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Tailor by the tonne
  |  First Published: April 2012



We have that much rain and bad weather that we’re finding it hard to pick what days to get out and have a go at the fish. It might be easier to pick the Lotto numbers.

Let’s hope this month we don’t see as much rain. The long term forecast says it’s going to clear a little, so fingers crossed.

The Hunter River is often like a brown soup and on any given day the water spills out into the warm ocean current, and turning the usually deep blue ocean into rainbow colours. It’s a funny sight.

All in all, though, the fish still seem to manage and things have been quite good.

Tailor schools have taken up residence right at the Hunter River mouth and along Stockton Bight. Tailor will crunch pilchards, lures and almost anything if there are enough in the school; it’s all about competition.

Lake Macquarie also has tailor moving round hassling schools of baitfish. The number of birds hovering over a school near Warners Bay was a sight for sore eyes. I haven’t seen tailor so thick in the lake for years.

The beach fishing has been the saviour for many anglers for the past few months. School jewfish, whiting, flathead and bream have been in the deep holes and close gutters.

Schools of garfish working in close have attracted a lot of hangers-on. Bonito and tailor were under a big gar school next to the Sygna wreck on Stockton, you could see them jumping smashing into the schools of very flighty fish.

Unfortunately they were just out of casting range from the beach.

Whiting have been taken all along the coast from Stockton down to Redhead. I expect this may be the last month for them before Winter so if you want to get into them this is your last chance. Worms, pipis and peeled prawns do the best job.

Even though there has been plenty of dirty water around I haven’t heard of a lot of jewfish coming in. It’s usually the best time to target them in the Hunter and I am at a loss to explain what has happened.

Maybe they are holed up on the close reefs waiting for a little salinity to pick up in the river before they head back. Once they do, look out – they should be thick and hungry.

OFFSHORE HOT

Offshore fishing has been hot. Game fish have been everywhere, especially off Swansea, where game boats have been returning flying many tag and release flags.

They have been catching two or three marlin a day, some big mahi mahi and a few cobia for the boats out on the deeper reefs.

Snapper have been taken on The Farm reef wide of Newcastle and a lot of boats have caught reds from the deep reefs in the Bight such as The Marbles and Pine No 2.

The blue swimmer crab season has been a huge flop. With all the rivers and creeks so dirty, it wasn’t worth a shot.

If the water clears in time April could be great. With very few anglers able to crab for nearly the whole Summer, the blueys could well be around in extraordinary numbers so be prepared.

For the next month I would be watching for the estuaries to clear and keeping an eye on big schools of baitfish that will return – they will have predators following them.

Tailor will be a real drawcard again this month. They should be everywhere on the beaches, offshore and estuaries.

Trolling around the headlands for kingfish, bonito, the odd tuna and tailor should result in a few hook ups.

The Hunter River should get back to normal for jewfish, flathead and bream if the rain lets up.

Reads: 1903

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