Seas continue to warm. Snapper and other reef fish bite well now, especially further south, and kingfish are becoming increasingly abundant, along with smaller pelagics such as salmon and bonito. Yellowfin tuna and albacore may be encountered out wide, along with increasing numbers of sharks and slowly increasing numbers of billfish. Mulloway are active in estuaries and inshore waters. In the estuaries, flathead fishing continues to be excellent. Many of the larger flathead have dispersed upstream, but good-sized table fish are widespread. Whiting are increasingly prolific and begin to respond well to surface lure presentations. Bass and estuary perch fishing is very good further upstream, although peak bites now begin to occur around change-of-light periods.
Great snapper fishing is available now along most of the southern seaboard and in VIC’s big bays. Good mulloway fishing is also on offer, with some monsters being hooked, particularly in western SA waters. Some big King George whiting are available in many areas, while yellowfin whiting are now swarming onto the tidal flats in SA, along with growing numbers of garfish and crabs.
The demersal finfish season re-opens mid-month, but a snapper closure remains in force in Cockburn and Warnbro Sounds. Tailor are firing right along the coast now, and mulloway are also a great option on many beaches. Sharks and rays are abundant inshore and along many beaches. Metro’ cray season now in full frenzy and boat ramps can be very busy as a result. The annual cobia run begins up north.
The “build up” begins to slide into the annual monsoon or Wet Season and heavy rains can become widespread by the end of the month, potentially leading to some road closures. Barramundi and other popular tropical targets continue to be extremely active, but remember that the barra season remains closed on the east coast and in QLD’s Gulf of Carpentaria. It’s great month for threadfin, mangrove jacks and many reef species. Offshore, the big marlin season comes to a close, although some very large fish continue to move south along the outer Barrier Reef towards Fraser Island. Mackerel and other pelagics are available sporadically and the reef fishing is good.
As the weather and water rapidly heat up, native fish action can slow a little, and the focus often shifts to dawn, dusk and after dark hours. However, the Murray cod season opens at the beginning of the month and many anglers will start to actively target these fish, with lots now being caught. Trout activity continues to slow at lower altitudes and further north, but remains excellent in Tasmania, with some great insect hatches now in full swing.
1 DEC: Murray cod season OPENS in QLD, NSW & VIC
15 DEC: Snapper fishing closures ENDS in SA waters
15 DEC: Demersal finfish closure ENDS in West Coast Bioregion (WA)
25 DEC: Christmas Day
26 DEC: Boxing Day & Start of Boxing Day Test (Cricket), Melbourne
31 DEC: New Year’s Eve