Prime time on the lake
  |  First Published: December 2010

I don’t really make New Year resolutions but with my new job allowing me weekends off, I plan on doing a lot more fishing this year.

The next few months are a great time to fish in Lake Macquarie, also giving people a chance to christen all those new fishing toys they got for Christmas.

When people get into soft plastics, they can sometimes get a bit confused with all the different gear on the market. There are rods for this type of fishing, reels for that, then you have to decide on what line to use, lures and jig heads and so on.

Once they choose what they want, it is a matter of getting out and giving it a go. Some are instantly successful while others take a lot longer to figure it out. Persist and the rewards will come.

I got my first jewie on soft plastic a little over a year ago but I had to persist to catch it. You hear tackle shop staff say that once you get your first fish on plastics, it becomes much easier.

This is very true and I have found this with jewie fishing. For jewies on plastics, January is the month to be out there.

The lake seems to be full of them at the moment and early mornings and late afternoons are the best times to work those lures.

One of the better spots is around the Dropover and out to the yacht marker on an incoming tide. Be there before the sun comes up (and before all the boat traffic) or just on dusk.

Don’t be afraid to move around. If the tide is roaring in, head over towards Coil Point in the deeper water and wait for the top of the tide and then move closer to the Dropover.

If there are too many boats there, then try the Trench at Valentine, Green Point or head down towards Wangi.

All these places have jewfish and also good supplies of squid and chopper tailor for the jewies to feed on.


I was out early the other morning and wanted to try my usual spots but there were too many boats so I headed down to Crangan Bay, where there was not a boat to be seen.

Sure enough, there were jew there and a couple ended up in my esky.

I always used only 5” and 7” Gulp Jerk Shads and I still use them in deeper, faster water. But in different areas I am having great success with 3” and 4” Pogies.

And I wouldn’t have thought small metal blades would work until I saw others using them and gave them a go. The Berkley Big Eye blades with Owner Trebles have caught me a few nice fish now.

My point is, persist with targeting one fish and don’t be afraid to try different areas and lures.

The lake is holding truckloads of whiting at the moment and they’re chasing surface lures around the sand flats. Try the Berkley 3B crankbaits, River 2 Sea Bubble Pops, Lucky Craft Sammy 65s and similar.

The sand Islands near the Dropover and Coon Island Caravan Park, Swan Bay, Salts Bay, Black Neds Bay and the channel are all good places to try for whiting on lures or live blood or tube worms.

Bream anglers will have success in these same spots with bait or lures.

The 2” Berkley Shrimp in banana prawn and 2” Sandworm in camo work well on whiting and bream. Remember to match the jig head weight to the depth of water and current flow.

Around this time last year we saw big schools of tailor blowing up in the lake but there aren’t many around now. There are thousands of little choppers but not the good-sized fish of 2010.

If they do turn up then troll deep-divers from the Dropover to Wangi and back up to Coil Point or keep a spare rod with a metal lure rigged because a school might surface and you want to cast to them quickly because they don’t tend to hang around long.


Kingies should be cruising around with Swansea Bridge and the Dropover the leading places to try.

Some boats have success slowly trolling live squid on downriggers and others anchor and feed out live or fresh bait with the current.

The most exciting way is to cast poppers. We have had good popper results at the Dropover on the very top of the tide before it starts running out. Other places to try are Moon Island and down towards Catherine Hill Bay.

They aren’t overly large kings – rats mainly – but my new Venom Copperhead rod should get a nice workout.

There should also be plenty of bonito about with the warm water so if you have no joy with the kingies, bonnies should provide fun on light gear.

The beaches are holding whiting, flathead and bream with Blacksmiths Beach and the adjoining breakwall worth trying for tailor early mornings and evenings.

With a few tailor around, the jewies won’t be far behind.

For those heading out wide, if the water temps are high enough then there will be a few mahi mahi around the FAD but don’t forget to have a quick cast out near the ships – each one is a big FAD.

Remember that waterways and the police will be out in force, particularly around the long weekend, so play it safe out on the water.

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