Port Macquarie Report

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29/5/24

In the Port Macquarie region this week, the beaches are alive with fish. North Shore Beach is a haven for bream, and the action is expected to pick up even more after the full moon on Thursday. In the river, flathead enthusiasts are also having a blast, with soft vibes in the 14-20 gram range proving irresistible. Keep your eyes peeled for mulloway – travelling mullet and tailor are attracting these larger predators, so there’s a chance of landing a trophy catch. Off the rocks tailor fishing has been great, with good catches reported from headlands both north and south of Port Macquarie. This exciting fishing should continue for the coming weeks. Luderick anglers can look forward to improvement as well, with these fish expected to become more active in the coming weeks. While the FADs are being removed for winter, offshore fishing remains productive. Spanish mackerel and cobia can still be found in Plomer Bay and from the reefs straight out the front. Bottom feeders are in for a treat too, with encouraging numbers of snapper and the occasional quality pearl perch being caught around 60 meters off Point Plomer when the current cooperates.

The good times are rolling for bream anglers in Camden Haven this week. Both baits and lures are working a treat, and with the water clearing up, bream are active from the breakwalls all the way to Queens Lake. Flathead fans are also in luck, with a variety of baits and lures enticing these tasty fish. The news is good for luderick anglers too, as fishing at the breakwalls is steadily improving. If you’re hitting the beaches, Grants and Dunbogan offer a steady stream of bream and the occasional whiting. Tailor are keeping things interesting, and a few early season salmon are starting to show up. While there’s no word on monster mulloway, there are plenty of school-sized fish cruising around Lake Cathie and North Haven.

Rock anglers are rejoicing with a surge in drummer numbers over the past week. While popular spots from Port Macquarie to Seal Rocks are productive, but consider exploring the local ledges. These hidden gems offer great fishing in both calm and rough conditions, and often see less fishing pressure. Offshore fishing has transitioned to target bottom feeders. Snapper fishing is particularly promising, with some impressive catches reported, including fish up to 9 kilos. Baits are currently the most effective method, but lures are expected to take centre stage as winter approaches. Keep an eye out for pearl perch, kingfish, and bar cod on the deeper reefs as well.

The Macleay is firing this week, with excellent fishing opportunities across the region. Tailor are a consistent catch off the rocks, with fish present on most headlands. While most are smaller fish, some exceeding 2 kilos have been caught. Drummer numbers are also good, with excellent reports from Hat Head and increasing numbers around the South West Rocks ledges. Flathead fishing in the river remains outstanding, with fish available throughout the area downstream of Jersey. Luderick fishing off the breakwalls has picked up, with some nice catches around a kilo reported. Bream are also active off the breakwalls and in Back Creek, with evenings offering the best results. For mulloway enthusiasts, larger fish have been elusive, but plenty of school-sized fish up to a metre have been caught between the walls and in deeper upstream locations. Offshore, the reefs have been very productive, offering a variety of catches. Snapper and pearl perch are common in depths of 30 to 50 meters off both Grassy and Crescent Head. Kingfish numbers are strong, with fish up to 8 kilos caught in various locations. Even further offshore, anglers with suitable equipment have enjoyed success targeting bar cod and blue eye trevalla. As a reminder, the FAD will be removed in the coming days for its annual winter maintenance.

This week’s fishing photo is of Port Macquarie local Ricky Adorini with a tasty blue eye trevalla he caught deep drop fishing last Friday off Lake Cathie.

14/5/24

The past week brought a soaking that drenched the Mid North Coast, but for us anglers, a sprinkle or two is part of the deal, and good for the waterways in the long run, some extended sunshine would be a welcome catch. The forecast for the remainder of May continues to be a wet one.

The Hastings River has seen a fair amount of rain this past week, stirring up the estuary and causing the water to turn brown. This temporary lack of clarity will shift most fishing action towards the lower reaches of the river, closer to the mouth, until things clear up.

