom imitating a fleeing prawn or baitfish which should trigger a strike from a nearby squid.
Never get stuck in your ways when fishing for example choosing a colour jig/lure or even a retrieve for that matter. Always be open to experiment as there is no set ways in fishing just trial and error. As a slight alter can make the difference from turning that slow session into a fantastic one.