Seize the (cold!) day
  |  First Published: July 2011

Sometimes we wish away the year waiting for the next season and not seizing the day instead of making the most of our opportunities and enjoying what is on offer right now.

Regardless of the cold, this is a wonderful time to enjoy some great fun catching quality fish.

Best options for estuary action this month will be in the lower reaches.

Prime in the Hastings River will be the deep water along the coal walls, but generally you can’t go wrong if you fish downstream of Dennis Bridge.

The bridge itself this month can fish extremely well for bream, flathead and mulloway.

If you chasing mulloway you can’t beat live poddy mullet, a soft shad-style lure or a Gulp 6” Sandworm. The best time will be the start of the run out tide.

If you’re bait fishing then position your boat close to the bridge pylons, drop your bait and drift slowly away keeping the bait as close to the bottom as possible.

Varying your drift and position each time can often help in locating where the fish are feeding. A good sounder can also help.

If you’re throwing plastics you need to position the boat just down river from the bridge pylons and cast lures back to the bridge and allow them to sink. Then drift away with the current, keeping the lure as close to the bottom as possible.

Large, jerky lifts of the rod tip will impart a decent action on the lure but the secret to enticing a take is the pause after working the lure. Dead-sticking the lure on the bottom can also do the trick.

Bream fishing will be at its best early in the morning, late in the day and into the night.

Already the bream are schooled on the coal walls and along the beaches.

It will be a matter of sifting through the small, juvenile fish to find the quality bream.

By far the best bait this month will be whitebait rigged on small ganged hooks. Fresh slab baits will also prove successful, especially off the beach.

As always, fish with little or no weight for best results. In the river try no weight on the top or bottom of the tide and lob your bait close to the bank, where the fish will more than likely be.

I’m still amazed at the number of people I see fishing from the bank who cast huge sinkers as far out as they possibly can. The majority of fish are holding close to structure almost under the shore anglers’ feet.


Lake Cathie has been a hive of activity since it was opened in April and has been very popular with all sorts of anglers.

Mulloway have been taken off the beach on the run-out tide and flathead have been abundant just inside the mouth.

Whiting have had a late run and still chasing surface lures, although this may fall off a little as the cool creeps in. They should still be a viable target species on worms if the lake stays open.

The big winners if the lake stays open will be the weed soakers and it could be shoulder to shoulder around the bridge on the run in tide with all and sundry looking for a feed of luderick.

Around three years ago Cathie was opened in similar circumstances and I only hope Fisheries enforce bag limits and look out for anglers who get their limit, go home to offload and come back for their limit again.

Unfortunately this type of fisher still exist and if you see them, then let them know you’re not happy. By all means ring fisheries at Port Macquarie on 02 5524 0600.

Off shore action has been hard to come by due to the rough seas, strong current and poor weather. Those who have managed to get out have done OK on snapper, pearl perch out wider and teraglin and salmon in closer.

These trends should continue this month, although snapper will move closer in and let’s just hope for a red July.

I have a friend obsessed with fishing. I know I go crazy if I don’t get out regularly but this guy climbs the walls if he doesn’t fish every day. In the short time we’ve been friends we have learnt a lot from each other.

I’m sure one thing I have instilled in him is the importance of cracking a pattern, analysing the use of lures and the times to use them.

He’s taken it to the next level to catch decent mulloway after dark on soft plastics from the rocks and beaches, and lots of them.

So take your fishing to the next level this July. Spend some time analysing and planning your trips. Share with friends and other anglers your thoughts and experiences and learn from each other to catch more fish.

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