The good news is that the bream fishing has been fantastic and is expected to stay strong for weeks to come. Before the rainfall, anglers were having great success with soft vibe lures during the day. Bait anglers have also been doing well, with mullet strips producing solid catches both day and night. Like bream, flathead fishing in the lower Hastings has been excellent. Lure anglers of all preferences have enjoyed success, while bait anglers have done well with whitebait and prawns. The recent freshwater influx might not trigger a surge in mulloway activity, but some big fish (over 20 kilos!) have been caught around the coal wharf. The rock fishing scene remains dominated by tailor, with some fantastic catches reported from most local ledges. This hot streak extends to both Port Macquarie itself and surrounding areas like Plomer and further north. For these impressive catches, garfish and large lures have proven to be the most effective baits. While not quite as abundant as the tailor, drummer numbers are showing signs of improvement. 

On the beaches, bream numbers also remain solid on most beaches. Evening sessions have been producing the better class of fish on either pilchards or slab baits. North Beach and Lighthouse have also held some solid bream and the odd whiting, with worms and pipis seeing good results.  Venturing offshore offers a mixed bag of potential catches. For those willing to explore a bit south, inshore reefs around the Lighthouse and nearby areas have seen occasional appearances of cobia, spanish mackerel, and even the odd tuna. Closer to shore, trolling enthusiasts can target plentiful bonito and tailor. The bottom fishing scene hasn’t disappointed either, with some lucky anglers reeling in nice snapper and pearl perch. 

Further south this week, Diamond Head ledges have seen a few nice catches of tailor, with some fish reaching up to two and a half kilograms.  For those looking for variety, most headlands offer the chance to catch bream and luderick, though the numbers may vary depending on the specific location. On the beaches school mulloway have been active, with 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. Lake Cathie is well and truly open, hopefully in a couple of weeks the water clears up and we see a late season of luderick fishing. Offshore anglers, snapper reports have been promising this past week, with some terrific fish up to five kilos being caught. Baits have been the more productive method lately, but lures are expected to become more effective as winter approaches. In addition to snapper, there have been reports of some terrific pearl perch and even a few decent kingfish from the deeper reefs.

The Macleay River is showing promise for luderick enthusiasts! Numbers have picked up over the last week, with some nice catches reported from the break walls and other spots in the lower reaches. If you can find some green weed, it’s a great bait option, but weed flies and cabbage have also been proving successful. The good news continues for bream fishermen, as consistent catches are coming from both the break walls and Back Creek. Evening sessions seem to be the most productive for larger bream. Mullet strips are a top bait choice, but simply using mullet itself has also been effective.

This week’s photo is of Ben Hill with a blue-eye trevalla he caught off Port Macquarie on a Bay Explorer Marine deep drop rig.

24/4/24

The autumn rains have arrived, and more are on the way later this month. But fear not, anglers! This weekend (Saturday and Sunday) looks like a golden opportunity to get out and cast a line before the next weather event.

The Hastings River hasn’t stopped producing great catches despite the recent rains. Flathead fishing is still fantastic, with live herring and soft plastics being the go-to baits. Even in the dirty water, many local anglers are catching good bags of luderick around the CBD wharfs. Further upstream, bream are still plentiful, with both bait and lures proving effective. The recent freshwater flow attracted many mulloway anglers, and some lucky ones landed a couple of decent fish off the break walls, while others found success with school-sized mulloway further up river. The continuing big swells haven’t been kind to the local beaches, causing some erosion. But for those who braved the conditions, there were rewards. Anglers scored some impressive bream using pipis and mullet strips. Tailor fishing has also picked up steam, with some quality catches reported. Offshore conditions haven’t been ideal lately, but this weekend’s forecast promises calmer seas. Snapper and pearl perch fishing has been good, especially off Point Plomer, but be aware of strong currents that have been present. For pelagic fishing, there have been scattered reports of mackerel further north. Once the wet weather eases, keep an eye out for mackerel catches further south. The season for deep drop fishing is beginning, but reports are needed to see if the strong currents have subsided.

