It’s the best time
  |  First Published: February 2011

Now that everyone has gone home from their holidays, this is the best time to be seeking fish in your favourite places.

The Hunter River has plenty of big bream and flathead. Good numbers have been released, which is always worth hearing, too.

They’re taking soft plastics and hard-bodied lures from the Stockton wall to Tomago, up to the twin bridges at Raymond Terrace.

The live-bait brigade has told me they’re starting to get decent-sized jewfish from 10kg to 20kg off Nobbys and Stockton walls. It’s about time – the jewfish have taken a long break from being in the river or have been feeding on something else.

Offshore, sand flathead are in close around 40’ to 60’. They, along with jewfish, kingfish and tailor, have made up most bags.


Squid have been everywhere. I think they have been the drawcard for such good fishing. The squid have been so thick that they’ve even been following hooked fish back to the boat.

I have been using the new Jarvis Walker Razorback jigs with great results. They have a few hooks embedded in the back and hold on a lot better when retrieving.

At night the squid are around the more illuminated areas and I have been using the new jigs that light up automatically when they hit the water.

They have even been working in the deeper water, don’t ask me how they work, they’re just brilliant.

Whiting are in great numbers along the beaches. Anglers who can buy or catch beach worms are doing best but don’t despair, fresh peeled prawns are second best and you can buy them from any good shop that keeps a good rotation of their bait.

I get sick of pulling up at shops that have year-old packet of prawns that are half black for about $5.

Get some blue pilchards or arm yourself with chrome slices, the tailor have been feeding along the coast from about an hour before dark. If you see the birds working, it’s a good sign the choppers are about.


Mud crabs and blue swimmers are in good numbers so get the dillies or witch hats out. Mullet or frames from a previous catch should do the trick.

The more strategically placed the traps are, the more chance you’ll have of a feed. A good spot is over the Stockton side in the shallows in front of the Stockton Hospital, and around the wrecks just east of there.

Fisheries and Maritime vessels have been around a fair bit, as they usually are over Summer. They have picked up a few of my mates for spot checks for lifejackets flares and such.

Be polite and try to keep all the stuff you need onboard. These guys do cop flak from a lot of anglers but it’s their job. We need them to be there when things go wrong so be polite and they will usually follow suit.

If you have the boat to get there, The Farm Reef, the Southern Canyons and the Northern Canyons have been fishing well.

A mate shot out a few weeks ago and nailed hapuku and blue-eye trevalla on the bottom and trolled up two striped marlin.

So exciting was the fishing that he stayed too long and had to run back to Newcastle in some real bad sea.

This month I would be definitely taking the opportunity to seek tailor from the beaches or your favourite rock spots.

Offshore, chase mahi mahi, bonito and marlin trolling the shelf or the current lines, or for more sedate fishing ply the river casting to the multitudes of bream and flathead.

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