Offshore kicks in
  |  First Published: April 2011

Traditionally the Hastings area has its best weather this month with the smallest variation between maximum and minimum temperatures in the country.

Let’s just hope I haven’t jinxed us all and we get mild days, little wind and no significant rain.

Offshore fishing will kick up a gear with snapper moving to the closer reefs to create havoc with bait schools.

Lightly weighted live baits will account for some monster reds. Cubed baits dropped to the bottom will get you some good plate-size fish and soft plastics will have you in the hunt for a variety of fish.

The broken reefs between the golf course and Lake Cathie will be a good starting point.

Flathead will also be lining up offshore this month with good catches already coming from the Flathead Grounds straight out from the Hastings bar.

This month they could well be in plague proportions but remember to take what you need, not your limit.

Recently I saw a few blokes cleaning enough flathead to feed an army. Each would have had their limit of 20 fish and unless they had a tribe of 10 or 15 kids who loved fish, I’m pretty sure they would have had full freezers.


Tailor and drummer will show up off the rocks this month.

Good-sized tailor have been reported north of Port Macquarie and should move to our beaches and rocks.

As always, tailor can be fiery or fickle, so get to your favourite spot early and be ready for the short window of opportunity at dawn and again at dusk.

Best locations this month will be North Beach, Dunbogan Beach, Grants Head and Tacking Point. Try pilchards or metal slabs.

For drummer, Grants Head and Point Perpendicular will be the prime locations. Drift baits of cunjevoi through a berley trail of bread mixed with sand and stuffed into the cunjevoi cases to get them interested.

Many species will be spread throughout the estuaries this month. Mullet will be schooling and where you find mullet you’ll find bream, flathead and mulloway.

If you can catch some mullet, you’ll have prime bait for these three species.

Bait fishing will be best at dawn, dusk and certainly after dark with the best spots the deep holes along the coal walls.

Mulloway have been in good numbers and we should see larger models this month rather than the schoolies.

If you’re chasing big flathead, swimming a live mullet from the breakwalls will be hard to beat.

Whiting numbers have been decent but this month they will decline. Best options will be early in the month around the new moon with prawns and yabbies fished close to drop-offs around the mouth of the Maria River, opposite the canal entrances and up around Dennis Bridge.

Luderick numbers should rise, with the run-in tide around Limeburners Creek and Stingray Creek on the Camden Haven the hot spots.


Bream anglers will be chasing fish all over the system with a lot of the fish that spent the Summer up-river moving downstream. Numbers will be found along the coal walls and on weed beds downstream from the Maria River.

But good numbers will still be in the upper reaches and ready to take surface lures.

A variety of tactics will be in order. On a recent outing Wayne Bale and I cracked a great pattern along a tree-lined bank.

We were casting surface lures to the shadows and getting some quality fish but at times some wouldn’t hook up. I then cast a shallow-diving lure behind Wayne’s surface lure that was getting repeatedly missed and in a couple of turns of the reel, I was on.

We repeated this pattern around half a dozen times in a 50m stretch, proving that even if one method is working well, it doesn’t hurt to mix it up for possibly even better results.

Cicada and prawn patterns will still be ideal bream lures this month, with unweighted plastics also worth a try thrown into shallow water, worked erratically and then paused. You should get interest while the lure is moving and solid hits on the pause.

When fishing this way remember to let the fish take the lure and then set the hook slowly. This will enable better hook-ups and it’s less likely to pull hooks.

Check out the Port Macquarie BREAM Classic this month and see some great anglers chasing bream from boats and kayaks and hear of their tactics at the weigh-in. Check out www.portbreamclassic.com.au for all the details.

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