Reports supplied by Kate Sheldon from Bay Explorer Marine Services.
December 26, 2022
What a week of cold weather we have had, I can’t believe I had to pull the jumpers back out and rug up to head out for a fish. Looking at the long term forecast this southerly wind should start to back off by the New Year and we should see a rise in the temperature.
In the rivers, flathead remain consistent as they have been all year, with both bait and lures working well with some great sized fish caught and released in the Hastings River along the coal wharf during the week. For crabbing enthusiasts mud crab reports have been better from way up in the rivers in all tributaries of the Hastings and Macleay River.
In Lake Cathie there have been some great catches of flathead, whiting and even the odd school mulloway. I went for a fish on dark during the week, caught a couple of live school prawns off the bank for bait. I caught and released a couple of great sized flathead around the bridge. There have also been a few mud crabs caught further upstream towards Lake Innes. The Lake appears to be at its healthiest at the moment, let’s hope it stays open well into the new year.
On the offshore scene, things are looking up with some warmer water now beginning to filter down from the north. Hopefully we see a break in the weather and can start to target some pelagics from mackerel to marlin. All the FADs now are producing a consistent supply of mahi mahi, with some great sized fish ranging between eight to twelve kilos on live bait. South West Rocks saw some black marlin caught with a few little fish about, it won’t be long before we start to see them further south off Hathead and Plomer Bay. Closer in, snapper numbers are above average with some nice fish taken in front of Lake Cathie on both baits and soft plastics. A few kingfish and pearl perch have also been on offer on the offshore reefs.
Only a couple of weeks until the Port Macquarie Game Fishing Club 39th Garmin Golden Lure Tournament starts. The Golden Lure features cash prizes of $7,500 for heaviest marlin over 150kg, $7500 for the champion boat tag and release, $3000 for blue marlin tag and release, $2000 Garmin lucky boat draw and $2000 for heaviest shark over 150kg. It’s a great community annual fishing competition with a lot of focus on tag and release for research and management into our fisheries. For more information head to the Port Macquarie Game Fishing Clubs website.
This week’s photo is thanks to Ned Kelly’s Bait and Tackle of Rhys Dutton with a ripper tailor weighing in at 4.46kgs, caught on a live yakka off the Port Macquarie Southern Breakwall.
December 15, 2022
Not long now until the school holidays with Christmas just around the corner. Let’s hope for some good summer fishing weather for everyone to enjoy.
In the rivers, the lower parts of the Hastings River in Port Macquarie continues to fish very well for bream and flathead, in the Macleay River there has been plenty of solid whiting activity over the past week especially in Clybucca Creek and in the Camden Haven River there has been a mulloway caught off the breakwalls ranging between school size to fifteen kilos. The mud crab scene is starting to fire with reports that further up in the Macleay River and in Lake Cathie producing some tasty crabs for fishos just in time for Christmas lunch.
On the beaches, whiting numbers are improving in those protected corners and if we see a break in that swell there should be some great fish about. In with the whiting there are a few nice bream, dart and flathead especially further north on Gap Beach at South West Rocks with worms and pipis as the bait of choice. For mulloway fishos, there were a few reports of fish down south around the beaches at Diamond Head and North Haven.
For the rock fishos, best reports are from the northern headlands around South West Rocks and Crescent Head. During the week reports that there were a few luderick, drummer and the odd large kingfish. As we head into summer, we should start to see some pelagic catches off the rocks now the water is starting to warm up. Just make sure you take time to prepare some heavy fishing gear and hang on.
Offshore fishing is starting to really fire, for the boaties that manage to sneak out to sea in the breaks of the weather during the week reported some great catches of snapper, kingfish and mahi mahi. Snapper have been around in reasonable numbers for this time of year, with some nice fish caught down south off Laurieton and Crowdy Head. A few fantastic catches of mahi mahi were caught over the weekend on Port Macquarie and Hathead FADs with live yakkas and slimey mackerel the bait of choice. For the game fishos I did hear a few rumours of a few black marlin caught off Trial Bay Gaol and there were some great reports of striped and blue marlin caught out wide between Hathead and Port Macquarie.
The annual Laurieton United Service Club Family Fishing Bonanza is on again next year and is scheduled for the 6th, 7th and 8th January. This is a fantastic family friendly fishing competition with more than six thousand dollars in cash and prizes. To find out more information head the LUSC Fishing Club Facebook page.
This week’s photo is of James Wickham with a stunning blue marlin caught over the weekend on Port Macquarie boat ‘Eastbound’. This was James first blue marlin with an estimated weight of 200kgs, the fish was successfully released.
December 9, 2022
We have had some erratic weather this past week, with strong southerly wind one day and north-east winds the next, the standard summer weather pattern has yet to really kick in. Looking at the long term forecast I think there will definitely be some great opportunities to head out for a fish in the coming week.
In the rivers, whiting continue to improve and the indications are for a bumper summer season ahead. A few keen fishos have been targeting mangrove jack on live bait with a few fish caught this week in the Macleay and Hastings River. They are an extremely strong fighting fish and they regularly find shelter among submerged snags, making them a very challenging species. On the bream front, a few reasonable fish have been taken from further upstream in each of the rivers, those throwing lures of all varieties report consistent results. Flathead numbers remain terrific with plenty of fish spread right throughout each of the rivers, don’t forget that if you catch a dusky flathead over seventy centimetres that you release the fish as soon as possible. I’m still getting reports of reasonable numbers of school mulloway in each of the rivers. Reports that North Haven breakwall produced some larger mulloway during the swell we had last week on large soft plastics and live bait.
Off the beaches, despite the large swell a few nice bream and whiting have been active with those protected corners the pick of locations. This weekend the swell is predicted to turn more to the south-east around two metres which should open up some more locations to fish from.
Off the rocks, the consistent large swell has made for a few decent catches of fish, especially around the headlands at Laurieton and Crowdy. Luderick and bream however have been better than expected, with Point Plomer and around the Lighthouse in Port Macquarie worth a look. Please be careful when fishing off the rocks with this larger swell, make sure to wear a lifejacket and let someone know where you are fishing.
Offshore reports have been mixed, as is usual for this time of year with the weather and ocean currents quite unsettled. For the boaties that managed to get out for a fish during the week they did find some nice snapper, along with a mixture of reef species on those inshore reefs. Off South West Rocks there have been some great catches of kingfish around Fish Rock. Reports from FAD’s north of Port Macquarie are most encouraging with the South West Rocks and Hat Head FADs producing a few mahi mahi, and numbers should get even better in the coming weeks. On the game fishing front, there are reports from the Gold Coast, Fraser and Moreton Island fisheries that they are having a bumper season on the black marlin. I expect that we are only a few weeks away from seeing a few black marlin caught off South West Rocks and further south early into the new year.
December 2, 2022
In the rivers, there have been some great catches of flathead with good reports from most locations along rock walls and breakwalls in all the rivers. Live hearing and mullet have been the standout bait and the best time to target flathead is on high tide. Whiting has also picked up noticeably, with good reports from around Pelican Island in the Hastings River and Jersey Bridge in the Macleay River. Worms and yabbies have both seen good success, however, look for surface lures to again work well now on high tide in that clearer water. Flathead activity has also been excellent, with plenty of good fish in most locations. Whitebait has been the standout bait; however, all types of lures have also seen good results.
Fishing off the beaches, North Shore beach in Port Macquarie has still been fishing well for bream along with the odd school mulloway. Horseshoe Bay at South West Rocks has also held bream and a few nice whiting. Further south, mulloway activity seems a little more consistent, with good reports again from at North Haven Beach and further south at Dunbogan.
Off the rocks, a few drummer and luderick remain on offer, with Perpendicular Point and Diamond Head to the south still worth a look. Cunjevoi and prawns remain the baits of choice. Some nice bream have been taken from Point Plomer and Queens Head during the evening sessions, along with the occasional school mulloway. Around the Trial Bay Gaol at South West Rocks has also held a few nice ludericks, along with the odd drummer mainly in the rock washes.
Offshore, for those boaties that have managed to sneak out between the wild weather have managed some great catches. Some great snapper were caught during the week on those inshore reefs off Port Macquarie and Lake Cathie. As we start to see a good push of current there has been some great catches of Mahi Mahi off South West Rocks FAD. The long-term forecast for the weekend is average at this stage, let’s hope as the weekend draws closer the wind drops off.
I want to end this week’s fishing column with some words of wisdom. I just want to remind all fishos from rock, beach, estuary to offshore that fishing should bring a local community together. Remember that no one owns that particular rock on a headland or that reef mark you catch snapper on. If you head out for a fish and someone is on your regular fishing spot, be respectful, maybe it’s a good opportunity to find another fishing spot, you could surprise yourself and find an even better place to fish. There is no reason or time for fishos to be disrespectful or rude to fellow fishos. We are all out there to enjoy the sport, the weather, to catch a feed of fish and to enjoy the good times. Share those fishing marks, take your mates out for a fish and support other fishos as we are all fishing for the same purpose.
This week’s photo is of Colin Trenaman from Ned Kelly’s Bait and Tackle with a monster Flathead measuring 98cm.
November 25, 2022
In the rivers, my pick would be bream fishing on whitebait or prawns this week. Flathead should also be quite active, with live bait seeing the best results and on the daytime high tide. For luderick fishos, the break walls are still holding some nice fish, with both sea cabbage and weed flies seeing the best success over the past week. On the mulloway front, while the lower reaches have been a little slow, fishos are having more success catching school sized fish that bit further west in the Hastings and Macleay rivers. On the crabbing front, locals are reporting that it has been a little slow around the lower parts of the river, however reasonable reports of muddies have come from further up the rivers in the warmer water. Stay persistent as numbers of mud and blue swimmer crabs should improve as we approach summer.
It was great to see everyone enjoying the warmer weather this past week and taking the opportunity to head out for a fish.
For fishing off the beaches this week Gap beach in South West Rocks produced some bream, dart and flathead. Lighthouse beach, Port Macquarie has produced reasonable numbers of tailor as well as some nice bream. School mulloway numbers are still prolific around the southern end of North Shore beach and around Lake Cathie. A few flathead and the odd nice whiting have also been about on most beaches.
Off the rocks, Point Plomer saw a few drummer and luderick caught during the week. You’ll also find a few decent bream and tailor hanging around the washes of protected headlands. Reports of some great catches of fish off Crowdy and Diamond Head for those wanting to try a new spot to rock fish.
Freshwater fishing last week produced some great Australian Bass in the upper reaches of the Macleay, Camden Haven and Hastings rivers. Looking at the long-term forecast there’s a few decent showers predicted at the end of November and the first few days of December. If the weather forecast is correct this may put a pause on freshwater fishing until the rivers clear.
Offshore, a few nice reef fish have been encountered by fishos that managed to get to sea for a fish. Last weekend saw some nice snapper and the odd pearl perch caught, whilst a few large snapper have been taken close in off Lake Cathie on soft plastics. South West Rocks and Hathead FADs last week produced some great catches of Mahi Mahi. If you are planning on heading out for a fish this weekend I would try for a Mahi Mahi before the wind picks up and according to the NSW DPI website the Port Macquarie FAD is back in action.
This week’s photo is of Matthew Hutchison with a Bar Cod he recently caught deep dropping down South.
November 18, 2022
In the rivers, flathead numbers are still terrific pretty well right throughout the Hastings, Macleay and Camden Haven Rivers especially on high tide throughout the day. Whiting numbers have also picked up noticeably, with a few solid fish now showing up downstream in the Macleay river and Lake Cathie. Fishing for bream off the breakwalls has been worth a look with prawns and mullet strips seeing good results. For luderick fishos, the breakwalls and wharfs remain the best bet on weed or cabbage.
Fishing off the beaches, I am still getting reports of school mulloway on North Shore beach and down south on North Haven beach. In Port Macquarie, Shelly beach and Lighthouse beach are both producing bream, whiting and flathead. Up north Smoky beach is holding some great bream, tailor and dart.
Off the rocks, the fishos chasing luderick on cabbage are reporting some nice catches and the odd drummer around the washes of Perpendicular Point and Crowdy Head. Bream numbers have been reasonable, with Point Plomer worth a look. There is still a few tailor and school mulloway been caught from the Lighthouse during the evening.
Offshore, for those who got out over the past week reported that there were still good numbers of snapper and pearl perch on most reefs, along with plenty of flathead and a few mahi mahi out wider off South West Rocks and Hathead.
A popular fish for boaties is mahi mahi or most commonly called by fishos – dolphinfish but I promise you they are not related to the dolphin. Colours of these fish vary from a silver/white to yellow/green with iridescent blue spots. They have a narrow body, a high head profile (particularly large in males) and a high dorsal fin that runs nearly the length of the fish. Mahi mahi can grow up to two metres in length, they are great fun to catch and will commonly jump out of the water during the fight. Mahi mahi are a great eating fish but I don’t recommend freezing this fish as they don’t thaw too well. Large mahi mahi are generally caught off the Mid North Coast from the end of Spring to the start of Autumn as they get pushed south in the east Australian current.
