Ocean Rhythms, April 19

The first month of autumn has rolled around and the most notable characteristic was the lack of seasonal change. The record hot and dry summer has refused to relinquish its grip. Last column mentioned the impending arrival of a significant swell and weather event in the form of tropical cyclone Oma. We didn’t get much of the needed rain from Oma but it did produce the biggest swell event in the last 12 months. Unfortunately the poor condition of the sand banks on the points and cyclonic southerlies rendered local waves mostly unsurfable. Kirra was the spot to be and a lot of local surfers threw their arms into it in the hopes of picking a diamond out of the rough. It was crowded, and jetskis made for an unequal playing field, but it was still worth it if you got one. 

TC Oma did not herald any seasonal shift or change in the prevailing synoptic pattern which has dogged us all summer. We went back to onshores and mostly poor banks with a few exceptions at some notable beachbreaks. As March progressed light morning land breezes at least allowed for a window of clean conditions, which on good days extended through the day. Still, by any measure it’s been an extraordinarily bland and mediocre start to autumn.

At the time of writing cooler changes resulting from low pressure systems flanking the lower Tasman sea look to finally provide some seasonal shifts. Tropical depressions drifting in from the South Pacific should provide the kind of combination swells that typify autumn. Here’s hoping we finally break free from the mediocre pattern we’ve been mired in since spring.

Fishing has been productive since the shake-up large surf from TC Oma gave to the beaches. We didn’t receive enough rainfall to give the river and estuaries a flush but there has been an uptick in fish activity. Pelagic fish have been a bit scarce this season but very warm water in the latter part of March saw some tails in tubs. Those fish have been mostly caught wide, which has disappointed a small cadre of rockfishos who live for big hook-ups from the stones. 

There has been some good fishing for tailor on rock platforms and inshore gutters. Incoming tides and low light have been the magic combination to put a feed of greenback tailor in the fridge. Some very solid fish have been amongst them. Summer species like whiting have also been around in shallow gutters and run out tides on the sand flats. All in all, pretty easy to get a feed over the last month. A bit more rain would definitely help for the latter part of autumn and start of winter. We remain in a serious rainfall deficit compared to seasonal averages so lets hope we get a good drink before we leave the wettest part of the year behind us. That’s all for this month, tight lines and tubular visions.

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