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All bases loaded
  |  First Published: December 2010



Warm weather, big tides and daylight saving – what else do you need in January? Time to go fishing!

Once you’ve found that, you’ll have great fun hooking into a variety of species. From deep sea to freshwater, everything is covered this month.

Offshore, tuna, mahi mahi and marlin are due to swim by. If the schools of slimy mackerel show up then the pelagics won’t be far away.

The bait ground north of the Hastings River bar will be the first point of call to collect livies, then heading north will be the best option.

Those wishing to do some bottom bouncing will have some good success off Shelly Beach and Petersons Reef, south-east of Tacking Point Lighthouse.

Snapper will still be around with big soft plastics, squid and live bait the go to snare quality fish.

Use your sounder to locate active fish and then drift over the fish with the bait or lures at the right depth.

Beach anglers will have mixed bags this month, with the primary target probably whiting.

Dunbogan Beach and Lake Cathie will be the best options with beach worms hard to beat as bait.

Bream, flathead and mulloway will be also about and don’t be surprised if a nice mulloway snaffles a worm intended for whiting.

ESTUARY

In the estuary, the lower reaches will be good for whiting, luderick and garfish and the upper reaches will hold bream and flathead.

Whiting will be on the flats and deep drop-offs and will be ready to take worms, yabbies and prawns.

Lure fishing for whiting will be red hot, with surface poppers and pencils the way to go. Get that non-stop blurting action and you’ll soon get drags screaming.

Lake Cathie could prove a good whiting spot this Summer if it opens to the sea. Good fish have been caught recently and prawn catches should improve in coming months.

If you’re into a feed of garfish, then just inside the mouth of Limeburners Creek is a top spot to spend an hour or so either side of the top of the tide.

A berley trail will get them interested and then peeled prawn pieces or bread will prove deadly baits.

This time of year, scattered weed beds are great spots to target flathead. I like to fish spots that have deep water nearby with the last of the run in and the start of the run out the best time.

At the top of the tide the fishing can slacken off a little but as soon as the water starts to drop, the lizards seem to go on the chew.

I like large prawn-pattern soft lures for Summer flathead, with the Atomic 3” Prong, 3” Berkley Shrimp and the Squidgy Lobby all worthwhile rigged on 1/8oz or 1/6oz jig heads. The heavier head makes long casts easy and the added weight ensures the lure stays in contact with the bottom and stirs the sand to attract the fish.

UPSTREAM

Bream will spread all over the system this month, with fish over the oyster leases, on the weed beds and in the snags up river.

If I’m chasing bream this month, I’ll opt for surface lures or unweighted plastics.

For me it’s all about watching the take and enjoying the battle. At this time of year you can get a lot of pesky little fish, but who cares when you keep catching them!

Now and then you can be rewarded with a thumper that’s been feeding up on prawns, cicadas and other insects.

An awesome way to spend a bream session this month is to head to Wauchope and fish King Creek and Sarahs Creek and head up to Bains Bridge.

Bass will also kick into gear in the Hastings this month, with the runs from Ellenborough, Hardys Plains and Koori Island proving good spots.

Surface lures in the half light and after dark are the best options, with blades and deep minnows working during the day.

No matter your fishing preference, this month the Hastings region has you covered.

Just remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap and be sensible on the water. Above all, take only what you need.

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