Mahi mahi can live up to five years and are one of the quickest growing fish in the sea. Mahi mahi will feed on a wide variety of smaller fish species including slimy mackerel, yakkas, pilchards and flying fish. Mahi mahi can be caught using a variety of techniques including trolling, spinning, live baiting and dead baiting. You will find mahi mahi in the upper section of the water column, and in particular on floating structures such as dead trees, fish buoys and debris. NSW DPI deploys FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) each year off our coast for fishos to target mahi mahi. If you want to know more about fishing for mahi mahi drop into your local fishing tackle store and chat with the knowledgeable staff.
This week’s photo is of Isaac Heagney with some great mahi mahi he recently speared off Laurieton.
November 8, 2022
What a great weekend we just had, I managed to get out for a fish off Port Macquarie on a local boat Eastbound skippered by Joel Pavy. We fished out wide to look for a blue marlin and only had one fish in the spread of lures and it didn’t seem too hungry. It was still a great day to be out on the water and fingers crossed I can head out for a fish this weekend if the weather allows it.
In the rivers, flathead numbers remain terrific in the Hastings, Macleay and Camden Haven. Whiting numbers are starting to pick up with a few solid fish now showing up near Jerseyville and in Lake Cathie. With that push off flood water we had last week fishos saw some good numbers of mulloway off the breakwalls from schoolies to fish up to fourteen kilos. As that water starts to clear up, fishing the top of the tide would be my pick as we come up to the full moon. In Lake Cathie there have been some great catches of flathead with fishos pumping yabbies on the eastern side of the bridge for the best bait.
Fishing off the beaches has started to produce some decent catches of bream, whiting and school mulloway. Further north Gap beach and Back beach at South West Rocks has been fishing well with some decent sized flathead caught during the week on bait. Off Port Macquarie North Shore beach has been the pick of beaches with some great school mulloway caught throughout the night on bait. Down south whiting numbers are improving in front of Lake Cathie, while North Haven beach has held a few tailor and flathead.
Off the rocks, a few large tailor are on offer further south around Crowdy and Perpendicular Point. School mulloway continue to plague most headlands, best reports are from under the Lighthouse at Port Macquarie with fishos throwing soft plastics doing quite well. A few luderick and drummer are still worthwhile targets, with Point Plomer and Crescent Head both still worth a look.
Offshore, the weather conditions have eased, and the forecast looks great for this coming weekend. Reports from the past week that it was quiet all around with only the odd snapper caught on bait and some decent kingfish caught off South West Rocks around Fish Rock. For the game fishos the current has picked up out wide, the water isn’t a great colour with the water temperature reaching twenty-three degrees and there is still the odd striped marlin hanging around. Hopefully over the coming weeks we see some more pelagic species off our coast as they get pushed south in the current. There were also a few reports of bar cod deep dropping in closer for those who managed to escape the current. I still believe there is an opportunity for a deep drop before we head into summer as this time of year we do see the odd day or two where the current backs off and the deeper species seem to fire.
This week’s photo is of Jason Troy with some great sized snapper caught over the weekend South of Port Macquarie.
November 5, 2022
Just when we thought we couldn’t get much more rain the weather proves us all wrong. Looking at the long term forecast we should start to see the weather clear and get an opportunity to head out for a fish this week. With not a whole lot of action on the coast over the weekend I spent some time out west at Copeton Dam.
Copeton Dam is just over four hours’ drive north-west of Port Macquarie and the nearest town is Inverell which is around a thirty-minute drive from the dam. The dam’s extensive foreshore area is home to a recently upgraded holiday park with some great facilities for families and fishos. The main purpose of the dam is to supply irrigation, stock and household needs in the Gwydir Valley, and environmental flows to the Gwydir Wetlands. Copeton Dam is a top freshwater fishing spot with stocked murray cod, golden perch, silver perch and redfin. Copeton Dam is well known for its trophy monster sized murray cod with most success on extra-large top water lures.
There are no boating restrictions in Copeton Dam, and it can be fished during the closed fishing seasons. With all the recent rain the dam level is sitting around ninety-eight percent and during the drought the water level dropped below ten percent.
Over the weekend I attended the AYC Cod Classic fishing competition. The competition hosted some of the murray cod fishing teams in the country. The major prize of the competition is the team who catches the largest murray cods in a thirty-six-hour fishing session. With over sixty of the best freshwater fisho teams from the state I sponsored a local team made up of Troy Boese, Harriet Crowley and Mitch Lowe. The high-water levels and extreme rain made it a difficult weekend to fish. With one of them suffering a campfire injury on Saturday chopping the top of their finger off with an axe, my team certainly put in a lot of effort fishing from the early hours of the morning until late at night. Unfortunately, they missed some great sized murray cod on the surface and didn’t land a fish for the competition.
After the competition finished on Sunday morning and the sun finally came out, we decided to camp another night and spend Sunday afternoon fishing the dam. The team took me out for a fish, and we ended up fishing at the end of a creek that was flowing into Copeton Dam. I flicked out a small spinner bait a few times and hooked a fish. With a great fight I landed my first ever golden perch or most fishos call them yellowbelly. After a few quick photos I released the fish back into the water.
After a great weekend I definitely keen to spend some more time out at Copeton Dam and hopefully land that monster murray cod. If you want to know more about freshwater fishing and Copeton Dam drop into your local fishing tackle store and chat with the knowledgeable staff.
This week’s photo is of yours truly, Kate Shelton with my first Golden Perch (yellowbelly) which I caught at the foot of a creek in Copeton Dam on a spinner bait and I promise no more photos of myself.
October 21, 2022
What a wonderful weekend that just passed. There were so many fishos out on the water and it sounded like some great fish were caught up and down our beautiful coast.
In the rivers this week, school mulloway numbers remain excellent in the Hastings and Macleay Rivers. Plenty of fishos targeting flathead were hooking a mulloway and were having a lot of fun on their lighter gear over the weekend. Whiting numbers are also improving in the Macleay River, Lake Cathie and Camden Haven River with yabbies and worms being the baits of choice. I expect whiting numbers to increase as the water gets warmer coming into the summer months. The breakwalls have also been fantastic for bream and flathead, with fish over a kilo from both species. There has still been plenty of luderick around in the rivers to keep the fishos interested. Whilst fish have been taken from most usual locations in the Hastings and Camden Haven River with cabbage the pick of the baits, although those using weed flies have also been scoring a few reasonable fish.
Off the beaches, bream numbers are better than we have seen all year, particularly in the north around Horseshoe Bay, Goolawah Beach and Big Hill. Fresh worms, squid and prawns have all been the bait of choice. Some good fishing reports on school mulloway off the beaches which have been caught on Lighthouse Beach, around Lake Cathie and on North Haven Beach particularly during dusk and through the night.
On the rocks, drummer reports have slowed although areas around Bonny Hills and the Camden Haven have been fishing quite well. On the tailor front, a few fish have been caught at first light locally. Those fishing the evening tide have been picking up a few nice bream as well as the odd decent mulloway. Around the rocks at South West Rocks and Crescent Head have both been holding a few decent bream, dart and whiting with bait been the most successful.
Offshore, once again striped marlin are dominating reports from the game fishos catching them between one-hundred to two-hundred metres of water off Crescent Head and Port Macquarie. There are still plenty of bait balls around with slimy mackerel hanging out in the deeper water. Also, a couple of reports of an early mahi mahi out wide of South West Rocks with not a lot of current around and water temperature sitting around that twenty two degrees. Port Macquarie FAD is still out of action. For the bottom fishos snapper, pearl perch and kingfish have also been on offer up and down the coast. Looking at the long-term forecast for the coming weekend, unfortunately we can expect a few days of strong north-east winds and large east-north-east swell. It may be a good weekend for some maintenance on the boat and checking that all your safety gear is up to scratch.This week’s photo is of Brendon Roods with a great Kingfish weighing in at 14kgs and measuring 122cm which he caught off Point Plomer over the weekend on a live slimy mackerel.
October 14, 2022
FLATHEAD FISHING AT ITS BEST
Overall, the long-term forecast for the next week is showing some great breaks in the wind, but we don’t need to discuss the rain forecast. Maybe just be prepared with a decent rain jacket if you are keen to head out for a fish.
In the rivers this week, dusky flathead fired for most anglers on poddy mullet and lures. It’s now time to put in the mud crab traps, I’ve heard a few reports of mud crabs in the Hastings and Camden Haven River with the better catches being in the deeper water. Bream fishing this past week has been best around the river mouths, on high tide and in the wash on green prawns. I saw some great sized bream caught off the end of the southern breakwall in Port Macquarie over the weekend.
Lake Cathie is appearing to be quite healthy with plenty of bait fish, small school prawns and wildlife about. The school prawns are bit too small at this stage to drag a net but give it a month or so and it may be worth a shot. There has been some terrific flathead caught around the mouth and bridge mainly on soft plastic, but prawns and mullet are also producing the odd fish. Whiting have started to come on the chew on lures particularly further into the lake as that water starts to warm.
Off the beaches, a school mulloway have been caught at both Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie and Grants Beach towards North Haven with the best chance at hooking a fish at dusk and throughout the first few hours of the night. Fishing off Gap Beach at South West Rocks has also produced a few nice bream and whiting.
Off the rocks, some solid bream have been taken from around Point Plomer along with the odd tailor and drummer. The breakwalls in the Macleay and Hastings River are popular at the moment with almost every fisho landing a school mulloway with the odd larger fish in the mix. Around the Lighthouse at Port Macquarie a few larger mulloways were caught through the week on lures. Perpendicular Point at Camden Head has also fished reasonably for drummer and luderick.
For the fishos wanted to head offshore I think we might finally see a decent break in the weather over the weekend. Reef fish catches for this time of year have been stable with some great pearl perch caught off Grassy Head and further South off Crowdy Bay producing decent sized snapper. Reports that there are a few kingfish hanging around Fish Rock and as well as out deeper around Trag Rock off Point Plomer. If you are looking to head out wide depending on the current, there still might be a chance for one last deep drop fish out wide. The Department of Primary Industries reported this week that the Port Macquarie FAD is missing.
This week’s photo is of Harriet Crowley with a stunning Rainbow Trout caught in a creek around Ebor.
October 6, 2022
TROUT SEASON OPEN FOR FRESHWATER ENTHUSIASTS
Looking at the forecast, unfortunately the weather turns for the worst on the Mid North Coast this week. On Friday strong north-east winds along with showers will hit the coast and if you’re brave enough to head out for a fish stay safe and always let family or friends know where you are.
In the rivers, bream are now well and truly the fish of the week with some star quality fish caught by many. In the Hastings River, the breakwall, Coal Wharf and Limeburners are all fishing quite well on the high tide. At South West Rocks, Back Creek and around the wharfs are producing the best bream on bait. Over the weekend, the Camden Haven River fishos scored some luderick, with good fish caught around the breakwall and at Henry Kendall reserve on green weed.
Fishing off the rocks, a few drummer are still about with cunjevoi being the bait of choice. On the tailor front, a few fish have been caught at first light although numbers remain average. Locally, Big Hill, Camden Head and the lighthouse at South West Rocks were the pick of locations for the best catches of fish this week even the odd snapper was caught off the rocks. For those fishing in the evening now daylight savings has started, mulloway at dusk would be my pick of fishing for the week ahead.
Last week in front of Lake Cathie and North Haven produced a few salmon and school mulloway. Shelley Beach and Town Beach in Port Macquarie have also fished quite well for bream and whiting. Finding those protected corners from the north-east winds this week will be your best chance to get out for a beach fish this week.
For the freshwater enthusiasts the state’s annual trout season opened last weekend. Many streams and rivers are in great condition following seasonal rains. A few locals headed west over the long weekend and successfully caught trout around the Ebor area on fly gear.
Offshore the weather hasn’t given boaties many chances to head to sea for a fish. If there is a break in the weather snapper would be my pick of fish from pretty well all inshore reefs from South West Rocks to Crowdy Head. Fishing the deeper reefs this time of year always provides consistent numbers of kingfish on live bait and jigs.
Last week for the second year in a row NSW Department of Industries completed the stocking of 10,200 fingerlings into the Hastings River. This latest stocking activity builds on last year’s successful release of 10,000 fingerlings into the Hastings River. These baby Mulloway measured up to 45mm on release and are expected to grow very quickly, reaching legal size of 70cm in about 3-4 years. Highly regarded as an iconic sportfish, Mulloway are a key target species by fishos in the Hastings River Recreational Fishing Haven.
This week’s photo is of Ian Black from Outdoor Adventure South West Rocks with a great snapper.
September 30, 2022
PELAGIC FISH AGGREGATING DEVICES
Although the weather has been all over the place these last few weeks plenty of fishos have taken advantage of fishing the better weather days. Fingers crossed with the start of the holidays everyone gets a chance to wet a line and catch some fresh fish.
In the rivers, the water is a little muddy from the recent downpours, but this hasn’t stopped some great catches of fish being caught. The Hastings River and Macleay River are producing some great school mulloway further up in the systems. It seems that mulloway numbers are currently higher with the significant rain we have had compared to when we were in drought and I wonder if there is much research surrounding this. In Lake Cathie reports that there has been the odd flathead and bream caught at the top of high tide. I think it might be time to dust off the crab traps, I’ve heard a few reports that there are some mud crabs being caught and as the water starts to warm up, I hope we are in for a good season.
