Ocean Rhythms

By Steve Shearer

July had too many days with northerly wind component and August continued the trend. Just when we thought the Spring from hell had descended we’ve switched back into a classic winter pattern with westerly winds and a swells from the south. At the time of writing a winter calibre, low-pressure system is dominating the lower Tasman sea with good to great surf at local point breaks. The calm winter has allowed an abundance of sand to build up along rocky headlands which has made even small days fun to ride.

One of the major developments in the surf over winter was the radical increase in crowding, primarily due to an influx of European and Brazilian surfers, many of whom are overseas students resident in Byron Bay or South-East QLD. Many or most of these surfers have very different ideas on etiquette compared to those who grew up in the Australian surfing culture. This has led to some ugly vibes in the water and to prevent the situation descending into all-out chaos like Byron Bay or the Gold Coast is going to take a lot of concerted education. A quiet word, one hopes, can do wonders.

For those looking to make a deposit in the stoke account before the spring silly season begins, the short term looks to bring periodic S swell pulses with rapid northerly wind shifts in between. In other words, here one day, onshore the next.

If that bugs you and a kite seems like too much hard work or kit to drag around the flathead are starting to wake from their winter slumber and move down river. Water temperature is a key factor, especially when northerly wind chill down ocean temps. In that case, the bottom of the tide is often a degree or two warmer and that can bring lizards on the chew. Weedy, muddy bottom although harder to fish often holds more fish than featureless sand flats. Current and bait are also key pieces of the puzzle. That should be the main fishing story through Sep, with the odd straggler tailor still around if you can find a good gutter or wash. All in all, having the wind at your back and a fresh feed of flathead in the bag is a nice way to waste a howling northerly afternoon in spring.

Until next month, tight lines and fishy fingers!

Read more of Steve Shearer’s work, here.

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