The whiting are willing
  |  First Published: November 2008

The weather has certainly warmed up after what was being touted by those who have lived here longer than I as the coldest Winter in decades (I couldn’t agree, frankly). The locals moaned about the cold and wished the Autumn away, waiting for warm weather and warming water to grace our shores, and it has.

This month should mark the start of the spawning aggregations of large sand whiting in the lower estuary and if you haven’t had cast a popper at these often timid terrors, you have to do yourself the favour.

Shallow edges along the north side of Godwin Island and over the deeper channels around The Paddock are ideal spots to start. The ’ting respond well to a skitter retrieve and pauses with lures like the Lucky Craft Bevy prop, Sure Catch 50mm popper, Daiwa Zero Popper and the like.

It often takes a bit of teasing to get the whiting schools up near the surface early in November, but keep at it. Once a big whiting finally snatches your lure you’ll be wrapped.

Early morning, you may have a chopper tailor, bream or pike also getting in on the act but it’s all fishing.

Surface action on bream will start to heat up this month, too, with the high tide oyster racks well worth a probe.

The bream are continuing to move into the lake and make their way into the tributaries. Anglers fishing Darawank Park, on the Wallamba River, have been scoring fish around 38cm on bait.

It seems like the Wallamba has been dirty with rain run-off for the past 18months and hopefully this Summer the water will clear. It’s a terrific spot to fish with the kids, drifting for flathead or casting at the snags for bream.


Drift divers that have been doing the length of the breakwalls have told me that there are very few jew holding up on either side but there are bream and some big flathead sitting behind the sand humps in the channel.

The flathead are also available around the flats and drop-offs from the bridge back up the lake.

The big girls should also be making an appearance from now so do the right thing. Take a photo if you are lucky enough to catch one and release the big fish to hopefully spawn again. They are the future of our sport and I know it’s a trite saying but true, nevertheless.

The best thing about the spawning flathead is that if you find one fish of around 50cm or so there will be others in the same area. Big females may have half a dozen males bidding for their attention and I reckon the unlucky ones that miss out mating ‘comfort-eat’ your lure.

So if you pick up one fish in an area, pepper the spot; the likelihood is there are a few more willing fish.

Garfish and mullet are more prevalent in the lake at the moment and despite the fiddly rigs and bait/berley combination required to catch them, they are both good cut bait for bream in the lake or on the rocks and beaches.

The bigger gars are also great eating and come with their own kebab handle!

For those with a crab fetish there are a few muddies about and the blue swimmers should hit their stride toward the end of this month. Witches’ hats set in the lake along the weed drop-offs will turn a result.


Offshore anglers have benefited from a little warmer water with good flathead catches right along the coast. The leatherjackets have thinned a bit but the run of good snapper is waning somewhat.

A few pearl perch have been reported along with trag and chopper tailor. The marlin will be the focus of concentration over the next few months so I’ll keep you posted.

The rocks and beaches are OK, too. Some good whiting, dart and bream are drifting around in the holes and gutters that form along Seven Mile and Tuncurry beaches.

The rock fishos can expect bream, tailor, rat kings and even a few big pigs if they can get past the hordes of butterfish and toads.

A bit of berley will have the big sea gars milling in the wash and one of them set out live may encourage a cobia or other substantial critter.

All things considered, the early summer season is shaping up well and there is no reason not to get out and have a fish.

Reads: 1939

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