It seems to be very quiet fishing off the beaches this week or maybe anyone catching fish is keeping it top secret. Let’s hope with the change of season we start to see some better conditions for beach fishing.
On the rocks this week I saw some nice catches of mulloway in the floodwater off the northern breakwall in Port Macquarie. With a spring forecast of heavy rain, I would definitely be trying to fish for a mulloway after the heavy downpours. I’m still getting reports of drummer from the gaol at South West Rocks all the way to Crowdy Head along with the odd bream and luderick.
During the week South West Rocks produced some great snapper, kingfish and pearl perch offshore. For those game fishos who braved the weather over the weekend and got to sea there was still the odd striped marlin caught out wide. Looking at the forecast for over the long weekend there is decent south-east swell predicted so be careful crossing those bars.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) installed the fish aggregating devices (FADs) last week ready for the upcoming summer fishing season. FADs are GPS-tracked floating buoys anchored to the ocean floor to attract fast growing pelagic fish species such as mahi mahi, marlin and wahoo. Most fish attracted to the FADs are seasonal fish, which travel in the warm water delivered by ocean currents. FADs are funded by money raised from the NSW Recreational Fishing License Fee. You will find our closest FADs off South West Rocks, Hat Head, Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Crowdy Head. GPS coordinates can be found on the DPI website.
This week’s photo is courtesy of Ned Kelly’s Bait n Tackle of Rhys Dutton with a Mulloway weighing in at 15kg caught on a squid.
September 23, 2022
STRIPED MARLIN CHAOS AT CRESCENT HEAD
Over the weekend I went out on a fishing trip that was a once in a lifetime experience, the best way to describe it was like a scene out of a David Attenborough documentary crossed with a Jaws movie scene.
On Saturday reports from a couple of Port Macquarie Game Fishing Club boats that there was a hot bite of striped marlin. Boat ‘Backlash’ skippered by Matthew Hobbs tagged the first marlin for the season. Sunday’s weather forecast was looking good and I knew I had to get out there. I was lucky enough to score a spot on boat ‘Eastbound’ skippered by Joel Pavy, a successful local game fisherman.
Sunday morning, the plan was to head North where the boats from the previous day caught marlin and see what we could find. As we got out to around seventy metres of water there was bait fish and birds everywhere. The water temperature was around eighteen degrees and we wanted to find a bit warmer water before putting the lures in. Once we got around one-hundred metres off Crescent Head the water hit twenty degrees and the sounder kept showing us bait balls mid water. We knew it was time to put the lures in.
We trolled for a good hour and I spotted a marlin jumping on the surface but with no luck that fish wasn’t hungry. We continued on and pushed out to around one-hundred and twenty metres of water. Chatting in the cabin and enjoying the nice day around mid-morning after a quiet start all of a sudden three reels start screaming with lines running out. I turned around and spotted one marlin on the teaser, one marlin on the closer lure, and one out further on the long rigger. With two rods hooked up I grabbed one and Joel the skipper grabbed the other. Mine didn’t hook up but Joel was hooked up and fighting on his. I jumped in the role of skipper, my partner Mitch cleared the deck and after about a fifteen-minute fight we landed a great striped marlin. The marlin took a locally made ABL jetted mongrel lure.
After that excitement we cleared up the deck and put the lures back in the water. We spotted a flock of birds feeding in an area and headed towards them. As we got within a couple of metres from the birds, we spotted a bait school on the surface with five or more marlin feeding on the bait. It was like something out of a documentary, we were so thrilled to experience that and decided to throw live bait in at the school. As I grabbed the long rigger rod and started to wind it in to clear the deck a marlin grabbed my lure and took off. I was hooked up and fighting. As the marlin tail danced and jumped around, I landed the fish after about a twenty-minute fight.
Once again, we cleaned up the deck and headed back to the birds. This time Mitch, my partner, tossed a live slimy mackerel into the bait school and before he knew it, he was hooked up and fighting on another striped marlin. As Mitch got the marlin closer to the boat, I got to grab the leader and release the fish to swim another day.
With all the excitement, time had flown by and it was already noon, so we decided to try skip baiting before heading home. I spotted a fin at the back of the boat and before we knew it one of the reels started screaming. We were hooked up again. Joel grabbed the rod and the fish started swimming towards the boat. Within a few seconds one of the biggest sharks I have ever seen jumps completely out of the water within a couple of metres of the boat. It was a huge Mako shark and would have had to be around five hundred kilos. The line snapped and we were all in shock as to what just happened. We knew then it was time to head home and be grateful for a fishing day that will be forever imprinted in our memories as one of the best.
If you’ve got a boat, get out and try for a striped marlin over the weekend you don’t want to miss out on the action.
This week’s photo is of Mitchell Lowe and Joel Pavy with the striped marlin Joel caught over the weekend.
September 11, 2022
AUSTRALIAN BASS SEASON OPEN
In the rivers, flathead numbers are really picking up with some nice fish caught in most parts of the Hastings, Lake Cathie and Camden Haven. On the bream front, reports that the canals and coal wharf in Port Macquarie have been scoring some nice fish on bait. The breakwalls were crowded this week with great catches of luderick caught on cabbage and green weed. With the full moon this weekend and some big night high tides it may be worth fishing for a mulloway off the breakwalls.
On the beaches, conditions have been challenging with the wind and swell over the past week. Still a few luderick and bream around when conditions allow, I would try for a fish in those protected areas around Shelly Beach and the northern side of Perpendicular Point.
Off the rocks, drummer numbers remain consistent. Best results for rock fishing over the past week have come from Big Hill Point, Shelley’s and Grants Head with reports of tailor, bream, luderick and school mulloway caught.
Not much to report on the offshore scene as the wind and swell has made it difficult for boaties to get out. If an opportunity arises to fish over the weekend I would try for a snapper on the inshore reefs or target a kingfish on the wider reefs using live bait. As we start to head into spring, I would expect the current to pick up soon, we may see some warmer water out wider and the odd pelagic fish will start to swim past.
Fishos can now cast a line for Australian Bass as the season opened on Thursday 1st September, as the annual closed season finishes. The closure period is important to protect the native species for their annual spawning and migration, this occurs each year over late autumn and early winter. In spring, most fish will have returned to their warmer weather feeding grounds higher up in the rivers. When it comes to catching Australian Bass, they aren’t a picky fish, you can use a wide range of surface lures such as poppers, divers, frogs, cicadas and many more. Australian Bass feed best around dawn and dusk, they hang around structures and will hunt bugs, frogs and anything they may fly onto the surface of the water. Casting a lure towards shaded areas, under overhanging branches, near submerged logs or near rocks will be your best chance at a fish. Also keep an eye on the barometer as they say ‘1020 fish a plenty’. If you want to know more about targeting Australian Bass or some locations on where to fish for them drop into your local fishing tackle shop and chat to the knowledgeable staff. If you are looking for a guided fishing tour, get in touch with Castaway Estuary Fishing Charters as they caught some great Australian Bass during the week.
This week’s photo is of Brice Hayward with a wicked Australian Bass caught and released locally.
September 6, 2022
SPRING, SLIMYS AND SOUTHERLY SWELL
Spring has sprung but the weather has different ideas for us fishos with another southerly buster alongside decent swell hitting our coastlines this weekend. Off the rocks I realise I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but drummer numbers continue to remain well and are worth chasing. Luderick remain consistent, with Point Plomer and Camden Head producing fish to around a kilo. On the tailor front a few large fish have been taken from around the Lighthouse and Bonny Hills headlands over the past week. If you do decide to head out rock fishing please ensure you’re safe, let someone know where you are fishing and wear a lifejacket.
In the rivers, the breakwalls are producing quality fish of bream, mulloway and luderick caught throughout the week. The water temperature has risen, and flathead numbers have certainly picked up, with both the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers fishing well. Lures of all sorts have been predominantly successful; however, mullet strips or prawns are also worth a try if you want to use bait.
With the weekend prediction of large southerly swell fishing off the beach may have to be in those protected corners. Throughout the week Lake Cathie beach down to Middle Rock produced some decent catches of bream, whiting and flathead. If you’re wanting to fish off the beach this weekend, I’d look around the incoming high-tide wash in the mouth of Lake Cathie.
For offshore fishing, good numbers of snapper have been caught on the inshore reefs and I wonder if the plagues of leatherjackets on the offshore reefs cause snapper to push inshore away from the ruthless leatherjacket. For those who targeted the deeper waters there were some huge catches of bar cod, blue-eye trevalla and bass groper caught last weekend on the ridge. September and spring are a great time for kingfish, let’s hope we start to see some fish showing up on those offshore reefs. Reports from South West Rocks that fishos are starting to see the large schools of slimy mackerel heading south and I find this usually means that the kingfish will start to feed.
This week’s catch is a blue-eye trevalla (cod) commonly caught deep dropping off Port Macquarie. I believe they’re one of the best eating fish in the ocean. They are mainly caught on the continental shelf from depths of two hundred to six hundred metres of water on seamounts and reefs. They can grow over a metre in length and can weigh up to fifty kilograms. If you want to know more about targeting blue-eye trevalla drop into your local fishing tackle store and chat with the knowledgeable staff.
Matthew Hobbs with a beautiful Blue-Eye Trevalla (Cod) caught deep drop fishing off Port Macquarie last weekend.
August 26, 2022
On the beaches there have been decent catches of bream and quality tailor, particularly on the North Shore and pilchards have been the pick of bait. Fish the run-in tide on dark or first light in the morning for the best results. Juvenile mulloway are still prolific around Lake Cathie entrance and around Diamond Head beach.
Off the rocks, drummer are still plentiful in most areas with anglers reporting the past few months has been the best drummer fishing in years. You’ll also find a few decent bream and tailor hanging around the washes of protected headlands. Reports that Shelly Beach is the spot producing the best catches for those wanting to fish for luderick.
The Hastings and the Camden Haven Rivers are producing luderick and decent bream along the breakwalls. Plenty of flathead have been caught throughout most of the Hastings River despite the cooler water.
The weather seems to have made a turn and we are starting to see some nice weekends to fish offshore. August and September are a great time to target snapper on the inshore reefs, if you’re after a feed of fish you’ll still find leatherjackets on the deeper reefs and I don’t expect them to disappear until the current picks up. If you’re able to head out during the week or on the weekend I wouldn’t be surprised if the odd kingfish is hanging around. I’d try to fish the deeper reefs around sixty to eighty metres of water using live bait or knife jigs.
This week’s photo is of a fantastic Mulloway caught in the Hastings River. Mulloway are mostly silver with a grey, green, or bronze coloured back. They possess a line of silver spots that follow the lateral line and sometimes have a black mark at the pectoral fin base. Mulloway are one of the only fish that can be targeted off the rocks, beaches, rivers and offshore. A good-sized mulloway is always a prize fish for any angler, a great eating fish and the envy of those who want to catch one. Tide is important, targeting mulloway and being in the right spot at the right time will definitely see a much better chance in landing a fish. Mulloway are unlikely to hang around if there isn’t any bait fish, so try to fish the areas that hold plenty of poddy mullet, luderick and tailor. Winter months are ideal to chase mulloway in the rivers or when the rivers flood the breakwalls become a hotspot for anglers. Offshore you will find mulloway on a lot of popular snapper reefs. The trick is fishing at first light or the first few hours into the night and on a high tide using live bait such as a slimy mackerel or yakkas.
This week’s photo is courtesy of Ned Kelly’s Bait n Tackle of Adam Janowski with a ripper Mulloway weighing in at 27.6kg
August 19, 2022
REMEMBERING A BRILLIANT LOCAL FISHO – JIM FISCHER
With some recent fantastic fishing weather, I hope everyone has gone and spent some time warming up in the sun whilst trying to catch some fresh local fish.
In the rivers, luderick have been taken from popular locations including breakwalls and the local wharfs. Some nice bream have been on offer, with the better catches being taken around the top of high tide. On the mulloway front, the breakwalls of Port Macquarie and Camden Haven are producing nice fish on lures and live baits.
Off the beaches, there are still good numbers of bream and some terrific whiting from Port Macquarie breakwall and further north worth a try. Worms have been the bait of choice.
Off the rocks, drummer remain worth chasing as they have been for the last couple of months. Camden Head has been fishing particularly well, although most headlands north and south are also worth a look. For those focusing on chasing luderick or bream, numbers remain excellent, with Lighthouse Beach and Shelley’s Beach both producing solid catches.
Port Macquarie Fishing Charters caught some great sized snapper offshore last weekend, with the next few months being the best time of the year to fish for snapper. Most inshore reefs will be worth fishing with either baits or lures, at dusk or dawn. Pearl perch, teraglin and flathead are also in good numbers. A few bass groper and blue eye trevalla were caught during the week out deep on the ridge.
Jim Fischer – I was ten years old when I first met Jim Fischer and it was at a weigh in for the Port Macquarie Blue Water Fishing Club. He regularly fished from his boat ‘Gunna’ and was one of Port Macquarie’s best fishermen. I remember so many occasions he would bring in great catches of fish and how he devoted so much time to the local fishing club. He joined the Port Macquarie Blue Water Fishing Club in 1975 and was the Social Secretary for twenty-seven years.
