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Unsettled weather
  |  First Published: February 2011



The weather has had an impact on our fishing and could do so for some time to come. Let’s hope the unsettled conditions end soon and some normal patterns return and our estuaries get back to some normality.

The Hastings River has reasonably clear water considering the freshes we have received, but a lot of fish holding structure and weed beds have taken a hiding and are struggling to grow back.

As a result, fishing has been considerably tougher at this time of year than previous years.

The lower reaches are proving good to target bream, whiting and flathead, with whitebait, worms and prawns fished after dark the best way to snare a decent feed.

If you’re land based then Settlement Point Road coal wall, Blackmans Point and Fernbank Creek Road will be good places to drift lightly weighted baits for bream.

For whiting or flathead you’ll need a tad more weight to get the bait to the bottom.

The best tide will be the last of the run in but generally if you have some run then you’ll get some action.

The Camden Haven has a different catchment and has missed the worst of the recent rain. It has fished considerably well from the upper reaches to the mouth.

Whiting have been in good numbers in the lower reaches on the flats with bait doing OK. Surface lures are proving the prime method for getting quality whiting.

While targeting fish like this in shallow water, be prepared for some impressive strikes because flathead have also been willing to chase down a prawn-style lure.

UPSTREAM

Further upstream, bream have been hunting in the snags around Ross Glen and Kendall, with surface lures and shallow-running hardbodies accounting for the majority of bream.

Fishing for bream in the snags comes down to three simple factors: The fish will feed better with good water movement, the lures need to be cast hard against the bank and tight to structure and under trees and finally, the only factor you can’t control, willing fish.

So it’s important to get all other aspects correct and be prepared to work hard for the fish and have lots of fun when they are on the chew.

I recently fished the upper Camden Haven and struggled until the tide started to flow. Then hard work turned into a rewarding session with lots of fish coming in a short time.

Beach fishing should be very good this month, with mulloway and whiting the dominant species. Search for depth changes and whitewater and you should encounter some quality fish.

Bait presentation is the key and quality live beach worms will be hard to beat.

Best locations will be Lighthouse Beach between the golf course and Lake Cathie and Dunbogan Beach.

Lake Cathie is also a viable option this month. With recent rain it’s as full as I’ve seen it and hopefully the Hastings Council will be forced to take action and open it to the sea.

If this happens then look out, it will be standing room only on the banks near the mouth and on the bridge and people flock to the lake to fish for bream, whiting and luderick.

Even if it’s not open, the lake still holds quality flathead and whiting. Prawns and yabbies are the best baits or you can troll hard lures or cast soft plastics.

OFFSHORE

Offshore fishing will definitely be improving with recent water temperatures rising. Good pelagic species should be on hand with marlin, tuna, mackerel and mahi mahi.

A stop on the bait ground north from the Hastings bar will be essential in securing quality live bait to give you every chance of catching quality fish.

Snapper have been hot and cold recently; it appears not to be the fishes’ fault, but the current.

This month we can only hope that the weather gods are kind to us and that we all get an opportunity to test our fishing skills. Stay safe, keep an eye on the weather and make the most of your opportunities.

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