April is a big month around Port Stephens and we find that all species are firing.
This is the month for land-based game anglers as longtail tuna, cobia and kings swim past the various headlands feasting on the abundant baitfish that hug the wash zone.
Of course, Tomaree Headland will see the majority of fish and anglers and rightly so. Keep in mind that you have to be there early to gain a prime position and to grab your livies.
Also try Boat Harbour and One Mile Point – both carry fish.
It’s also the time to catch a few luderick and bream from the rocks as they begin their travels up the coast. With plenty of kelp beds and quiet water for the fish to feed in, Fingal and Boulder Bay are my favourite locations.
Be sure to gather the freshest weed possible for luderick and a berley trail of bread and sand always helps; don’t forget a few peeled prawns for the bream.
Dawn and dusk are the times for tailor. Cast an unweighted garfish or pilchard into the wash and it will be worth it, especially at spots like Boat Harbour and Fishermans Bay.
The beaches are filling up with travelling bream and any number of gutters from Stockton to Birubi will be worth fishing. Fresh baits such as mullet fillets or live worms will have the bream pouncing.
I prefer to go during the lower light periods because the fish hunt close to the shore break. You will also find some decent tailor and the odd jew mixed in.
One Mile Beach is also producing plenty of bream, especially towards Middle Rock. The mixture of rock and sand always seems to hold fish and don’t be surprised if you nail a decent flathead there, too.
This time of year is great in the estuary and it’s bream you want to target.
Lure fishing is probably the best way of nailing some decent fish and the rock walls from Soldiers Point to North Arm Cove and down to Tea Gardens will be loaded with schooling bream.
I suggest soft plastics on relatively light jig heads, from 1/16oz to 1/20oz. Plastic selection will be up to you but stick with Squidgies or Gulp.
Luderick will be in the same vicinity but unlike their ocean cousins, they will be a little harder to tempt.
Flathead are still about the sand flats during April and you will find the occasional crocodile willing to take bait or lure.
Offshore fishing is fantastic and I suggest targeting pelagics.
Big hoodlum kings are around Broughton Island and it’s just a matter of slowly trolling a live bonito or slimy mackerel to encourage a bite. Fish up to 24kg are coming out some very shallow water so it pays to fish heavy.
Using the same technique will also pay off on some touring cobia but be sure to use fluorocarbon leaders.
The reefs should produce some decent snapper and I would concentrate around reefs in 15m to 25m. Plastics will be effective but so too will a good berley trail and lightly weighted baits.
There is still plenty of action along the continental shelf because in April we always see plenty of striped marlin and blues either side of the drop-off.
Some days you see fish smashing bait along the surface, especially on those glassed-out days.
Keep an eye out for floating debris after recent floods – plenty of good mahi mahi will be hunting nearby.Reads: 1435