I’m sitting outside on the deck enjoying fresh yellowfin tuna slivers dipped in a special sauce and drinking icy cold beers with a couple of mates after a good fishing session.
I’m up in Hat Head and apart from the impending strong wind warnings, life doesn’t get much better than this, although it has made us think about fishing back home.
Even though you have to go out a fair way to get things like yellowfin and marlin, at least in Lake Macquarie there is always somewhere to fish no matter what the weather and you are more than likely heading home with a feed of fish.
Going on a trip like this, you have to pack enough gear to be able to try different sorts of fishing in different places and I’m known for always taking too much with me.
At least at home I know what to take and I can keep it simple.
One or two good outfits are all that is really needed in the lake. I mainly go for flathead and jewies, occasionally throw poppers for kingies and, on a smaller scale, cast surface lures for whiting and bream.
And there are always squid to be had, those with green eyes out the front or arrow squid in the lake.
I think a lot of people underestimate how much fun squidding can be, especially when they take kids with them. The site of a big jet of ink hitting someone will keep them amused for hours and if there are numbers there, then they never get tired of catching them.
These days, squidding is becoming big business as the number of dedicated ‘egi’ rods and reels shows, as do the competitions that are starting to pop up around the country.
It wasn’t that long ago $20-plus for a squid jig was seen as madness, but with a lot of product development and testing, mainly out of Japan, people have seen the benefits of and realise they often work a lot better than the cheaper knock-off brands.
It won’t be long now before the water cools, the salmon come back and the bigger green eye squid are around the front of the island.
I’d start to get ready, because apart from the fresh tuna I’ve just eaten, freshly cooked squid is addictive tucker.
Lake Macquarie is fishing well for bream but the best time for quality fish is at night.
Slime weed can cause problems, though, so unweighted baits such as cut pilchards, mullet gut or mullet strips would be the pick. Try around Coal Point, Crangan Bay, Gwandalan and the Southern side of Pulbah Island. Use plenty of berley to attract and hold fish in the area.
Lure fishers can find it tough if the slime is around, but try shallow areas with the lightest jig heads you can, mainly on the flats around Murrays Beach, Summerland Point, Green Point over the cockles and Salts Bay.
Gulp 2” Shrimp in banana prawn are still the lures to use, although we have had some good success with 2” Minnow Grubs in peppered prawn colour.
The water is still plenty warm enough for surface lures and the Berkley 3B Pop Dogs have proven winners this season.
With the number of mullet about the moment, jewfish won’t be far behind.
The lake is still holding good numbers of smaller fish but the beaches and breakwalls will have the larger fish, especially once the mullet head out of the lake.
Two real options in the lake are bait fishing at night or using lures very early and late in the day.
However, we have caught mulloway in the middle of the day on soft plastics and blades.
I enjoy fishing either way but I do prefer lure fishing as it keeps you busy, you cover more area and it seems to be more of an accomplishment when you land a jewie on a lure.
I haven’t caught a really decent mulloway on a lure yet but I’m looking forward to the day I do because on light line I’m sure it will be a good fight.
The 5” and 7” Jerk Shads are good, as are Berkley Big Eye blades.
The Drop Over, Coil Point, the Trench at Valentine and the barge in Belmont Bay are all good places to start and these areas are also the spots to try with fresh squid and strip baits at night.
The best offering from beaches and breakwalls is fresh mullet, which is what the jewies will be targeting.
Tailor haven’t been about as much as I would have hoped but there are a few around. I have seen a few caught on deep-diving lures trolled around Pulbah Island and back up to Wangi and Coil Point.
Belmont Bay is always a good spot to try and as I always say, take some metal lures with you in case a school surfaces and you can cast to them quickly.
The tailor haven’t been big, although there have been reports of some nice fish over a kilo caught at night by people chasing jewies with fresh squid.
The beaches and rocks are worthwhile for throwing bigger chromies early mornings and late afternoons. Off Catherine Hill Bay there is also a good chance of a kingfish.
If the water stays as warm as it has been, around the FAD off Swansea there will be mahi mahi on trolled small skirted lures. There also have been reports of fish out at The Farm with live baits getting the bigger specimens.
In closer there are plenty of flathead on the drift over the gravel.
Redhead and Dudley have some good numbers of trag and some pan-sized squire. There are a lot of smaller squire here but there are some good-sized keepers as well.
Have yourselves and good month and be careful out on the water and the roads over the Easter break.Reads: 3366