Plenty to play with
  |  First Published: December 2011

There has been some fantastic fishing all through the Hunter lately, with regular rains – sometimes too much – and with the water warming, the next few months should be perfect to get out there and fish.

Bonito, tailor, big bream, jewfish and a million flathead and whiting are already showing up. From what I have heard, it doesn’t really matter where you are, beach, estuary, river, lake or the feeder creeks, fish seem to be everywhere.

My son and I waded the Carrington sand flats for a great session on flathead. We walked the shore west of the boat ramp and were amazed at the numbers of poddy mullet.

We had two new Samaki rods to flick around were impressed the distance they cast.

My son had a bream well over 2kg follow his lure back and at the last minute it turned and disappeared into the deep, murky water. I can’t repeat the words he uttered, but they were funny.

The Stockton and Nobbys walls should be getting their usual influx of live-baiters seeking the big jewfish that normally show up at this time, although one angler apparently had a 6kg flathead grab his livie.

Bream and tailor are also coming off the walls and should be common this month. Afternoon is the best time.

Strips of yellowtail or fresh, lightly weighted prawns as the tide slows will produce fish. The tide races at a great rate of knots along both walls, so it’s a waiting game.

In the South and North channels of the Hunter River, blue swimmer crabs are showing up but do yourself a favour and lay your traps along the channel edges if you want to keep them. This is the time of year that prawn trawlers go back and forth, night and day, and they don’t see the trap floats until it’s too late.

Flathead are munching lures from the bridge up to around Fullerton Cove and beyond, as are bream. Flounder are worth a try drifting with small gear and fresh prawns.


The number of crab traps I have spotted in the past month in Lake Macquarie in front of Pippys restaurant at Speers Point has me wanting to get out there, the crabs must be pretty thick.

Offshore, kingfish and bonito have shown up for those willing to troll a few small skirts around out the front of Newcastle baths and Big Ben Reef.

Morwong, squire, and some decent bream have been available for those who anchor close to the reef.

Farther offshore, snapper around 3kg have kept fishos busy at Marbles Reef, the Pines, North Reef, the Dumping Ground, Redhead and Merewether. Some days the current can be a handful then the next time you go it’s fine, so you have to pick your days.


I was recently invited down to the NSW Maritime open day at Pelican to hear about the new lifejacket laws.

I can tell you there are a few teething problems relating to the inflatable PFDs.

The first is that some manufactures have had these jackets on their shelves for months and are then selling them out of date.

And to find out how to have one tested so that it’s legal is like driving around a roundabout 10 times and not knowing where to turn.

Some PFDs have tags for logging test dates, some haven’t. Some manufacturers seem to allow self-testing, others don’t.

Let’s hope we don’t get caught up in a fiasco of fines and being seen as not doing the right thing.

I will try to find out more later. Sometimes I think we need a university degree to go fishing!

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