Fishing pressure rises
  |  First Published: October 2010

Although the wind has been puffing in huge gusts from the south west to west for seemingly weeks, I love this time of year because I can fish in the sheltered bays and corners of the rivers and also because I can collect bait for the months ahead.

October is the time when most dust off their gear and start to head out fishing. The long weekend seems to trigger something; the kids have a few days off and families go camping or fishing.

This month you can head out to the inland dams and get into the freshwater fish, which start to move out of their lethargy.

I have been frequently referring to squid over the past three months and I suspect they are everywhere.

Big green eye squid have been in such numbers some anglers are returning with 10 or more and I know a lot of fishers are going out just to catch these tasty little morsels. The heads are great bait for jewfish, kingfish and trag; cut into smaller pieces they will take any number of other fish, especially when they are fresh. With the scent a fresh squid gives off, it’s no wonder they are such great bait.

Off Newcastle in close the waters are usually calm in October and the reefs have been holding good numbers of bream, tailor and school kingfish and I doubt things will change for a bit.

Recently my son and I hooked seven tailor while trolling along the Stockton Breakwall but we lost all seven. The two we lost right next to the boat were around 3kg.

I put the losses down to the deadly sharp hooks attached to the lures; I think we ripped them from their mouths. Apart from their sharp teeth, tailor have soft mouths.

We gave up and went bottom-bashing but with only three leatherjackets and two red morwong to show for our efforts, it just wasn’t our day.

Horseshoe Beach has been fishing well for bream. Maybe the stench of doggy do from this off-leash beach has something to do with it. The water drops off very sharply here to 20m and a good beach rod can reach the area.

In the Hunter River flathead are still an option and from now their numbers should increase. Flounder also have become a major part of the river fishery, try around and upstream of Mosquito Creek with fresh prawns on small long-shank hooks.

The flathead are taking soft plastics and deep divers in the middle of the river. If the bottom is, say, 20’ I pull a lure that reaches 15’and keep an eye on the sounder.

As it gets deeper or shallower, I change lures. Flathead take trolled lures but the trick is to go very slowly.


The Hunter, especially the northern channel, has been dotted with crab pots.

The depth of water the pots are in tells me they’re probably chasing blue swimmers, but this early in the season it’s wise to feel the weight of your catch because they could be what is known as Winter crabs, which are just shell.

A better option is to set some traps in the dirty water around Hexham for mud crabs, I have seen a lot brought back to the Sandgate boat ramp.

I did something a little different a few weeks ago, I got the canoe out and paddled down Iron Bark Creek.

I started at the Sandgate Wetlands Centre and ended the journey at the Hexham Wetland floodgates. It was a real eye opener. Talk about rubbish and old cars!

But I was surprised just how many fish were in the creek, mostly mullet (some up to 3kg) leaping out of my way in areas were little more than the width of a drain.

I saw some small bream and tailor but mostly huge mullet and eels. You can sure tell that the creek holds runoff from drains in the area, but if you wanted mullet for bait or to put in crab traps, you couldn’t go wrong with a small float and a bit of bread. You could fill a truck with the number that live in here.

The beaches have been quite good for tailor and the odd bream to about 1.5kg. The tailor are mixed together with salmon and you don’t know which you’ve hooked until it jumps.

Some of the salmon are huge and great sport on light gear. I saw a young kid with a smile from ear to ear walking up the track to Fullerton Cove with three huge salmon. It was a pity I didn’t have my camera with me, although I don’t think his smile would have fitted in even a wide-angle lens.

Speaking of which, I accidentally left my camera on the banks of Swansea Channel under the bridge. If any honest angler found it, they can hand it at the Swansea RSL Club.

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