Clearing up at last
  |  First Published: August 2001

No use complaining about things you have no control over. So I won’t say anything about the east coast low-pressure system that wreaked havoc on our area recently; I just hope it doesn’t happen again for some time.

August is generally a good time of year for fishing in the Hastings region with plenty of options and a variety of different angling approaches.

If you like fishing from the shore, the estuary has plenty of options.

The primary species targeted in the river this month will be luderick, bream and flathead.

Most rock walls will be a hive of activity as the luderick cruise into the rivers and anglers line up to soak some weed and catch a feed. After the rain the weed should be on hand to collect, although peeled prawns and yabbies may also prove irresistible to luderick.

Prime bankside spots on the Hastings will be along the southern Coal Wall, the north end of Miners Beach and around Nobbies Headland. Those fishing the Camden Haven will do well at Henry Kendall Reserve on Stingray Creek.

Anglers chasing bream with bait will do best after dark along the coal walls with Settlement Point Road a great spot to land quality bream.

Whitebait, mullet slabs and pilchards should be fished as light as the conditions allow.

For a feed of lizards from the bank head to Blackmans Point, fish the bottom of the tide change and try to both sides of the point. The Hastings River side is the best spot for larger fish.

Live bait will be hard to beat, but 3” to 5” soft plastics on 1/8oz to 1/4oz jig heads will also do well.


Offshore action should be interesting this month, with inshore reefs good to snare decent snapper.

A few years back I would have said you needed live baits and squid to snare big reds and I’m sure there are some anglers out there who still do this and catch decent fish. But many snapper anglers have changed to soft plastics.

This month we should see reds caught off Lighthouse Beach, Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills.

Let’s just hope the leatherjackets aren’t too thick. If they are, put on some wire trace, use small hooks and at least take home a feed of jackets.

If you have a boat or kayak and would like a spot of estuary action, make the most of the Winter sun and go hunting lizards.

This time of year they are in the shallows and the best way of getting them is to set up a drift along a drop-off and cast your arm off.

You need to put the lure in front of the fish at this time of year because they seem to be more opportunistic feeders than hunters. But it’s easy to find a patch of fish around 40cm and they make great tucker.

Best spots will be along the edges of Pelican Island and the flats around the mouth of the Maria River. On the Camden Haven the flats at North Haven and the shallow banks of Stingray Creek work well.

In August I like to downsize my plastics for flathead on the flats and fish 3” plastics on 1/8oz jig heads. I find they are more prone to suck in a tasty morsel than to swallow a 4” or 5” four-course plastic meal.

Those chasing bream from boats will do well along the coal walls. Fish will be schooled along the walls ready to go to sea or just returned from spawning.

Fresh bait, especially slabs of mullet or bonito, will yield good results after dark.

Vibes and soft plastics worked deep along the walls are also the way to go. When fishing in 20’ to 30’ I go as light as possible. I generally start with a 1/12oz jig head for plastics and go lighter if I reach bottom quickly and heavier if I struggle to get there.

I like to cast as close to the wall as possible and work down the wall to the bottom. It’s amazing how many times a fish will snaffle a plastic on the way down and then swim back up the wall.

Vibes can be fished the same way but you need to be more attuned to the slope of the wall or you’ll get snagged. I like to deadstick my vibes on the bottom and shake them.

Smearing them with scent is also a good way of increasing the hook-up rate.

Also try parallel casting with vibes to give the lure more time in the strike zone. This works exceptionally well when you have found active fish schooled along a wall.


Rockhoppers this month will be out after some bruising encounters with drummer. Only problem will be collecting cunjevoi after the hammering our coast has copped. So peeled prawns and some fish oil and breadcrumb berley could be on the cards to drum up some pigs.

Best places this month will be around Point Perpendicular, Grants Head and Tacking Point Lighthouse.

Bream and tailor will also be found off the rocks, especially at first light.

Mulloway have been in plague numbers lately. Most fish have been caught using plastics but quality fish have been taken from the walls using hardbodies and the beach guys have been doing well just on dark with worms.

With westerly winds this month the rock conditions should be great, but always remember to watch your intended fishing location for some time before setting up for your session to ensure you stay dry and safe.

Beach action should be great. North beach has had some great gutters where quality bream and mulloway have been landed on worms. Lighthouse Beach should also be good and Dunbogan Beach is well worth a try for mulloway and bream.

Salmon will be definitely on the cards.

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