Change your approach
  |  First Published: May 2012

With water temps dropping and a change of season upon us, for some fishos this all spells the end of their main targets, the Summer pelagic fish.

But for others, including me, May marks the beginning of some great fishing, especially for those who concentrate their efforts on Lake Macquarie.

The fish are always in the lake but at different times of the year you need to change your approach to suit the season.

Now that the colder weather is upon us there are good numbers of flathead to be caught in the deeper waters of the Lake.

There have been some great flatties coming from 20’-35’ depths. These fish are falling to baits drifted along the bottom and to 5” soft plastics jigged off the bottom.

I like to use a 3-5kg rod for this style of fishing, 4-6kg braid and a 6-8kg fluorocarbon leader.

If I’m using soft plastics then I ensure the jig heads are heavy enough ensure to get the lure bouncing on the bottom.

A few lucky anglers have managed some nice jewies as by-catch, which is not uncommon when working this deeper water.

Salmon continue to entertain plenty of anglers and Salts Bay is again proving to be the go to place for those chasing some great light tackle sport.

There are also plenty of salmon well into the lake, with fish caught as far south as Chain Valley Bay.

Solid bream are about in good numbers for those that have made the transition to cold-water methods.

Over the warmer months bream anglers succeed by working hard lures across the flats but at this time of year there are more productive ways to get into some quality bream.

Now is the time to start slowly working 2”-3” soft plastics in those bays that have cockle beds or rocky bottoms.

Start by working your lures at different depths until you find where the fish are, then concentrate your efforts in that section of the water column.

Lipless crankbaits are also very effective tools at this time of year and we have been pulling some great bream on slowly worked Cranka Vibes.

For those who prefer to target these bream with bait, the good news is there have been some nice bags coming from Salts Bay.

Anchor up and get a nice berley trail going. You will need to fight off the salmon but there are good bream among them.

Some guys are finding that night trips are producing more bream with fewer salmon (and boats) to contend with.


A few nice fish have been taken in recent weeks by fishos working the reefs. Plenty of plate-size reds have been in the mix along with good-sized tailor on the close reefs.

Pilchard halves and small squid have been doing the damage. The trick is to use as little lead as the conditions will allow.

If you’re still keen to try to get your pelagic fix there may still be some end-of-season mahi mahi lurking around the Swansea FAD but if they are there they won’t be for long, so make the most of any action you do find out there.

And just because you may find the mahi mahi on the chew that doesn’t mean you need to fill your quota every time. Take only a feed and you might just find there are more around for us all next time.

For those looking for some larger fish there is not a great deal happening out wide on the game front. There is still the odd striped marlin being tagged but long hours are required for each fish raised.

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