What is it about summer? It brings out the best in all of us. It makes us smile, say hello in the street and gets us travelling up and down the coast. And, best of all, it really fires up the fish. But with so many different angling options at our doorstep, it’s hard to know where to start.
Well fear not, fellow anglers, I’ve thrown together my top six fish to catch this summer. From flathead to snapper, there should be a species or two to keep everyone happy.
They won’t win any prizes at the beauty pageant, but flathead are bloody tasty! More prolific around the southern states, summertime is synonymous with flatties. And they’re easy to catch, too.
Where to find them: Shallow offshore grounds, sandy gutters and drop-offs in bays and estuaries.
How to catch them: Bounce 3-5in soft plastics across the bottom, troll deep divers on the edges of drop-offs or drift with baited paternoster rigs.
Wherever you go in the world, the fish they call “snapper” is one of the tastiest reef species on offer. Down Under, we have the Australasian snapper, which has a cult following in many fishing circles. A hard, dirty fighter on the rod and sweet, white, succulent flesh on the plate – snapper should definitely be on your summer wishlist.
Where to find them: Reef, wrecks and structures.
How to catch them: On 5-7in soft plastics or drift lightly weighted baits down a burley trail.
The two most common types of whiting found in Australia are King George and sand whiting. They’re both super-tasty and a great summer species to target with the whole family. You can catch them off the boat, off the beach and even off the wharf. So, give the kiddies a finesse threadline outfit with light line and they’ll be in for some serious fun.
Where to find them: Sand banks, sandy gutters and near weed beds.
How to catch them: Use live/fresh baits like prawns, bloodworms, beach worms and pink nippers. Lures like 2in soft plastics and small hardbodies can also work well.
They mightn’t grow too big and shouldn’t really be eaten, but Aussie bass are an extremely rewarding fish to catch – like all freshwater natives. Bass love feeding on insects, so it makes sense that they really fire up when summer comes knocking. Throw surface lures for exhilarating hook-ups.
Where to find them: Impoundment dams and lurking near upstream snags in rivers.
How to catch them: Use soft plastics, poppers, vibes and hardbodies.
Spanish mackerel have razor-sharp teeth and a bad attitude, so you might be wondering who in their right mind would want to catch one.
Well, me, for one – these torpedoes of the reef are insane sportfish, capable of huge aerial assaults and sizzling fast runs. They’re beautiful on the table, too, but be careful – fish over 10kg should not be kept due to the risk of ciguatera poisoning.
Where to find them: Coastal and offshore reefs.
How to catch them: Troll high-speed diving and skirted lures.
People travel from all over the world to catch the famous barramundi. An incredible sportfish, “barra” will belt lures from the surface and put on an incredible show of aerial acrobatics. Found in the warmer waters of WA, NT and Qld, they live in both fresh and saltwater.
Where to find them: Impoundment dams, rivers and rocky headlands.
How to catch them: Cast 5-7in soft plastics, poppers and diving lures into snags.
Check out the full feature in issue #83 December 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.