As I write this there’s already fog and damp grass in the early mornings to contend with and it’s really cold. I predict a long, wet, cold Winter, but that probably won’t put off the bream.
Reports of quality bream seem to have come in from everywhere; the beaches, inshore reefs, estuaries and rock walls.
Usually late March- early April is when the big bluenose models do their travelling, but I saw a bream close to 3kg at the Carrington boat ramp not long back. It was caught on a live poddy mullet was meant for a flathead or jewfish, so you never know what can happen when there’ a line in the water.
Hopefully once it’s mounted I can get a photo of it, it’s an incredible bream with the biggest chompers I have seen for a while.
Although the water has cooled, flathead have still be keen to take lures in the Hunter River and if you’re keen enough, a lot of sand flathead have been coming in by drifting pilchards along the 60’ to 80’ depths off Newcastle.
Some good fish have been taken even closer to the beach, along with flounder and pesky shovelnose sharks.
North Reef and the Marbles and Granite reefs have had school kingfish in plague numbers due to the garfish schools on the surface. Apparently salmon have been busting into them, sending them down where the kings are having a go too, so if you can get a gar down deep fast you should get some keeper kingfish for the barbecue.
Small snapper are also on the reefs. Cut up a garfish or use it whole and hang on, jewfish love them also. Not many fish don’t love garfish for a feed and the worst you can do is bring home a bucketful of garfish – crumbed or beer battered, they make for a great feed.
The beaches have started to fill with salmon, especially off Stockton, but there are some tailor swimming with them and anglers have been saying if you get a lure down deeper you can hook into them. Hard-bodied sinking lures are supposed to work best, or you can leave the chrome metals deep and jig them as another way of picking out the tailor.
As well as those bream, the estuaries are filling up with Winter luderick. They’re becoming thicker each year around Horseshoe Beach, not that a lot of diehard luderick anglers are complaining.
This month I will give you info on a spot where over the years I and a lot of other fishers have met with great success.
The mouth of Fullerton Cove – right across it on an outgoing tide – is one of the better places to be in Winter. This is a huge area and there’s room for plenty of boats
As the bream move out with the tide, float down half pilchards, whole royal red prawns or soft plastics. You will also pick up the odd big flathead.
Sound around on the southern side of the entrance and there are drop-offs to deep-cut channels that hold school jewfish at the right time of the tide and the moon.
There are mainly muddy and sandy areas out from the mouth with a few small reefs to look out for.
The rocks in front of the Newcastle baths are fishing well for bream but there have also been big groper and drummer. If you take the time to find a few red rock crabs you will be in with a better chance.
The rocks here have luderick weed everywhere so have a go in the holes there with some under a float. Berley the place heavily with bread and use heavy gear because it is snag city.
The drummer and groper can bury you in a second here. Braid or nylon of 30lb to 50lb is the regular stuff here, spooled on an Alvey with no give. This is how the guys in the know have been landing them, and they chuckle at anyone turning up with anything less.
If you want a bit of fun you can walk out to the end of the rock spits in front of Merewether Baths and toss chrome lures for the salmon that keep schooling along there. They seem to sit there in bigger numbers every time I look down from the hill.
The Merewether reefs and south to Redhead are fishing OK. This month you can expect red and blue morwong and small squire.
Just pray the leatherjackets don’t show up too early because these reefs get covered in small trevally and leatherjackets in Winter and it can be very frustrating looking at a sounder showing good fish below these pests.
But sometimes you can avoid them on the deeper reefs. The same goes when the sweep move in – head wider and you can find reefs that don’t hold them.
Jason Abell got this 44cm bream and a few others in a night session. Big bream have been common lately.Reads: 2550