Jim treated me like one of his daughters, I looked up to him like a father and he was such an inspiration for me growing up in the fishing community. Before he passed, he gave my partner Mitch a list of his deep-sea fishing marks. I believe this was a tradition that Jim had done for his daughter’s partners John and Rob, it was kind of Jim’s way to approve a man that he believed was suitable to date one of his daughters.
Jim passed away last year during Covid-19 lockdowns and I attended his memorial service last weekend. There were beautiful tributes by his daughters Tania and Michelle remembering such special memories with their father. I will always remember Jim whilst I’m out fishing. Rest in peace Jim.
August 11, 2022
TARGETING YELLOWTAIL KINGFISH
The water has cleared in the rivers, but the water temperature is averaging a chilly fifteen degrees. Lake Cathie is producing some great catches of flathead and I did see a few decent trevally caught, with anglers having a lot of fun using light fishing gear. Bream have been consistent with the breakwalls worth a look around dawn and dusk.
On the beaches, Lighthouse Beach has produced reasonable numbers of tailor as well as some nice bream. North Shore Beach is also popular with a few bream, whiting, school mulloway and tailor caught on beach worms.
On the rocks, there are still great numbers of drummer. With the water temperature quite cool, you should be able to chase a feed of fish for a few more weeks. I’d try to fish the southern rock ledges around Perpendicular Point, Camden Haven and Diamond Head for a drummer, tailor and school mulloway.
With offshore fishing, we have seen a couple of breaks in the weather and for those who got out for a fish during the week reported that it was a little bit quiet. With the westerly winds hanging around it would be worth checking out the closer reefs for snapper and blue groper. Otherwise, leatherjackets are making their presence known on the deeper reefs with the odd pearl perch.
This week’s photo features Pauline Roods who recently landed her very first yellowtail kingfish. The yellowtail kingfish or more commonly known as kingfish are arguably one of the toughest fighting and tastiest fish in the sea. Kingfish will fight dirty and will find any piece of structure to attempt to free themselves from your fishing gear. With the strength and ruthlessness of catching a kingfish I suggest investing in quality gear that can handle the power of this pelagic. If you do decide to chase a kingfish on deeper reefs, using live bait such as a slimy mackerel or yakka will be your greatest chance of hooking one. The next best option is using a knife jig, but jigging requires a lot of physical strength and can be tiring. Working a knife jig with a combination of retrieves, short, long and slow movements, make sure to never loosen your grip because there was this one time a kingfish may have stolen my rod and reel but that’s a story for another day.
Targeting kingfish is mostly offshore but you will find the odd one at different times of the year swimming around the breakwalls and headlands. Fishing for kingfish on the bank is another level of skill and be prepared for a battle as they are guaranteed not to make it easy. If you want to know more about targeting yellowtail kingfish drop into your local fishing tackle store and chat with the knowledgeable staff.
This week’s photo is of Pauline Roods with a fantastic Kingfish caught on live bait off Crescent Head.
August 5, 2022
TERAGLIN OR IS IT A MULLOWAY?
North Haven beach and break wall have been the popular fishing spots this week. On the beach I saw some great tailor and bream caught by locals. Also, on the riverside of the break wall plenty of luderick were caught on green weed and the odd flathead on bait. Down South around Bonny Hills is still producing great numbers of school mulloway. Let’s hope this is a sign that the species is thriving, and we might end up seeing some larger fish in the upcoming seasons.
Fishing off the rocks continues to be consistently excellent with plenty of tailor caught around Big Hill Point, Crescent Head and Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie. You’ll also find some luderick and drummer in the wash for those wanting to float a bit of cabbage.
As the water starts to clear up in the Hastings River bream numbers remain terrific, with the break wall producing some great catches. Flathead remain plentiful, with the better results coming from areas downstream of Fernbank Creek all the way to the river mouth.
We are finally seeing some nicer weather to head out to sea offshore fishing. Over the weekend some great sized snapper were caught on the shallower reefs and the odd large kingfish caught between the schools of leatherjackets on the deeper reefs.
The Mid North Coast Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish and Boat Show is on this weekend. The Australian Travelling Fishing Show will be there with a super tank that gives spectators a fish’s eye view. Fishing experts will demonstrate the many different types of fishing lures on today’s market, you will get to see how the fish react to them and the different techniques used by many of today’s top anglers. The demonstrations will show you how to become a better lure user and will help improve your strike rate next time you’re on the water. The Mid North Coast Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish and Boat Show will be held at Wauchope Showgrounds starting on 5th August 2022.
This week’s fishing photo is a teraglin. Teraglin or most commonly called Trag are found off our coastline on local reefs in depths between twenty-five to eighty metres. Trag can be confused with Mulloway, the main difference is the curve of their tail fin and the inside of their mouth is pinkish yellow, compared with the reddish grey lining in the Mulloway’s mouth. Trag don’t grow as big as Mulloway but still can grow up to a metre in length. If you want to target trag I recommend using live or dead bait, but if you can get a smaller sized live yakka this will be your best chance at catching a trag. Trag particularly bite around dusk and into the night but you will catch the odd one during the day depending on the moon phase and tide. When fishing for trag during the day your bait needs to be close to the bottom but at night they will rise towards the surface to feed.
This week’s photo is Brodie Thorn with a fantastic Teraglin caught recently off Port Macquarie.
July 28, 2022
ROCK LOBSTER AND DUSKY FLATHEAD RULE CHANGES
Off the beaches this week there were plenty of juvenile mulloway caught, particularly around the mouth of Lake Cathie and even a few fish caught in the Lake. These fish are great fun on lighter gear, but you do need to be careful when releasing undersize fish. To maximise a fish’s survival use techniques and rigs that increase the frequency of mouth hooked fish (rather than gut hooked). If the fish is hooked deeply, cut the line as close as possible to the fish’s mouth rather than removing the hook. Compared to removing swallowed hooks from bream and mulloway, simply cutting the line increases their short-term survival. Studies have shown in most cases the released line-cut, gut-hooked bream shed their hooks within around three weeks. Also reducing the length of time the fish is out of the water and preferably unhooking the fish while it is still in the water will increase the survival rate of released fish.
Off the rocks, conditions have been challenging with consistent big swell. As such, the protected corners have been the most secure locations to fish. Drummer are currently plentiful along with a few decent bream and tailor catches. With the swell hanging around fishing the rock washes around Shelly Beach and Lighthouse Beach are well worth taking a look.
In the rivers some decent bream are hanging around the lower Hastings River and flathead are abundant around the Coal Wharf and in Limeburners Creek. You’ll also find a few whiting schooling in Lake Cathie and the Camden Haven River.
It seems like most weekends the weather for offshore fishing hasn’t been favourable but for those lucky enough to head out for a fish on weekdays, there was some great catches of snapper on the inshore reefs and if you’re after a feed of fish you’ll find leatherjacket on the deeper offshore reefs.
From the 1st August 2022, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is implementing new recreational fishing rules for Rock Lobster and Dusky Flathead in NSW. This is an exciting development in the recreational fishing space for Rock Lobster on the Mid North Coast, with the combined bag limit set to increase from two to three per person. DPI has also responded to the ongoing calls from the fishing community for rule changes to Dusky Flathead, this is to help boost the stock of bigger fish and ultimately provide better fishing opportunities. DPI have changed the bag limit of Dusky Flathead per person from ten to five and introduced a ‘slot limit’ of thirty-six to seventy centimetres for recreational fisherpeople. These changes are designed to increase the number of spawning fish and boost egg production, which will in turn improve fishing opportunities. The changes will provide for greater protection of large and reproductively important female fish. For more information on these new rules, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/fishing-rules-and-regs
July 22, 2022
LAKE CATHIE AMATEUR FISHING CLUB
The swell has picked up again with another weather change heading across our coastline. In between the rough seas drummer are making a strong appearance off the rocks, with some fantastic numbers caught from Delicate Nobby, Crescent Head all the way South to Perpendicular Point, Camden Head. Along with the odd tailor and school mulloway fishing off the rocks seems to be producing some great catches lately. If you do decide to head out rock fishing please ensure you’re safe, let someone know where you are fishing and wear a lifejacket.
In the rivers, flathead are remaining popular with plenty of fish caught on lures and plastics over the weekend. If you are wanting to catch a bream or two, try your luck on the break walls using strip mullet or whitebait. For anyone searching for luderick, they are a bit quiet in spots this winter, but I would try fish on some of the local wharfs using cabbage or green weed.
On the beaches, results have been a little low, but this can often be the case with consistent large swell periods and rain. Best reports have been catches of bream and tailor, North of Point Plomer and South of Camden Head, these spots are worth taking a look if you are wanting to fish the beaches.
Offshore fishing has been on and off this winter but for some of the locals who braved the cold windy weather they caught some great snapper, teraglin and leatherjackets on the deeper reefs this week. The water is still a bit green and chilly with reports of the sea temperature averaging fifteen degrees. Hopefully in the coming weeks we see the water clear up and a decent break in the weather to get out fishing offshore.
Ever thought of joining a local fishing club? With many local fishing clubs in our area, they are an excellent social gathering, a great way to learn from others about fishing techniques and a fantastic place to make like-minded friends. Last week I attended the weigh in for Lake Cathie Amateur Fishing Club. A fishing club with a strong community focus and a family friendly atmosphere. The club holds regular outings and competitions followed by weigh-ins. The club caters for a wide range of ages from junior, senior, mens and ladies divisions with rock/beach, estuary, deep sea and freshwater fishing categories. Every year the club holds the great charity fish auction, a fantastic event that raises funds for Lake Cathie Rural Fire Service and Camden Haven Marine Rescue. At the weigh-in it was great to see so many keen juniors with a passion for fishing growing up within the club. If you are interested in joining Lake Cathie Amateur Fishing Club, I encourage you to bring your family and attend their next weigh-in on the 28th August 2022, 4:00pm at the Lake Cathie Bowling and Recreation Club.
This week’s photo is of Lake Cathie Amateur Fishing Club Junior – Owen Munro with an epic catch of drummer caught off the rocks at Perpendicular Point, Camden Head.
July 14, 2022
Fishing the Dark Depths of the Ocean
The past week of rain has brought some flood water to our rivers. One bonus of that is a few large mulloways were caught on the break walls of the Camden Haven and the Hastings River.
You may have heard Jason, or I mention deep drop fishing and wondered what we were talking about. Deep drop fishing is a technique that commercial fisherpeople have used for many years, targeting fish in depths of up to six hundred metres. I remember as a kid, dad and I would be at the boat ramp as the local commercial fisherpeople came home with fish that seemed bigger than me and I dreamed how I’d love to catch fish like that. Fishing in those depths requires skill in and most commonly using electric reels. As the years have passed technology has advanced and electric reels have become more affordable for recreational fisherpeople. The most common species caught on the Mid North Coast are blue-eye trevalla, bass groper, bar cod, harpuka, kingfish and gemfish. These fish are some of the best tasting in the sea and can weigh over fifty kilograms, so you will want that electric reel. Now I know what you are going to say that its cheating using electric reels to catch fish but there is a lot of skill in deep drop fishing, when you want to hit a fishing mark the size of a caravan in over four hundred metres of water, the current and wind can make that a real challenge.
Recently I was invited out deep drop fishing on a local seven metre plate boat owned by Ricky Adorini and his beautiful partner Kate Hertherton. I met Ricky at the boat ramp at dawn, with a bit of swell on the bar we safely crossed and headed to a fishing spot eighteen nautical miles out to sea which is approximately thirty-three kilometres. After forty minutes of travelling, we arrived at the fishing spot in a depth of three hundred metres. Ricky had two electric reels one on each side of the boat. The fishing rigs we used were paternoster style with three hooks, plus an attached small underwater fishing light, squid for bait and a sinker that weighed over a kilogram.
First drop and Ricky hooks a fish, the electric reel is in action and only after a few minutes a massive bass groper reaches the surface. A great start to the day. We also tried a few different fishing marks and caught some nice sized kingfish. The day felt like it went so quickly we ended up coming back to shore at sunset. Kate, Ricky’s partner, met us back at the boat ramp with their daughter Freya. Kate was thrilled that we caught this beautiful bass groper to feed her family and friends.
If you want to know more about deep drop fishing drop into your local fishing tackle store and chat with the knowledgeable staff about what electric reels and fishing tackle you might need.
Picture – Ricky Adorini with his twenty plus kilogram bass groper caught off Port Macquarie.
July 8, 2022
SAFETY, SNAPPER & SOFT PLASTICS
Taking over the weekly fishing column from Jason Isaac at Ned Kelly’s Bait n Tackle is a privilege, he has done a fantastic job for so many years and I’ve got big shoes to fill. I’ve spent some time over these past few weeks thinking about what I want to report on. I’ve decided that I will keep you updated on the latest fishing reports as well as discover the many different varieties of fishing methods the Port Macquarie region has to offer.
