Ocean Rhythms, Nov 20

The normal spring northerlies that peel your eyelids back and blow spinifex down the main street have been much more subdued this year as we move into a La Nina summer. The Bureau of Meteorology is now on board with an offical call of La Nina, which, if you are new to the ENSO game is the opposite of El Nino and means more warm water on this side of the Pacific and more moisture laden tradewinds blowing towards the Australian continent.

It’s a better deal for surf, with more swells being generated in that eastern quadrant, both from tradewinds and and increased chance of tropical cyclones during summer and autumn. Spring gas already seen a significant swell from the east with a long fetch near Fiji producing a quality, sustained E swell through the second week of October. This followed on from a powerful, long period S swell the week before. In between, fun swells with light winds have maintained a steady surf beat through what is traditionally the worst month for surf. If this La Nina stays on track expect more surf through November, lighter and shorter northerly episodes and the possibility of a pre-Christmas cyclone. All eyes on the Pacific.

The lack of northerlies has meant not as much upwelling and less of that dead, cold green water. While we are still a month at least from the blue water running hard downhill we’ve already seen some regular action from mahi-mahi on the FAD, along with the last of the winter species like snapper on the close reefs. Other summer fish like dart have been in abundance on the beaches already with plenty of good close gutters to fish on a low tide rising. My favourite spring target, flathead, have been in much better numbers than last spring, with some very big breeding fish lying in the deeper holes and along rock walls. Anything over 70cm is likely a breeding female so give the future generations a chance and release them quickly. Smaller 40-60cm fish are better eating anyway with not much beating a beer-battered flathead fillet, carefully boned. Hope you’ve been getting amongst it. 

Until next month, tight lines and tubular visions.

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