Opportunities surface
  |  First Published: December 2011

The beauty of the warm weather coinciding with the Christmas holidays is that there is plenty of fishing action spread over a vast range of environments.

Whether it is up at the limits of the tidal tributaries, the weed beds of the lake or the ocean side, there is plenty of fishing activity to be had.

Even the freshwater scene from Gloucester to Nabiac is primed for those who want to take advantage of some quiet time.

The biggest and easiest drawcard in Wallis Lake is the flathead and as I said last month, they’re an easy target on bait and lures.

Bream, too, will be sniffing out a feed and the warmer water tends to stir up everything and encourage the whole system to come alive with activity, notwithstanding the throng of powerboats, jet skiers and paddlers.

The warm water creates and encourages a food chain in the tributaries from butter prawns right through to bull sharks and the timbered and snaggy shorelines are terrific places to throw surface lures for bream.

A rising tide first thing in the morning is best. A full tide can create difficulties getting the lure close enough to the bank or under mangrove overhang so a rising tide is ideal – it allows the fish to push up under cover but also allows you to skip or cast lures close to the cover.

There is a ‘two-foot rule’ with surface fishing for bream and bass (often it becomes a 2” rule) where if you don’t nail the cast and are within two feet of the target, you get nothing.

Often the bream are so close to the bank that unless the lure hits the exact edge, they won’t touch it.

Many of the banks the bream hide on are undercut, so they are actually lurking under the riverbank, hunting the 35mm prawns you occasionally see skipping along the surface before being consumed in a boil of water.


While on the subject of surface fishing, the whiting on surface lures thing is in full swing.

The schools that have gathered to spawn are highly aggressive and will chase down poppers or stickbaits without much encouragement.

Don’t be scared of ripping the lures across the surface, the whiting love a chase. I prefer the run-up tide over the sand flats around the bridge but I’ve also caught huge whiting up behind Yahoo Island and over the weed flats using the same technique targeting bream.

The whiting come up to the surface from reasonably deep water so everywhere is worth a prospective throw.

It’s no coincidence that the whiting aggregation is at the start of the prawn run. If you don’t get a chance to throw surface lures at them during the day a beach worm, yabby or soft plastic drifted on the run-out tide will produce all sizes of fish.

Under the bridge lights at night is a great way to pick up whiting, bream and the occasional school jew.

Lightly weighted baits are a good idea on the first of the run-out tide and lure anglers should try dead-sticking a soft plastic between the pylons.

The prawn run is indeed upon us and we will see loads of boats in Breckenridge Channel along Little Street with their lights and scoop nets.

Either side of the moon dark is best, and obviously a run-out tide is required.

Along with the prawns, the squid and blue swimmer crabs will be on the move so setting a crab net or two in the lake proper is a good idea.

Please resist dumping nets or pots in the channels because the tidal flow will take them away and they will end up causing a problem for boaters.

The restrictions for setting traps are well posted so for the sake of everyone, please adhere to instructions.


The beaches are fishing well with fresh bait and there are sufficient gutters scattered to provide a good chance of whiting, small bream, dart and school jew.

Early morning and evening are tailor times but don’t expect large fish; most that are being reported are 300g to 500g.

The school jew from the wall and the beaches are up to 5kg with the odd 8kg to 10kg fish making an appearance.

A bunch of beach worms or a big soft plastic are very workable options for the jewfish and live beach worms should be available from tackle stores and boat sheds.

To all the readers of NSW Fishing Monthly I hope you have a wonderfully happy and fishy Christmas. Take care and be safe while out on the water

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