Last week I attended the Port Macquarie Marine Rescue Radio Club Members night. A great night for local boaties to catch up with Marine Rescue and I couldn’t believe how many prizes were given away to lucky radio club members. As a radio club member, you log in with the radio base and you immediately become part of the three hourly sked checks. The radio base will call you at 0900, 1200, 1500 and 1800, to check that all is well with you. Even in the best prepared vessels, things can go wrong. If you do not reply to the radio call, procedures will commence immediately to verify your wellbeing. If you are interested in joining up or renewing your membership, you can visit the Port Macquarie Marine Rescue website. This service has saved many lives on the water. I highly recommend anyone with a boat to join up. https://www.marinerescueportmacquarie.com.au
Offshore a few decent kingfish were recently caught off Point Plomer in 50 to 60 metres of water just keep an eye on those teethy leatherjackets that are starting to show up in numbers. For anyone willing to travel a bit further to sea, deep drop fishing has just started to show some nice catches of blue-eye trevalla and bass grouper. For anyone looking for some nice flathead Lake Cathie is producing great fish on soft plastics. Off the rocks, luderick, drummer and school mulloway are still making their presence known. For the rock fishers, that South East swell has picked up over the past week so make sure you tell a friend or family member where you are going and wear a lifejacket.
Snapper, a fish commonly caught on our local reefs are a tasty table fish and a trophy fish to catch. Targeting snapper on shallow reefs is one of the most popular ways to fish for the species. The best time of day to target snapper is within a few hours between dawn and dusk. I suggest casting a light jig head with a soft plastic or on bait such as pilchards. Cast away from your boat and let the line off your reel to allow the jig or bait to slowly sink to the bottom. Snapper will feed from the surface to the ocean floor and don’t be surprised if you hook up not long after casting. Having a berley trail will also increase your odds of catching one. If you want to know more about targeting snapper drop into your local fishing tackle store and chat with the knowledgeable staff.
This week’s photo is local Brendan Crowley with a stunning snapper caught on a jig/soft plastic setup off Lake Cathie.
June 28, 2022
It is with a degree of sadness that this will be my final column as your fishing correspondent. After 21 years and well over 1000 weekly articles, the time has come, and some might say long past, to pass the piscatorial reporting baton on. I trust you have enjoyed my weekly ramblings as much as I have enjoyed writing them, and I for one look forward to next weeks article from your new fresh and enthusiastic local correspondent.
And what a week to wind up on, with last weekends weather simply as good as you could ever wish for at this time of year. Blue skies, little to no wind, a clean estuary and a calm ocean saw anglers take to water in droves, with some outstanding action enjoyed. This coming week however, looks a totally different story unfortunately.
On the beaches, bream and tailor numbers have been consistent, with both Lighthouse and North beach producing fish. School mulloway numbers have been as prolific as we have seen for some years, albeit with the majority in the juvenile class. The southern and of North beach and around Lake Cathie have both held plenty of fish. A few salmon and the odd nice winter whiting have also been about on most beaches.
Off the rocks, tailor have been consistent with virtually all headlands holding fish. While most have been just in the chopper class, a few fish well above 2 kilos have been around. Drummer numbers have also been consistent, with great reports from Hat Head, and increasing numbers around Ports various ledges. Bream have been reasonable after dark around Miners, whilst Shelley’s is well worth prospecting for blackfish.
In the estuary, flathead numbers remain outstanding, with fish on offer pretty well anywhere downstream of Wauchope. Blackmans Point and the lower section of Maria have arguably been standout locations. On the blackfish front, the break walls have picked up a little, with some nice fish to around a kilo. Bream have also been active off the break walls and up
Limeburners, with evening sessions seeing the better results. For mulloway enthusiasts, while the larger fish have been a tad elusive, plenty of school sized fish to around a metre have been taken from the North wall, as well as the deeper upstream locations.
Offshore, the reefs have been fishing exceptionally well with plenty of variety on offer. Snapper and pearl perch have been common in depths ranging from around 30 to 50 metres both off Plomer and Port. A little wider, kingfish numbers are as good as we have seen for some time, with fish to around 10 kilos taken from a variety of locations. Wider still, those
with the gear and vessels to fish the deep stuff have been enjoying great success, with bar cod, blue eye trevalla and the odd most welcome although rather uncommon for these parts, flame snapper. And just a quick reminder for those looking for the FAD, save your fuel as it has been removed for its annual winter maintenance.
June 21, 2022
Despite a brief southerly change last weekend and the odd shower, this past week has generally been as good as we can expect weather wise for this time of year. Sure the mornings and evenings are a little on the crisp side, but there is plenty of great angling action to keep you busy.
In the estuary, blackfish numbers have picked up a little over the last week with some nice fish taken from the break walls and other locations in the lower reaches. Greenweed for those who have managed to find some, weed flies and cabbage have all been successful. Bream also remain consistent from the break walls and Limeburners, with evening sessions seeing the better class of fish. Mullet strips have been working particularly well, as to mullet
gut and yabbies. During daylight hours, soft vibes have been the dominant lure profile, as they have proven to be over recent winter seasons. On the mulloway front, those throwing live baits after dark have scored the odd decent fish, while those throwing lures during the day have enjoyed good numbers of school sized models. The break walls and towards Settlements Point have been worth prospecting.
On the flathead scene, results continue to be terrific with fish of all sizes active from the break walls to around Rawdon Island. For those who haven’t heard, the bag and size limits for Dusky Flathead are about to be overhauled. As of 1 August 2022, a slot size is being implemented with a minimum length of 36cm, and a maximum of 70cm. The daily bag limit is also reducing to 5, with a possession limit of 10 fish. These changes carry unanimous support from virtually all anglers, and should help the numbers of this iconic species significantly in the years ahead.
On the beaches, bream remain consistent with some nice fish about. Lighthouse and around Dunbogan have been fishing well although all beaches are holding fish in varying degrees. Tailor and school mulloway numbers have been reasonable, with best reports coming from around the Camden Haven area. Plenty of tailor around as well as the odd salmon to add a bit of great sport.
Off the rocks, drummer have been reasonable with most headlands now holding fish. Locally, Lighthouse and Rocky’s have both been worth a look, with prawns and cunjevoi the baits of choice. Bream numbers also remain
first class, particularly at first light, whilst tailor also remain on offer from most locations at first or last light. Quite a few nice blackfish around Shelley’s for those floating a bit of cabbage.
Offshore, snapper and pearl perch have been consistent, with the reefs in around 40 to 60m off Plomer worth prospecting. A little wider, some terrific kingfish to around 8 kilos have also been active, with both live baits and jigs successful. Closer in, little to report on the mackerel front with the best of season now well behind us, although there are still plenty of mac tuna to keep you amused.
June 10, 2022
Winter has now arrived in full force, with the mercury plummeting and westerly winds confirming the presence of snow inland. However while the weather may be a tad cool, the local angling scene is red hot with some of the best action to date this year experienced over the past week.
In the estuaries, bream have been terrific with both baits and lures effective. Now a degree of clarity has returned to the system, the bream have been active pretty well from the break walls to Wauchope, with Limeburners in particular fishing well. Flathead action also remains first class in both the Hastings and Lake Cathie. Whitebait, pilchards and all manner of lures have been successful offerings. School mulloway numbers have also picked up noticeably, with plenty of fish ranging from around 65cm to a metre active. The North wall and coal wall have both been worth prospecting, as to many up river haunts. On the blackfish scene, we are seeing a steady improvement from the break walls, although they are yet to truly fire up. Whether they will this season remains to be seen.
On the beaches, both Lighthouse and North beach have been producing a steady stream of bream and the odd solid whiting. Tailor have also been active on most beaches, and we are beginning to see more and more salmon
show up. On the mulloway front, few reports of larger fish although there are plenty of school sized models around Lake Cathie and North Haven.
Off the rocks, drummer numbers have really picked over the past week. It would seem the significant drop in the air temperature and a subtle drop in the ocean temperature have combined to fire them up. Good reports have come from many locations between Hat Head to the north and Seal Rocks to the south, however don’t overlook the local ledges. There are many great drummer spots around Port suitable for either calm or boisterous seas, and in general they get a lot less pressure than the more renowned locations elsewhere. Apart from drummer, tailor have been terrific from most locations and will likely further improve with a building moon. Plomer has also held bream
and blackfish in reasonable numbers, while the flat seas have seen a few solid groper extracted from the more exposed locations.
Offshore, now the seas have begun to settle and westerly winds become more common, the participation rate has certainly picked up. While the FAD is still holding some nice mahi mahi, and the odd cobia and mac tuna remain close in, the focus has now shifted to fishing the bottom. Snapper reports have been promising over the past week, with some terrific fish to around 9 kilos on offer. Baits have been the more productive method of late, however look for lures to really come into their own as we progress further into winter. Apart from snapper, some terrific pearl perch have been about, along with a few reasonable kingfish from the slightly deeper reefs.
June 1, 2022
Winter has officially arrived, according to both the calendar and the significant drop in the mercury this week. Although this may now require donning an extra layer of clothing, it is certainly refreshing to see westerly winds and a fair bit of sunshine which will hopefully dry our waterlogged earth to a degree.
Despite this latest burst of sunshine, the Hastings remains significantly coloured courtesy of all the recent rainfall. With the ground so sodden, unfortunately it does not take a lot of precipitation to turn the water brown again. Despite this colour, fishing in the lower reaches has generally been excellent. Limeburners, the coal wall and both of the break walls are all worth a go for bream, with some solid fish about. Bait fishing has been the dominant method, although a few nice fish have been taken on soft vibes towards the top of the tide. Flathead continue to be excellent and show few signs of slowing down, enhancing the notion they are a year round proposition. On the
mulloway front, the north wall is still fishing well for school size fish, with both lures and baits effective. The odd better fish is also lurking about for those putting in the time. Blackfish however remain below expectations, although the break walls have been producing a few nice fish. Look for a steady improvement now the cool weather has finally arrived.
Off the beaches, both Lighthouse and North Beach have produced bream, with some nice fish to over a kilo. Tailor remain excellent from most locations, with some nice fish in excess of 2 kilos taken from the Camden haven area. School mulloway remain in reasonable numbers with around Lake Cathie work a look. Still getting good reports of quality flathead, most notably from North Beach and around the entrance of Lake Cathie, with this likely to continue while ever the estuaries remain off colour. Soft vibes, soft plastics and prawn imitations have all seen good results.
Off the rocks, tailor catches remain excellent, with Point Plomer, Hat Head and around Lighthouse locally fishing well. The ledges to the north are also producing a consistent run of school mulloway, with the majority of the fish in the 3 to 7 kilo bracket along with the odd better model. Also encouraging are increasing reports of bream, although to date the bigger fish associated with winter are yet to fully inundate the stones. Some nice drummer and the odd groper are also active, and will only improve if we ever get a decent southerly swell to clean a bit of sand out from many gutters.
Offshore, reef fishing is slowly picking up although the current has been awkward rather consistently. Those who have taken advantage of the patches of good weather have found a few reasonable snapper, pearl perch and the odd kingfish. On the pelagic front, Barries Bay is still producing a few cobia and the odd late season mackerel, while the FAD is certainly worth a look for mahi mahi.
May 24, 2022
After another drenching over the past week which significantly exceeded forecasts, it looks a little more promising moving into next week. While us anglers accept a bit of rain and the long term benefits it provided to our aquatic environment, a little bit of extended sunshine would certainly be most welcome.
In the estuary, the Hastings once again has a fair degree of colour after just beginning to clear somewhat. I’ve lost count of how many times this has occurred this year and cannot recall a year similar. As you would expect, most of the angling action will once again be concentrated in the lower reaches for the short term, pending clarity returning. On the bream front, results have been terrific in general and should continue over the coming weeks. Before the river dirtied, lures were achieving terrific results during daylight hours, with soft vibes a standout success. On the bait front, mullet strips have been working particularly well with solid results both day and night. Flathead numbers have also been terrific in the lower Hastings as well as in Lake Cathie. Lures of all profiles have been working well, as to whitebait and the humble prawn on the bait front. On the mulloway front, while this latest fresh is unlikely to see any significant spike in activity, there have been some solid fish to over 20 kilos haunting the coal wall and surrounds. For luderick enthusiasts, they are yet to truly fire although there are a few fish off the break walls for those putting in the effort.
Off the rocks, tailor remain first class with some terrific fish again taken from most ledges both locally, and around Plomer and Diamond Head. Garfish and large lures have accounted for the better models. Drummer numbers are slowly improving, with a few nice fish to around 2.5 kilos being taken from Diamond Head. Many ledges however are quite sanded and could do with a big southerly swell cleaning them out. Most headlands are also holding bream and luderick in varying degrees.
On the beaches, tailor numbers have been as good as we have seen all season with quality fish above 2 kilos on offer. Lighthouse and Grants beach have both fished well, particularly during evening sessions. North beach has also been fishing exceptionally well for flathead, with soft plastics and soft vibes worked through the close in gutters achieving great results. Bream numbers also remain solid on most beaches.
Offshore, results have been quite mixed as have the conditions. The FAD is still holding mahi mahi in good numbers with some nice fish amongst them. The odd cobia, Spanish mackerel and longtail tuna have also been in Barries Bay and other close in locations a little south. Plenty of bonito and tailor as well for those trolling close in. Bottom fishing has been treasonable with a few nice snapper and pearl perch about, while the flathead grounds in around 55m have been fishing well if you are just after a quality feed.
May 17, 2022
After enjoying a very brief period of sublime late autumn weather earlier in the week, the type we are supposed to have at this time of year with sunshine and light offshore winds, normal service for the la nina driven 2022 is set to return this weekend with yet more rain over an extended period. It’s a bit like groundhog day and beginning to test the patience of everybody, especially the angling fraternity.
