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Lake cobia beckon
  |  First Published: February 2011



The fishing in Lake Macquarie will be worthwhile this month. I hope that we will experience action similar to that my fishing dairy indicates we have had in the past couple of years.

The one fish I want to get in the lake this year is a cobia. They don’t get as big as they do north of here but nonetheless, it would be nice to get one here.

March is probably a better time to target them but with the water so warm in the lake now, there is a good chance of them being more prevalent.

I have seen a couple lately but I have not been prepared for them. I had only bream gear with me (isn’t that always the way?) so I will be making sure that I pack one bigger outfit when I head out from now on.

Most people have caught cobia while fishing for other species such as jew and big flathead with live bait, while the smaller ones have been caught while flicking soft plastics.

TACTICS

Cobia frequent spots like down around Myuna Bay, south west of Pulbah Island, Wangi Point, Swansea Bridge and not far from the Drop-Over. Your standard jewie outfit will be fine and you can either anchor or drift along.

I take out a rod set up with a couple of squid jigs above a 1oz jig head rigged with a 5” Gulp Jerk Shad and I let it bounce around on the bottom as I drift along, flicking plastics.

The number of squid that you catch this way is quite surprising, as is the frequency of getting a flathead on the bottom hook. Chopper tailor can be a pain at times, however.

While I drift along flicking plastics, I then might have a jewie rod rigged with fresh squid in the hope of getting a cobia, although so far it’s only worked on jew and one very large flathead.

A surprising number of jew remain around the lake and fresh squid works well for them.

I still find it hard to believe that small blades are responsible for so many jew but the majority of my fish have been caught on Berkley 3” Pogies. I guess it was by luck, really, as I mainly went smaller when chasing flathead and found that it was working well for jew.

The jewfish are best found early mornings and evenings in 9m to 10m of water and a run-in tide seems to be better in the lake.

The other popular targets this month are whiting and bream, particularly with surface lures. The new Berkley 3B lures are deadly in the shallows, especially early morning and late afternoon around the sand flats and shallows in places such as Salts Bay, off Coon Island Caravan Park, Green Point, Styles Point and Bolton Point.

The Pop Dog and Scum Dog are my pick but if there is a lot of surface weed, a Sub Dog will get just under the weed line. Best colours have been hooch, snoop, mongrel and barka.

Whatever lures you decide on, the surface fishing will be exciting this month.

If you prefer soft plastics, look no further than the Berkley 2” Shrimp in banana prawn and the 2” Sandworm in camo, still prolific bream and whiting slayers.

SQUID ABOUND

There are plenty of arrow squid in the lake now but there are also plenty of green-eyes out at the island. They aren’t as big as those caught in Winter but are a good size for a feed or a big bait.

Quality squid jigs will pay for themselves in no time. The obvious choice is Yo-Zuri but the Berkley PowerBait jigs have been just as successful as the more expensive ones. The 2.5 and 3 have been the better sizes.

Squid can be finicky at times, taking only one colour, but in my tackle box I have black/purple tiger, olive/pink, red lumo and pink/white for when the squid aren’t co-operating on the standard pink.

With the number of squid around, kingies will be out and about, particularly at the island and at Swansea Bridge. Some mornings at the bridge the water is almost black with ink as the kingies smash the squid.

Obviously, feeding a live squid back towards the bridge would be worthwhile, otherwise try casting big poppers. This is a good option, particularly those fishing from the shore.

At the top of the tide kingies will be around the Drop Over and the nearby yacht marker and poppers, fresh squid and trolling with down riggers have worked well.

OFFSHORE

Offshore, there should be mahi mahi around the FAD taking surface lures or smaller chromies on light gear. These fish won’t be that big so light gear will be a lot of fun.

Further out, marlin will be about and out past the continental shelf there have been reports of yellowfin tuna.

The rocks and beaches around Catherine Hill Bay have been producing tailor early mornings and late afternoons. Spinning with chromies has been a good method although a few are being caught at night off the end of Blacksmiths Breakwall on pilchards under floats with glow sticks attached.

Unfortunately we get a lot of visitors on Friday and Saturday nights who make a mess of the breakwall and keep many undersized fish.

Don’t take matters into your own hands, ring Fisheries. Yes, it will be a recorded message but if enough people do it, then they might start to have regular inspections at these times.

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