Flat out like a lizard…
  |  First Published: November 2011

The early part of the new season is all about the gathering of small to medium flathead in the lower Wallis Lake and Paddock area.

The increasing numbers of male flathead are preparing for the large females that suddenly appear for spawning and attract the attention of aggressive smaller fish.

At any time, large females may have five or six males in close proximity or, if she is hungry, four or five males. Large females are not opposed to eating their suitors and while the focus is on spawning the fish are easy target s for a drifted pilchard bait, a soft plastic or a live poddy mullet.

With their deeper body profiles than minnow style plastics, shads are ideal. Paddletails like the Gulp Shaky shads, Ripple Mullet or the Squidgy Fish profiles are all great lures to be throwing around the drop-offs and weedy patches of the lower lake.

The increase in water temperature attracts a spike in the fishing activity and fish activity as well. The baitfish in the system increase enormously with hardyheads, poddy mullet and garfish scattering throughout the system.

The bulk of the bream and blackfish have, by now, returned to the lake and have taken up station around the vast oyster leases that make Wallis Lake such a challenging and vibrant fishery.

The shallows of the lake will have the small whiting sifting the sand and larger fish will be schooling in the ruts and channels of the tidal areas looking to spawn.


It is from now that the whiting are easiest on surface poppers and stickbaits. Don’t be scared to thrash the lures across the surface at speed and watch for the shadows of the fish as they take up the chase.

A good pair of polarised sunglasses is a must for this type of fishing and wherever possible, have the sun behind your back because this eliminates much of the glare.

The best drift run for the whiting on lures is on the run-in tide along the sand bar that forms Tuncurry Channel, then under the bridge and the pockets of deeper water before it drops into the channel.

Other great spots are the sand channels that feed up to the oyster sheds on Godwin Island.

As the nor’-easters get into their Summer pattern, the whiting will also filter out onto the beaches along with stray bream, flathead and the ever-present dart.

Sussing out beach formations is the key to finding the fish. Deep gutters or holes behind rocks at the end of beaches are good spots for prospecting for jewfish.

There should be a good run of school jew this month with reports of plenty down around Seal Rocks. Their movement northward should factor into catches around the headlands and beaches with a bit of formation to them.

The big tailor I was expecting last month were very patchy, though a few 3kg models were reported.

I couldn’t get the jew on soft plastic thing out of my activities to chance the tailor.

The breakwall still have school jew on it if you can spare the time. They are certainly not as thick as they have been but even I have been managing a couple each trip over a couple of hours.


The great thing about the breakwall is that it is the highway to the lake and you will see some incredible things if you fish it enough.

Last week I saw an eagle ray that was at least 3m across the wings (I didn’t know they grew that big) at my feet and it was on the surface with a tailing fish that looked suspiciously like a cobia.

The sight of green turtles, schools of common rays, dolphins with newborn calves and sharks always help past the casting hours away.

November is when the small hammerheads make an appearance and can have an unsettling affect on the bridge walkers. They are generally harmless but like to cruise Breckenridge Channel on the run in tide.

The Wallamba River should have cleared up enough to confidently fish for flathead and bream around the inside bends and snags of the river and the mud crabs will be coming on in strength soon, as will the blue swimmers on the lake’s weedy fringes.

The sad thing is, crab pot and net tampering can cause some angry moments and this puts people off setting them.

So if you see someone acting suspiciously or lifting more than their legal allowable numbers (one pot and five witches hats per person), take their boat registration and let Fisheries know.

It looks like a great month ahead and if you want a quiet fish before the school holiday crowds turn up and it all become a ‘Where’s Wally’ scene, do it this month!

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