On the beaches, north beach had been producing a consistent run of bream and tailor, along with some terrific flathead from the close in gutters. Soft vibes in the 14 to 20 gram range have been working a treat for the latter. On the bream front, numbers should pick up after this full moon, with the next few weeks likely to see the best action of the year. If the wind and sea back down for more than a day or two at a time, also look for a significant increase in mulloway activity. While the past couple of months have seen quite a few school sized about, the presence of travelling mullet and tailor will not go un noticed by the larger models.
Of the rocks, tailor numbers have been terrific with some quality fish on offer. Most headlands both north and south have been holding fish, and should continue to do over the coming months. On the bream front, reports from around Point Plomer have been encouraging, with evening sessions to date providing the better results. Those fishing the darker hours also report a few school mulloway from Plomer and Big Hill, with fish in the 4 to 8 kilo bracket common. On the drummer front, while we are yet to see them really fire, and likely wont until the weather and water cool a few more degrees, a few nice fish are getting about. Diamond Head is rumoured to be worth the trip.
In the estuaries, flathead and bream have both been terrific with most parts of Hastings now worth a look in line with the gradual improvement in water clarity. Both baits and lures have seen good results on both species. On the blackfish front, we are seeing a gradual improvement in the lower reaches, but as yet they have not fired up as we have come to expect at this time of year.
Offshore, the FAD has been producing terrific numbers of mahi mahi over the past couple of weeks, with some quality fish on offer. This is the best action the FAD has seen for time and certainly a welcome change. Closer in on the pelagic front, the odd Spanish mackerel and cobia are still available, both in Barries Bay and in front of Port. Plenty of solid mac tuna and the odd longtail are also amongst them. On the bottom fishing front, snapper numbers are encouraging and should improve as winter nears, while quality pearl perch have been taken in around 60m off Plomer when the current has been reasonable.
May 10, 2022
After a brief period of sunshine, calm seas and offshore
winds, la nina has struck again with another dose of easterely based winds and yet
more rainfall. This year has been quite relentless on this front to date, although
fingers crossed we escape the worst of this latest batch, and a sustained
period of sublime early winter weather is not too far off.
In the estuary, the lower reaches of the Hastings and Lake
Cathie have been full of mullet over recent weeks, although the brief cool
change last weekend will likely have seen many exit for their annual migration.
Hopefully conditions are conducive for seeing plenty of them reach their
destination. Bream have improved considerably particularly for those fishing
the evening session. Best bet is either the break walls, the coal wall or up
Limeburners with mullet strips, mullet gut or yabbies likely to achieve good
results. During daylight hours, soft plastics and soft vibes have been working
particularly well. Flathead numbers also remain terrific, with great results
from the lower section of Lake Cathie and around Hibbard in the Hastings. The
break walls are also producing a few blackfish on both cabbage and weed flies,
while good numbers of school mulloway have been taken from the upper Hastings, ranging
from juvenile up to around 8 kilos. Still a few mud crabs active in the
Hastings as well, so it might be worth keeping the traps in for a few weeks
Off the beaches, some nice tailor to over 2 kilos have been
about with most locations worth prospecting. Evening sessions have been
producing the better class of fish on either pilchards or slab baits. School
mulloway have also been active, with South beach at Dunbogan and around Lake
Cathie worth a look. Now the mullet have begun to travel and tailor numbers
consistent, look for increased activity from the better models. North Beach and
Lighthouse have also held some solid bream and the odd nice whiting, with worms
and pipis seeing good results.
Off the rocks, tailor numbers have really picked up with
some solid fish about. Most ledges are producing at dawn and dusk, with the
overall quality excellent. Apart from tailor, bream and blackfish are both
viable targets, whilst a few more drummer are beginning to feed actively in the
washes. Look for latter to pick up considerably once the water cools a few more
Offshore, results have been a little mixed with some doing
very well on occasions and others missing out. Closer in, snapper numbers are picking
up with both baits and lures seeing good results. Wider out, the odd pearl
perch and kingfish remain on offer, with around trag rock and the 70m reefs off
Lighthouse worth a look. On the pelagic front, the odd Spanish mackerel is
still around in close, along with some terrific cobia to over 20 kilos. The FAD
has also been fishing well for mahi mahi, with a reasonable class of fish hanging
around it at present.
May 3, 2022
May on the mid north coast is arguably the premier time of
year from an angling perspective. The weather is usually mild, the water
temperature still warm, and some of the best angling of the year is on offer no
matter where your passion lies.
In the estuary, quite a few mullet have now exited various
systems up and down the coast, with these fish beginning their annual northward
migration. Expect the rest to go with the next cool westerly change, which
looks on the cards for this weekend. As is usual for this time year, bream
action is first class with terrific numbers of fish active. For those keen on
chasing flathead, the entire Hastings system seems to be producing fish, with
the flats around Pelican Island fishing very well. Lake Cathie also continues
to produce the goods. On the blackfish front, a few fish have been taken from
around the break walls on both cabbage and weed flies. Hopefully when the water
cools a tad the season proper will begin. For mulloway enthusiasts, there are good
numbers of school sized fish in the upper reaches, while the presence of mullet
in the lower reaches is bound to attract a few much larger models.
On the beaches, tailor are now a consistently viable
proposition, with most local beaches holding fish. Lures, pilchards and
whitebait will all prove successful, as will slab baits fished on or after dark
for the odd larger model. Bream numbers have also picked up, with May renowned
as the premier month of the year for big bream from the sand. Also on the
beaches, a few reasonable whiting remain on offer, although the dart will
probably drive you mad at the same time. For those inclined to fish the darker
hours, school mulloway remain in solid numbers from most locations, with worms
the go for these school sized fish. Now the mullet are migrating, look for the larger
fish to shadow these travelling schools.
Off the rocks tailor have been consistent, with some solid
fish to around 3 kilos taken from Diamond Head earlier in the week. Bream also
remain consistent and should improve considerably over the coming weeks once
the bulk of the schools begin to travel the coastline. Drummer are slowly
beginning to improve, with the odd solid fish being extracted from Diamond Head,
Point Plomer and locally around Shelleys. Good numbers of blackfish remain for
those keen to throw the float off the stones, with Miners and Lighthouse
locally both worth checking out.
Offshore, some terrific snapper have been on offer in the 30
to 40m depths off Port, with both baits and lures effective. On the pelagic
front, Barries Bay has again attracted plenty of interest, with a few Spanish mackerel
and quality cobia on offer. There are also plenty of bonito, mac tuna and long
tail tuna also about to keep you amused in between the targeted species. Wider
out, the FAD is also worth a look for mahi mahi.
April 26, 2022
Usually by the time ANZAC day arrives, we have had our first
cool westerly winds of the year. This year, the ever present la nina weather
cycle seems to have delayed their onset, but our winter angling season is
beginning to kick into gear regardless.
In the estuaries, bream numbers and quality remain excellent,
and should only further improve over the coming weeks. Mullet fillets, gut
baits and yabbies will all be worth throwing. Both break walls have been
fishing well, as to more up river locations now the water has begun to clear
somewhat. On the blackfish front, numbers have picked up noticeably, with both
cabbage and weed flies successful. The break walls are certainly worth a look, while
rumour has it Lake Cathie is also holding some nice fish. Further up river,
flathead numbers remain solid with both whitebait and lures working well, while
the odd late season whiting remain on offer in Lake Cathie, as well as around
Blackmans Point and Limeburners. On the mulloway front, there are terrific numbers
of juvenile fish in the upper Hastings which is great to see. And with plenty
of mullet now massing in the lower reaches, no doubt there will be some much
larger models shadowing them. Mud crab numbers also remain quite active in the
Hastings and the lower section of the Maria, although it is again disappointing
to hear repeated stories of trap raiding and theft.
On the beaches, bream numbers remain above average with all
stretches of sand holding fish in varying degrees. Pipis and mullet strips have
been working well, while those using beach worms continue to score some nice
whiting. With the water clarity now vastly better, tailor numbers have picked
up noticeably, with quality fish on offer. Best reports have come from south of
Port Macquarie. On the mulloway front, there are plenty of school sized fish
about with around Lake Cathie and Grants beach fishing consistently well. Look
for the better sized model to also show up in improved numbers once more mullet
start to travel.
Off the rocks, tailor numbers remain solid with some nice
fish to around 2 kilos taken from most headlands. Those throwing either surface
poppers or garfish have been getting the better quality fish. Drummer numbers
are picking up nicely with the season beginning to shape up well. Look for
numbers to really pick up once the water cools a few more degrees. Also on
offer have been some nice bream and blackfish, with Shelley’s locally fishing
as well as is Plomer to the north.
Offshore, snapper numbers have been quite solid with both
local charter boats finding nice fish over the past week. Along with the
snapper, the odd quality pearl perch has also been on offer. On the pelagic
front, good news for mackerel enthusiasts with Barries Bay again holding fish. Some
nice cobia and the odd long tail tuna have also been about in close, while
wider out the FAD is holding some reasonable mahi mahi.
April 19, 2022
From an angling perspective, Anzac day usually signifies the start of the annual sp
awning run along our coastline for several species, most notably mullet and bream. Due to the floods along the east coast over the past month, we have already seen good numbers of these species on the move, with the rest primed and ready to travel. This usually signifies the commencement of some pretty hot fishing over the following couple of months, and this year is shaping up as exceptional. Weather permitting of course!
In the estuary, the water clarity is slowly improving although the bottom of the tide still contains plenty of colour. As has been the case now for some time, bream numbers have been fantastic, with terrific reports from several locations between the break walls and Blackmans Point. Now the full moon has passed, look for results to possibly pick up further. Flathead reports are also terrific, with plenty of fish around Settlement Point and Lake Cathie to the south. Lures of all profiles have been working well, as to whitebait and mullet strips on the bait front. Up river, school mulloway have been around in good numbers, while the odd better model has been found from the North Wall. Plenty of garfish around the Lady Nelson wharf for a bit of light line fun.
On the beaches, bream numbers have been terrific as they have been for the past month or so. All local beaches are holding fish, with pipis, worms and mullet strips all working well. Both North beach and Lighthouse are also producing a few nice whiting, while the odd school mulloway has been around Lake Cathie. While tailor numbers have been a little fickle, a few nice fish have been taken from the top section of North beach, as well as Diamond Head Beach to the south.
Off the rocks, tailor numbers have picked up in line with a marginal improvement in water clarity. Best reports have come from around Point Plomer with several fish well in excess of 2 kilos taken around the recent full moon. Pilchards and garfish fished during even sessions seemed to find the better fish. Bream and blackfish numbers have also been consistent, with Shelley’s locally fishing as well as anywhere. On the drummer front, early season results continue to be encouraging with some well conditioned fish about. Diamond Head and Point Perpendicular seem to the pick of locations at present.
Offshore, access continues to be hampered by a persistent swell and ever shallowing bar which makes crossing it very sporting, particularly on the run out tide. Caution and common sense should outrank bravado. Those who have ventured out report mackerel have been elusive in close, no doubt due to the ever present dirty water, however Barries Bay has produced the odd cobia. Wider out, the FAD has held mahi mahi ranging from juvenile to around 6 kilos, while those fishing the bottom have found a steady stream of snapper in close on both baits and plastics.
April 11, 2022
The Easter long weekend is traditionally a time when many anglers choose wet a line. Whether this be for religious reasons, the fact that many enjoy a 4 day break, or simply that this is a great time of year on the angling calendar doesn’t matter. Let’s just hope the forecast good weather over the long weekend indeed eventuates, and some great angling action is had by all.
Not surprisingly given the poor weather over the past week, or 3 months for that matter, our estuary systems have seen the bulk of angling endeavours. Despite the brown water which simply hasn’t been given a chance to fully clear, some great angling is on offer. Bream have been simply fantastic, both in quantity and quality. Best results have been achieved on mullet strips and prawns, with the break walls, Limeburners and up around Blackmans Point all fishing well. Flathead have also been active from these same locations, with pilchards, whitebait and mullet strips all readily taken. Those throwing lures are also again seeing success, albeit predominately on the run in tide when the water clarity is at its best.
A few nice blackfish have also been taken around the break walls, with cabbage and green weed flies both accounting for quality fish. There are also plenty of garfish in the lower reaches, with bread or peeled prawn pieces fished on small hooks under a float the gun approach. On the mulloway front, the odd decent fish is still active around the break walls, while up river there have been plenty of school sized models ranging from well undersized up to around 80cm. For crabbing enthusiasts, mud crabs have been fairly active by all reports.
Off the beaches, there are good numbers of bream and tailor about, although the constant heavy swell has made fishing the more exposed location somewhere between difficult and pointless. If the swell lies down this weekend as predicted, the moon and tides are optimum for an evening mulloway expedition. The southern end of Lighthouse, in front of Lake Cathie and Grants Beach would all be worth prospecting.
Off the rocks, tailor numbers remain solid for this time of year, although conditions have limited safe access to many ledges over the past week. Bream and blackfish numbers have also been consistent, with the more protected locations around Plomer and Shelley’s fishing well. Drummer will also be worth chasing as soon as this swell backs down, particularly if you can locate any well washed out locations.