The Camden Haven River has seen a slowdown in luderick catches this week. However, some anglers managed to snag nice fish near the breakwalls using cabbage and green weed flies before the recent rains. Off the rocks, tailor numbers are holding steady for the season, but rough conditions have made accessing many rocky ledges unsafe. Bream and luderick fishing remains consistent in the more sheltered areas around Crowdy. Drummer is another option to target once this swell subsides, especially in areas with washouts.

Big flathead are still cruising the Macleay River, live bait and soft plastics remain the best bet. Rough weather this week kept offshore reports under wraps, but the forecast for this weekend looks like a dream. Get ready for a burst of fishing action both inshore and offshore this weekend.

This week’s angler is Blair Carroll. He speared this impressive Spanish mackerel, all while keeping an eye out for sharks.

24/3/24

Camden Haven has something for every angler this week! The river boasts impressive flathead catches, while the occasional school of mulloway tempts anglers near the break walls. Beaches around Bonny Hills and Dunbogan are schooling with bream and tailor, especially in protected areas where beach worms work wonders. Rock fishing offers a chance to snag some tailor or school mulloway, and venturing further south towards Crowdy Head might reward you with drummer. Remember, calmer mornings before the wind picks up are your best bet. Offshore reports, though not specific to Camden Haven, mention decent catches of snapper, pearl perch, and kingfish off Crowdy Head and around Lake Cathie reefs further north.

In the Hastings River this week, bream fishing in the river is fantastic since recent rainfall. Luderick numbers are improving, responding well to flies near the break walls. Flathead remain plentiful upstream, while the whiting season winds down with a few late catches possible. The future looks bright for mulloway with healthy juvenile populations, and the abundance of mullet downstream suggests larger fish might be on their way. Mud crabs are active but be mindful of trap theft reports. The beach scene is just as exciting! Bream are plentiful across all stretches of sand, with pipis and mullet strips proving effective bait. Beach worm enthusiasts can still score some nice whiting and noticeable increase in tailor numbers, particularly south of Port Macquarie, with anglers reporting catches of good quality fish. Rock fishing is hot too! Tailor are still going strong with catches around two kilos reported from most headlands. Surface poppers and garfish lures are enticing the bigger ones. Drummer season is ramping up nicely, with numbers expected to surge as the water cools down. Bream and luderick are also fishing well off the rocks, Plomer Point to the north being the most productive spot. Offshore conditions remain challenging. Persistent swells and a shallowing bar make crossing hazardous, especially on the outgoing tide. Safety should always be the priority. For those who braved the conditions, reports indicate elusive mackerel near shore due to dirty water. However, Barries Bay offered some cobia catches through the week. Further out, the FAD held juvenile and larger mahi mahi, while bottom fishing near shore produced a steady stream of snapper on both bait and lures.

South West Rocks has been buzzing with fishing activity during the school holidays! Boat ramps and popular spots have seen plenty of local and visiting anglers. Just before the recent rainfall, rock fishing enthusiasts had some success with pelagic catches off the headlands. The Macleay River also delivered a couple of exciting cobia catches near the breakwall, along with some kingfish. However, be aware of the challenging bar conditions. There have been incidents reported weekly, so prioritise safety and avoid venturing out to sea if unsure.

This week’s angler is Brice Hayward. He caught this wahoo recently off the Mid North Coast.

21/2/24

With the end of summer near and southerly winds becoming more common I expect the upcoming autumn fishing season to be a cracker with hopefully plenty of opportunities to head out for a fish. 

In the Hastings region this week for anglers looking to fish off the beaches this week, a few local and visitor anglers experienced some terrific action on our coastline during the week. North Shore beach produced good numbers of bream and whiting throughout the day along with a few decent sized tailor throughout the evenings. Off the rocks, bream numbers have been excellent around the Lighthouse and Shelly beach. No real news on the land-based game fishing front, however the enthusiasts are a most secretive bunch who go to great lengths to keep results to themselves. Any time from now on will be worth a look, I would try fish around our northern ledges. In the river, bream numbers have been consistent off the break walls with quite a few bag limit catches reported. Offshore, mackerel fever is spreading with Plomer Bay starting to produce the odd mackerel along with cobia and mack tuna, but most fish were taken by a few larger sharks hanging around the area. For fishing out wider, the FADs have been a little hit and miss although the mahi mahi that have been caught have generally been of good size.

