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When Do Fish Start Dropping Off In The Bay As Winter Approaches?


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Hey all,

This is my first season fishing the Botany Bay consistently in the summer months , could i ask when should i expect the fish to start dropping off as winter approaches ?

Anyone noticed a difference yet ?

Thanks ladies and gentlemen.

p.S. If anyone saw a white bowrider ( with a marone canopy ) getting towed by the coastguard on saturday,

that was me and my father in law... Last week we lost four rods and a rod holder, this week our engine

siezed, water was found in 3 cylinders and the when we lifted the oil lid, water was found there too -

expensive trip once again !

Edited by archilles2
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Hi Archilles2 As Autumn sets in and the weather becomes cooler and after February to March becomes less humid, the of change of season brings in an influx of mature fish that breed in the cooler months.......

From my own experiences, the change from Summer to Autumn can usually be noted by the following :-

-----Larger mature Flathead, having developed area tolerance stay where conditions suit, and the spring arrivals, the schools of small flathead around 35-45 cm peter off after they spawn near the mouth of the estuary they entered .....Being summer acclimatized fish, these flathead gradually move along the coastline in mass after spawning has finished to spend the cooler weather wherever the temperature suits, be it back to where they came from or further north.... Bearing in mind that, although they are generally mature enough to spawn from around 35cm up, Sydney and the southern areas are not havens for young flathead in cold winter months as they are basically a spring and summer acclimatized fish at that stage.

.........The autumn bream congregate up river to bread and jewfish schools of various breading sizes come in and travel upriver to congregate in holes to breed......

........King fish peter off, tho there is usually a second show of hoodlum schools in close to an estuary mouth during the last part of winter..

..........Early winter conditions would see breeding size schools of trevally come in... Trevally are a very hardy fish that you can regularly catch in bad winter conditions when there's nothing much else around at the time

......The same applies to large yellowtail schools who are also very hardly, particularly in muddy conditions and the larger yellowtail come in most often during winter to breed.

...... Whiting are basically a spring to late summer / early autumn fish, although larger whiting can be caught down deep in winter

..... Trag and Bonito can be very active in Autumn and early winter........

..... Hairtail come into the Sydney area from late Autumn to Winter but prefer the breeding conditions to be cold, but not too cold.

....... Saltwater Eels and Catfish thrive in the cold but move closer to the mouth to spawn before winter sets in

...... Shovel nose sharks are generally full of roe and very active near the mouth of an estuary in winter, and squid spawn more often, I believe and are more prolific from late Autumn to winter...

...... It seems there is a multitude of reef and rock dwelling species who thrive near estuary headlands no matter the season is or the conditions are.....

Hope this helps and I'm sure other members will be able to add more input to this


jewgaffer :1fishing1:

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Jewgaffer, your an absolute wealth of information haha! You should write a book, and if you don't how about I take your posts off FR make them into a book, i'll give you 10% of the profits does that sound fair? :1prop::1prop:

But a serious question, from what you are saying does that mean as autumn and winter set in you start staying away from the more open (cold) waters and fish more upstream? As an example say if you ussually fish Botany bay in summer would you stick more to the Georges river during the colder months?

Appologies for the noob question, I havn't really fished from a boat for that long.

cheers, Joel :1fishing1:

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Hi... jewgaffer has forgotten more than i know about fishing but as far as the close in offshore reefs used to go in the mid to late 90"s we used to find that the biggest kingfish were always caught smack in the middle of winter (10kg plus)This was in the days of kingfish traps!What a difference 10 or so years later!. Obviously trevally and i think samson fish were way more abundant in cooler months (will have to look up old fishing club pointscores to confirm samsons).... these days and back then the leather jackets become a big problem when bottom bouncing in cooler months....from some reports there here already.....bugger!

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jewgaffer, you're a star once again - thanks mate. I reckon if you ever had a show you would kill ET ESCAPE ! I can't stand that show, it's just one big advertisement, he absolutely plus everything even when he's catching fish lol

The bay has been quiet for us over the past two weeks! I'm freaking out lol

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Jewgaffer........does that mean as autumn and winter set in you start staying away from the more open (cold) waters and fish more upstream?..........

...........if you ussually fish Botany bay in summer would you stick more to the Georges river during the colder months?.........

Hi Joel

It's always better to try a few different places, learn a few more things during each session so as to be able to fish more purposefully in the future..... particularly when you have the advantage of owning a boat and being able to go where the fish are likely to be and, as you gain more experience, discover when they are more likely to be there ....

Autumn fishes well upriver for breeding size bream, using say Berowra and the Vines area as a guage for the Hawkesbury, the calmer bays for the bream schools that congregate in the Georges, and trying Marlo and the Spencer to Wisemans area from the bottom up for the presence of breeding size school jewfish.... Going on the autumn results of upriver jew fishermen in the past, are always accompanied at breeding time by the larger sizes of the species, the mulloway.....

In the case of the Georges, it's best to fish the known jewfish grounds and it would be particularly good if you were able to find the mid to upriver jewfish holes where the schools congregate.......

Over time I've found the run out tide fishes better for jewfish overall near the mouth of a river and the run in tide fishes better overall upriver - That is probably due to new water coming in and the upriver jewfish and the new arrivals intercepting the baitfish coming in with the tide.

If there is cold upon cold for days on end in winter which is often the case, fishing improves dramatically if there is sudden warm weather relief in between the cold days, to the point where you wonder where the fish came from, particularly when fishing the upriver sections during days of extreme cold upon cold........ Otherwise you have to look for and fish the pockets mid river that warm up best during the day, particularly when the run in tide brings with it warm current relief from the surface temperature along the coastal belt outside. However on some days the majority of upriver fish may well be gathered in the deeper holes in the river, so you fish accordingly.....

On the warmer winter days, the mouth area generally fishes well, particularly for incoming jewfish at places like Flint and steel during the last half of the run out tide I.E when the current temperature in close outside is near enough equal to the temperature at the mouth area of an estuary..... The downriver sections can gradually improve with the run in tides and even to the extent that fish that came in during the days of the near equal water temperature, can actually be trapped inside by a sudden cold current variation outside..... To give you an example and, although using a summer season, this actually happened during warm summer weather about six weeks ago particularly in Sydney Harbour when all the sharks came in and fed off the fish that came in to feed off the prolific numbers of baitfish that came in for the inside temperature relief....

Botany Bay can actually have a temperature of say 14 degrees on one side of it 18 degrees on the other side of it and that may suit fishermen who take a look at the water temperature on their sounders, something that I haven't bothered about.... However the question is, what species are suited to which side of Botany Bay for example on the particular day..... The opportunity is there for fishermen who go off tides and conditions, to bring varying water temperatures into estuary fishing in order to try and improve their own results.


jewgaffer :1fishing1:

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