Offshore, very little to report with sea and wind conditions simply dreadful over the past week. If more vessel friendly conditions indeed eventuate over the coming weekend, no doubt the participation rate will be high. Snapper will be well worth chasing on both baits and plastics, particularly from the close in reefs. Barries Bay will be worth prospecting for Spanish mackerel and cobia, with longtail and mac tuna also likely to be about. Wider out, the FAD would be worth a look for mahi mahi.
April 3, 2022
Wasn’t it great to see a little bit of sunshine and no wind earlier in the week. Although true to predictions, rain and onshore winds have once again graced the mid north coast with their presence, with more forecast in the not too distant future. Hopefully both arrive in civilised proportions for a change.
In the estuary, the waters are slowly beginning to clean up in the lower reaches, with the big tides of last week helping in this regard. As is usually the case during these type of conditions, the vast majority of the action has been centred around the lower reaches. A few mulloway were encountered, primarily from the north break wall, with hard bodied lures seeing the best response rates. The huge swell of last weekend however did restrict efforts considerably. Bream numbers were terrific, as they have been over recent weeks. Plenty of well conditioned fish were taken from the break walls, with mullet strips the bait of choice. Now a bit of semi clarity has returned, good results are also being seen further upstream. Flathead numbers have also been excellent in the lower reaches, with the coal wall and around Pilot Beach fishing exceptionally well. Pilchards have been a stand out success. On the crabbing front, the dirty water has also seen a spike in activity, particularly downstream of the Highway bridges.
On the beaches, there has been significant sand erosion from all locations courtesy of the recent exceptionally big seas. As such, care needs to be exercised until the sand is replenished, particularly if you plan on driving any of the designated beaches. On the positive side, there are a few terrific formations remaining, which is unusual after such big seas. Bream and whiting have been around in good numbers, while there are plenty of school mulloway in front of Lake Cathie.
Off the rocks, obviously the big seas limited options considerably, as to the flush of brown water coming out of the Hastings. However we have a few reports of good tailor still being around, as well as long tail tuna. Bonny Hills has certainly been worth prospecting for both species. When the swell was up, Shelley’s again produced bream and blackfish from the lagoon and sheltered gutters.
Offshore, it was amazing to see how quickly the swell backed down earlier in the week, going from around 3 to 4 metres on the weekend to almost dead calm on Tuesday. Unfortunately this did not do any favours for those working the Monday to Friday grind. Of the limited reports since, a few nice snapper are about, particularly on the closer reefs. Look for the reef fishing to really pick up over the coming weeks if conditions allow, while no doubt there will plenty again chasing mackerel before the season ends. While Barries Bay will no doubt be a focus of many as clarity returns, in the interim don’t be afraid to head a little wider as the fish will still be around.
March 29, 2022
A week ago the fishing scene along the mid north coast was looking fantastic, with the waters beginning to clear and terrific results seen in our estuaries, off the beach and rocks, and of course offshore. However mother nature has decided to challenge us anglers once again, with yet another weeks worth of rain, followed by a big southerly change and large swell just for good measure. While these types of conditions do indeed create a few short term angling opportunities which are not present when the weather is benign, we are long overdue for some stability and prolonged sunshine. Perhaps the only positive to take from this is that sustained periods of flooding and or big seas, usually result in better than average action when conditions finally settle. Hopefully this indeed proves the case this year, and some sensational angling is on offer over the coming months.
In the estuary, just when a degree of clarity was beginning to return, down comes another fresh which will again focus the vast majority of the action in the very lower reaches for the short term. As usual, mulloway will be viable targets from the break walls, with large hard bodied lures the primary offering, and to a lesser degree large soft plastics. While mulloway can of course be encountered during any stage of the tide, look to focus your efforts on the run in, especially around the area where the slightly cleaner ocean water meets and pushes back the browner estuary waters. In addition to mulloway, bream will be well worth chasing in any part of the lower estuary. Mullet strips will be as good as any offering, both day and night. While the odd flathead may indeed be encountered, targeting other species may be rather fruitless until some clarity returns.
On the beaches, tailor reports were most encouraging with pretty well all local stretches of sand holding fish in varying degrees. Hopefully they will remain in numbers once conditions settle. Bream and whiting were also both terrific and should remain so over the coming months. Given the colour again coming down the Hastings, don’t be surprised if the southern end of North Beach produces good numbers of quality flathead over the next week or so.
Off the rocks, our bread and butter species including tailor, bream, drummer and blackfish were all improving with encouraging results from most headlands. Long tail tuna were also around in good numbers together with the odd cobia for the land based game enthusiasts. While this weekends predicted swell will see most ledges off limits, there could be some great action as soon as conditions allow safe access.
Offshore, the combination of another fresh followed by a substantial southerly blow was not what we wanted, especially considering we were just again beginning to see good numbers of mackerel and cobia. Some nice snapper and pearl perch were also on offer for those content to fish the bottom. Fingers crosses reasonable nautical conditions return in the short term.
March 22, 2022
Just when last weekend saw the first subtle signs of Autumn with early offshore winds, lower humidity and a slight drop of the mercury, along comes another dose of easterly winds and subsequently plenty of rain forecast to commence in the latter part of this week. Lets hope the prediction of the La Nina cycle coming to end in the coming weeks does indeed eventuate, so the state can begin to dry out a little.
In the estuary, bream numbers remain terrific with pretty well anywhere in the lower reaches worth a look. With the clarity slowly improving, blackfish numbers have also picked up, with both break walls holding fish. On the flathead front, the flats around Pelican Island and the entrance of Limeburners have both produced plenty of good fish on both lures and baits. Lake Cathie continues to fish exceptionally well, with flathead, whiting and bream all in good numbers. The lower section also has plenty of mullet schooling up, and this has not gone un noticed by a few better than average mulloway. On the crabbing front, both the Hastings and Lake Cathie have plenty of muddies active at present, so deploying the traps or witches hats is well worth the effort.
Off the beaches, some terrific tailor were taken around the recent full moon. Those fishing evening sessions scored greenbacks from North Beach and Lighthouse. Lighthouse has also fished particularly well for bream, with plenty of well conditioned fish on offer. No doubt the recent floods have prompted this early season run. Whiting numbers also remain reasonable, and a sprinkling of salmon and school mulloway are on most stretches of sand.
Off the rocks, a few longtail tuna have shown up with the more renowned ledges both north and south of Port worth prospecting. No doubt the land based game enthusiasts will be out in force over the next month or so. A few cracking tailor have also been about, with some solid fish to over 3 kilos on offer. This is a great sign for so early in the season. Drummer numbers are also encouraging, with the better action to date from around the Camden haven area. Bream and blackfish are also consistent from the same locations, as well as around Plomer and Big Hill.
On the offshore scene, Spanish mackerel are again on offer in Barries Bay and off the front of Port despite the water still being off coloured. It never ceases to amaze how many anglers simply give up on the mackerel when the rivers produce a bit of colour. Put simply, these fish do not disappear from our local waters during these events, and need to feed irrespective of conditions. Perseverance and thinking outside the box are keys to success. Also offshore, the reefs are fishing well for snapper and pearl perch, with the current finally backing down to a manageable level for fishing the wider grounds. The FAD is also holding plenty of mahi mahi, albeit predominantly juvenile models at present.
March 18, 2022
The rain may have backed off but the water conditions have not improved much. Guys fishing the northern reefs could not find a Mackerel but there were a few bottom feeders to be found. Smaller Snapper were there along with some nice Pearl Perch but you will have to work for them. Off the Jail the water is green with the odd Wahoo caught on the troll with a heap of water between them. Out wide around the FAD smaller Dolphin Fish are lurking around but with the current sea conditions it’s not worth the trip. Green Island and Fish Rock have been slow with a few Kings and some Yellow Fin has been about. There’s been bait on the Bait Grounds but Slimies are still hard to find.
All is not lost because Flathead are on the bite along the Break Wall towards the mouth on both sides of the river with some really nice fish amongst them. Bream are being pulled out of there as well. Fisho’s are having success through the Cut up around Clybucca with some nice Lizards, Whiting and Bream in the mix. There is not much happening further up river with the water there pretty horrible.
No reports of the rock ledges but the beaches are fishing well. Fishing Smoky you will be into Whiting, with some nice Bream and the odd Flathead while Gap beach is fishing well for Bream. Local beaches have battled due the water clarity.
March 8, 2022
Once again the month of March has produced significant flooding along the Australian east coast. To date, the Hastings catchment has been spared from the worst of it, unlike the devastating scenes seen locally almost 12 months ago. Our thoughts certainly go out to all those affected both north and south, and fingers crossed for a sustained period of sunshine sooner rather than later.
In the estuary, minor flooding over the past week has seen significant colour come down the Hastings. As is usually the case in these conditions, pretty well all angling is centred on the lower reaches, specifically around both break walls. Mulloway have certainly been a focus for many, and there have been some nice fish cruising under the cover of dirty water. Peter Cording scored a terrific 28 kilo model from the north wall on a locally made Koolabung Jewie, while good numbers of fish ranging from and 8 to 20 kilos have also been caught. In general, large hard bodied lures have been the offering of choice. Also around the break walls, some terrific bream to over a kilo have been on offer, with mullet strips working particularly well. Look for a significant improvement on the mud crab front as well, pretty well anywhere downstream of the highway bridges.
South a Lake Cathie, conditions have finally begun to settle somewhat after the recent opening, and as you would expect, fishing is certainly picking up. Whiting numbers have been solid, with both live prawns and beach worms seeing good success. Flathead are also feeding actively with prawns, whitebait and lures all working well. Plenty of undersized bream are also in the system to make sure any bait won’t go unnoticed for long. There are also big numbers of blue swimmer crabs still in the system, although in the main most are undersized, and those just legal, hardly worth harvesting.
On the beaches, although conditions have not been ideal, a few nice fish have been cruising the waves. Good tailor have been encountered primarily south of Port, whilst Lighthouse has held a sprinkling of bream and whiting. With all the colour coming down the Hastings, the southern end of North beach will be worth a look for bream, mulloway and flathead. Flathead in particular often congregate in the bottom section during flood conditions, with either whitebait or soft vibes well worth throwing.
Off the rocks, some nice tailor and bonito are about, although locating relatively clean water is a must. Bream have been consistent around Plomer and Shelley’s locally, while Point Perpendicular and Diamond Head continue to produce a steady stream of drummer and blackfish for those putting in the effort.
Offshore, very little action as you would expect given the conditions of late. Of the minimal reports, a few nice mahi mahi are around at the FAD and wider, while closer in a few nice snapper are on offer. What all the flood water up and down the coast will do the mackerel remains to be seen.
February 22, 2022
Just as the Hastings was slowly beginning to clear, more rain has arrived throughout the mid north coast. Hopefully this wet period passes quickly and we get some long overdue sunny and stable weather.
In the estuary, whiting have picked up a little with some nice fish coming from Limeburners and around Pelican Island. Worms and yabbies have both proven effective, as to surface lures on occasions. Flathead numbers also remain consistent through most sections of the Hastings, with the upper reaches again worth prospecting in line with improved clarity. Elsewhere in the estuary, a few blackfish have been extracted from the weed beds in the back channel, with lightly weighted yabbies the method of choice. Bream numbers have been reasonable with the better catches reported from around the canals and Limeburners, with soft plastics and hard bodied lures both successful. The north wall has also been worth a look for mulloway, with the odd nice model around. Whole squid, live mullet and lures have all proven successful on occasions. On the crustacean front, Lake Cathie is still worth a look for prawning enthusiasts, although expect to work a little harder in comparison to recent months. Mud crab numbers also remain solid, with anywhere between the highway bridges and Wauchope well worth prospecting with either traps or witches hats.
Of the beaches, North beach has produced a steady stream of tailor albeit mainly in the chopper class, along with a few bream, whiting and the odd salmon. Those fishing evening sessions have been enjoying the better results, although there is plenty of vermin in between the more palatable species. Lighthouse has also been productive for bream and whiting, whilst the beaches around Laurieton have given up the odd school mulloway.
Off the rocks, reasonable numbers of bream have been taken, with both Point Plomer and Lighthouse worth a look either after dark, or at first light. Pick of the baits have been either mullet or tailor strips. Tailor remain reasonable in both locations. Blackfish have been reported from around Shelley’s for anyone interested in floating a bit of cabbage around the washes, while Diamond head has produced a few nice early season drummer.
Offshore, conditions have been frustrating over the past week, with coolish green water in close, and the current still roaring wider out. As such, mackerel action has been slow in close although Barries Bay has produced a few nice cobia. Bottom fishing on the wider grounds has been challenging given the current, although there are some nice snapper, pearl perch and flathead on offer when conditions allow. The FAD has also held some nice mahi mahi although it pays to one of the first boats there.
Feburary 15, 2022
It looks like the mid north coast is in for a bit of stable weather for a change, with the forecast for this weekend looking terrific. Hopefully it indeed eventuates and we get a bit of a break from the wind and rain of recent weeks.