In the Camden Haven River this week some terrific sized flathead were caught by local anglers. Mulloway remain sporadic although a few school sized fish continue to be encountered around the river mouth off both break walls. On the beaches bream and tailor numbers have been excellent off both Bonny Hills and Dunbogan in the protected corners with beach worms being the best bait. Fishing off the rocks this week saw a few nice tailor and school mulloway caught by anglers. Those venturing down toward Crowdy Head have also been finding a few drummer and the odd snapper. Over the weekend I would try fish early in the mornings on sunrise before the wind picks up. For offshore fishing, I received a few reports of decent snapper, pearl perch and kingfish off Crowdy Head and Laurieton reefs.

Further north in the Macleay River region the river continues to produce great sized flathead for anglers targeting those larger record fish. Live bait and soft plastics working well. The pelagic scene during the week produced a few nice mackerel off the Gaol and Grassy.  The FADs were a bit hit and miss this week with one day holding nice larger sized mahi mahi and the next day anglers seeing no fish. The weekend forecast looks fantastic, and I would expect to see plenty of fishing action offshore and in the river. 

This week’s photo is Rick Adorini with a great bass groper and blue-eye trevalla he recently caught off Port Macquarie on a Bay Explorer deep drop fishing rig.

12/1/24

The offshore scene is the talk of the town as is usual at this time of year, the Port Macquarie Garmin Golden Lure has been the focus for the week. To date catches have been hot and cold, with the odd black marlin in close, a few sharks, whilst wider out has produced good numbers of striped marlin and mahi mahi. Fingers crossed the final days of competition will see better levels of action. 

For Port Macquarie anglers, for fishing off the rocks reports have ranged from poor to encouraging depending upon where and when you went. In general, Point Plomer has been holding some nice luderick and a reasonable scattering of tailor, whilst Oxley and Lighthouse Beach have both produced bream. With warm currents now close in, and lots of flooding up the coast in Queensland, look for an early start to our land-based game season. Whilst in the river, whiting numbers have picked up noticeably with Limeburners well worth a look. Live worms remain the bait of choice, however those who prefer to throw surface lures have also again enjoyed success. Flathead catches also remain excellent, with the stretch from Settlement Point up to Rawdon Island producing great results on both live-bait and lures. On the bream front, the break walls are still worth a look with mullet fillets, mullet gut or brined prawns your best bets. For crabbing enthusiasts, muddies have been indecisive in the lower reaches although some nice blue swimmers have been found around Pelican Island and on the weed beds in the main channel.

Further south on the beaches, despite this time of year not generally being rated highly, some reasonable action has been enjoyed by visiting and local anglers. The stretches of sand around Lake Cathie have produced good numbers of bream and flathead. The beaches around the Camden Haven area seem to be holding a few tailor, with both pilchards and metal lures doing the job. The LUSC Family Fishing Bonanza was held last weekend, with challenging conditions there were still some great fish weighed in by competitors. Sarah Hutchison won the Bay Explorer Marine Services biggest bream ‘catch n release’ with a 385mm bream. Well done, Sarah. 

In the Macleay River region, there has hardly been a vacant parking spot at the boat ramps with local and visitor anglers spending as much time as they can on the local waterways. In the river the break walls have been producing great numbers of mangrove jack, bream and flathead. Whiting have been popular further upstream on the sand flats on hightide. For offshore anglers, we did see a run of mackerel last week, but it seems to have all gone a little quiet now. The South West Rocks and Hat Head FADs continue to produce nice feeds of mahi mahi for anglers, so far it has been a fantastic year for mahi mahi.  

This week’s photo is of Brock Farlow with an 18.2kg Mahi Mahi he caught on boat ‘Backlash II’ in the Port Macquarie Garmin Golden Lure.