In the estuary, despite the Hastings still having a fair degree of colour, whiting numbers have picked up with good reports coming from Limeburners and around Pelican Island. Mulloway numbers have also picked up, with both the coal wall and north break wall worth a look. Lures, live baits and whole squid have all seen success. These same locations have also been fishing quite well for bream, with mullet strips again seeing terrific results. On the flathead front, the Hastings continues to fish consistently although the better reports of late have come from area downstream of Hibbard. Pilchards and whitebait have both worked well, as to most lure profiles. The lower section of Lake Cathie is also holding terrific numbers of well conditioned flatties.
In regards to Lake Cathie, the water level remains around 1.66m AHD, and to date the powers that be are happy to monitor the situation in lieu of a traditional opening. The reasoning behind this stems from acid sulphate concerns, and the potential for a significant Iron Floc event which is likely when the water levels drop significantly. Whether the proposed berm scrape eventuates in the short term remains to be seen, but in the meantime the system remains healthy, there are plenty of flathead and whiting towards the front, and the prawning enthusiasts will be delighted to enjoy another dark chasing those tasty crustaceans.
Off the beaches, Lighthouse has held a few tailor with the odd fish well above a kilo. Some nice bream and whiting have also been on both Lighthouse and North Beach. While mulloway numbers have been a little subdued, we have good tides and lunar conditions for a bit of evening prospecting.
Off the rocks, tailor numbers have been consistent with Point Plomer and Lighthouse both worth a look. Diamond Head and Crowdy have also produced a few late, or early season drummer and the odd groper. On the land based game front, Hat Head would be worth prospecting for Spanish mackerel or cobia. With the waters in close quite warm already, hopefully reasonable numbers of longtail tuna turn up in the not too distant future.
Offshore, whilst conditions of late have not been kind, it seems we may be entering a more stable period weather wise which is certainly welcome. Most action of late has been centred around the inshore pelagics, with some terrific Spanish mackerel and cobia about. Whilst Barries bay has been a focal location, don’t overlook the reefs in front of and just south of Port. Mackerel in particular do inhabit these reefs, and the shark problem is nowhere near as bad. Wider out, a few mixed reef fish have been on offer, while the FAD is worth visiting for mahi mahi.
February 8, 2022
After an extended period of strong but refreshingly cool south east winds, normal February weather has returned once again. Hopefully it will only be a few more weeks until the worst of the humidity is behind us for the year, and our highly anticipated early Autumn angling season kicks into full swing.
In the estuary, despite the Hastings again containing a degree of colour, whiting have been reasonable with both Limeburners and the flats around Pelican Island fishing quite well. Live worms and yabbies on most occasions are the baits of choice, however surface have also certainly had there moments. On the bream front, both break walls have produced a few solid fish to around a kilo, with mullet strips working very well. Limeburners and around Hibbard have also been worth a look. The lower estuary is also producing quite a few big tarwhine at present, with several fish around a kilo taken over the last few weeks. Prawns seem to the bait of choice for these critters. On the crab front, muddies remain reasonably active with many achieving bag limit catches before dark. For prawning enthusiasts, it seems our best year in memory is about to draw to a close, with the lakes height now in excess of the opening trigger of 1.6M AHD. At the time of writing however, it appears the powers that be are yet to agree on when, and if the system will be artificially opened, and how their new berm scaping system will be carried out this time. Maybe we may some have clarity on this issue at some point over the coming week.
Off the beaches, few reports from more exposed stretches of sand as you would expect given the conditions. However we have still had a few positive reports of bream and whiting from the protected southern corners, with Diamond Head and Plomer beach both fishing well. Some nice bream and a few tailor were also taken from the southern end of Rainbow Beach on worms and metal lures respectively.
Off the rocks, while the wind and seas have limited options of late, some nice fish were on offer from more protected ledges. Plomer has held some nice bream and blackfish, while Point Perpendicular and Middle rock have produced a few drummer and gold spot sweetlip. Now conditions have settled somewhat, tailor and bonito will again be worth chasing.
Offshore, up until the latter part of this week, conditions had been terrible with big seas and plenty of south east wind for pretty well a week solid. Now things have begun to settle, no doubt there will be plenty heading out, with inshore pelagics high on the agenda. Spanish mackerel and cobia will certainly be viable targets, both in Barries Bay as well as in front of and just south of Port. Wider out the FAD will be worth a look for mahi mahi, and some great bottom fishing action is on the cards as long as the current is reasonable.
February 1, 2022
The past two weeks have seen absolutely sublime weather on the mid north coast, albeit with a tad more humidity than most would like. However, it seems this is coming to an abrupt end, with a stretch of south easterly winds and a drop of rain forecast for the latter part this week and over the weekend. Mother nature must have known when the school holidays finished.
In the estuaries, flathead remain consistent with some terrific fish nearing a metre on offer. Lures, whitebait and pilchards have all been well worth throwing. Whiting numbers have also improved in line with improved water clarity. Around Pelican Island and up Limeburners are both worth a look on either worms or surface lures. A few nice bream and tarwhine have also been on offer around the break walls, with the better results seen during evening sessions using prawns and yabbies. On the mulloway front, while the larger models have proven elusive, there are plenty of juvenile fish up river which is a good sign for the future. On the crustacean front, Lake Cathie has again produced some terrific prawns, although results have varied from night to night, and on occasion hour to hour. This has certainly been a season to remember. Mud Crabs have also been terrific, with good reports from Lake Cathie, as well up the Hastings and Maria.
On the beaches, some reasonable bream to around a kilo have been taken from both Lighthouse and North beach, with the average size more in line with what we expect in winter. Certainly no one is complaining about this at all. Along with the bream, a few well conditioned whiting have been caught on both worms and pipis, while the occasional school mulloway remains active after dark. Lighthouse has also produced a few reasonable tailor, mainly just on dusk.
Off the rocks, tailor numbers and quality are reasonable with Point Plomer and Diamond Head faring best, whilst Lighthouse locally is also worth a throw. Most ledges are also holding bonito with Point Perpendicular proving very consistent. Some nice blackfish also around Plomer
Offshore, while ocean condition were terrific until the south easterly change arrived, bar conditions have deteriorated to the point whereby many suggest the bar is as bad as they have seen in 20 years. Such is the extent of sand build up, there is no defined lead line, with swell direction and size, together with tidal flow seeing safe passage varying considerably from hour to hour, and at times, simply being impassable in a safe manner. As such, extreme caution is advised, particularly on the run out tide. Those who have been out report the current is still raging, at times in excess of 4 knots close in. Bottom fishing has been limited to the very close in reefs, with a few snapper on offer, while Barries Bay has been worth a look for cobia and mackerel, although you will need to battle the sharks if and when you hook a fish.
January 25, 2022
At last the consistent south easterly winds and big swells have begun to lay down, with this week seeing more of our traditional summer weather patterns. Hopefully this should lead to some terrific summer angling action over the coming weeks.
In the estuary, there is still a fair bit of colour in the system courtesy of consistent rainfall in the upper catchment. While this is certainly better than the alternative, we could do with a break for a week or two. Flathead numbers remain consistent, most notably in the lower reaches with plenty of fish around the 40cm mark and the occasional better model. Best bait at present is whitebait, however lure enthusiasts continue to achieve great results on the run up tide. A few whiting are still being caught both in Limeburners and around Pelican Island, and should further improve as clarity improves. Bream numbers have been consistent, with the break walls and Limeburners fishing well. Mullet strips have been the stand out bait. Also in the river are plenty of garfish, with either peeled prawns or bread working well, while a few school mulloway have been taken up river ranging from around 50 to 80cm.
South at Lake Cathie, another prawn dark is currently underway. Although results have to date not been as spectacular as recent months, the rewards are there still there to be enjoyed and the quality as good as you are likely to see. Also in the lake, flathead and whiting have been in good numbers, and the system is now home to countless numbers of juvenile blue swimmer crabs. For all the doom and gloom espoused by certain lobby groups, it seems the marine life is thriving like it always does despite the entrance being closed.
Off the beaches, bream and whiting numbers remain consistent, with both North Beach and Lighthouse worth a look. Some quality tailor have also been active at both dawn and dusk. Off the rocks, tailor are also about along with increasing numbers of bonito. Around Plomer, bream remain better than average, while the odd mulloway and well conditioned blackfish are also on offer.
Offshore, at last the winds have laid down to some degree, however the bar has been rather cantankerous, particularly towards the last of the run out tide. It seems a little more sanded than usual so extra care should be taken. Those who have ventured out report the currents have been strong, making bottom fishing difficult once you head a little wider. On the positive side however, the FAD has been holding some nice mahi mahi, while a few Spanish mackerel and cobia have been caught in Barries Bay. There have also been a few reports already sharks taking hooked mackerel in the bay, with this unwanted intervention becoming more frequent each season. If you wish chase a mackerel and fighting off sharks isn’t your thing, these fish don’t just reside in the bay, with plenty caught in front of, and south of Port, with a far lower tax rate.
January 18, 2022
This past week has been a little challenging on the angling front, particularly for those seeking to fish our coastline or offshore areas. Not only have we had a consistently heavy ground swell, but we have also had additional pulses resultant from the underwater eruption off the coast of Tonga. While many may not have noticed any real impact from the latter, it certainly created significant surges, sufficient to see damage to marine structures such as oyster leases and wave heights beyond the normal hit the rocks and beaches. Hopefully these effects diminish quickly.
In the estuaries, whiting and flathead both remain excellent as is usually the case at this time of year. Flathead are being taken from pretty well all parts of the Hastings on both bait and lures, with best reports from around Hibbard and up Limeburners. Best results on the whiting front have been by those fishing baits, with worms or yabbies doing the trick. Also in the estuaries, some nice bream to around a kilo have been taken from the break walls, with mullet strips proving the premier bait. For those keen on a feed of tasty crustaceans, mud crab numbers have picked up throughout the Hastings, while we are just about to enter prime time for prawns at Lake Cathie. How they will be this moon remain to be seen, but results to date this season have been nothing short of sensational. No doubt the participation rate will be high once again.
Off the beaches, conditions have been challenging with big tides, a consistent ground swell and not to mention the additional tidal surge resultant from the Tongan eruption. As such, the more protected corners have been the only consistent viable locations, producing a few nice bream and whiting. When conditions finally settle, tailor are around in good numbers with a better class of fish than usually seen at this time of year.
Off the rocks, bream and blackfish have both been solid from around Plomer, along with a few school mulloway. Tailor have been active at the Lighthouse at first light, along with increasing numbers of bonito albeit not of great size. Still a few drummer around for those fishing the washes with either prawns, cunjevoi or cabbage, with Diamond Head worth a look.
Offshore, the Golden Lure has once again been successfully staged, and congratulations to all the winners and of course the organizing committee. While conditions were challenging, some great game fishing action was enjoyed, again highlighting the potential of this area on the game fishing front. Marlin were around in reasonable numbers both close in and on the shelf, as to some terrific mahi mahi and other species. Also offshore, bonito numbers have been terrific close in, while those content to fish the bottom have been finding a few nice snapper and pearl perch when the current has laid down. With the water in close again warming, look for our mackerel season to begin to fire right up over the coming weeks.
January 11, 2022
As a new year kicks off, let’s hope 2022 brings with it far less challenges from a national health perspective, a degree of pre Covid normality, and some sensational angling experiences for all.
On the offshore scene, obviously the Golden Lure is the talk of the town at present however conditions have not been favourable, with the first 2 days postponed and challenging conditions early in the week. Despite the tough going, there have been a few pelagics about, including black, striped and blue marlin together with some solid mahi mahi. Also encountered were short billed spearfish, wahoo and early season spanish mackerel which will be welcome news for the mackerel enthusiasts. Fingers crossed the improved forecast for the last few days indeed eventuates, and some great action ensues.
On the bottom fishing front, conditions have been challenging, with the strong current streaming down from the north limiting options. There have however been some reasonable results on snapper from the closer reefs, with fish to nearly 9 kilos taken on both baits and lures. Some nice flathead have been wider out when the current is reasonable.
Off the beaches, after the big swell and tides of last week, conditions have now settled and formations have begun to redevelop nicely. Lighthouse is again holding a few tailor, bream and whiting, with North Beach also holding the latter two in varying degrees. Worms have been the gun bait for bream and whiting, while small metals have done the trick with tailor.
Off the rocks, Point Plomer has been producing a consistent run blackfish and a few bream, whilst the Lighthouse has been worth a look for tailor on most mornings. Land based game enthusiasts are also beginning to dust off their gear, with plenty of warm water and a few positive reports from a little further up the coast.
In the estuaries, the Hastings has again seen a bit of colour throughout the system courtesy of a few solid down pours in the upper catchment. As such, the better action of late has been in the lower reaches. As usual at this time of year, flathead have been the star attraction, with good fish on offer from the break walls, around Settlement Point and up Limeburners. On the lure front, white or bright soft plastics have been working well, while whitebait, pilchards, mullet strips and prawns have all seen success. Some nice bream have also been active in the dirty water, with mullet strips seeing the better results. On the whiting front, there have been a few nice fish about, however the action has been inconsistent due the variable water temperatures and clarity. Worms and yabbies have been the go on the bait front, while surface lures have also seen moderate success. For prawning enthusiasts, Lake Cathie again produced the goods during the recent dark, albeit not quite as consistently as in previous months. No doubt there will again be a high level of participation again following the upcoming full moon if the system remains closed.