After a pretty dismal period of fishing of late, hopefully August is a time of change, triggering the typical winter species have kicked into gear and the fishing gets back to its normal self.
Bream are the big movers this month and they should be around in good numbers. They are dominating the catches especially along the beaches, with freshly collected sand worms and pipis the very best bait for the bream. A four-wheel-drive club tested this along Redhead Beach recently, with every pipi and sand worm angler in the party coming up trumps on good size bream, while all others using pilchards and squid got either salmon, shovel nose sharks and sting rays. Fresh is best!
Although the moon phases have been quite good, the jewfish have been very scarce on the beaches. There has been the odd tailor and salmon schools travelling along the beach but they were well offshore and could been seen cruising about and crunching the schools of whitebait. Schools of mullet are around in the afternoon, so the fish are around and with this much bait movement surely the fishing must pick up.
There have been more reports of good size luderick with schools spotted moving into the Hunter River. The best spot to target fish is the rockwall at Horseshoe Beach, which holds massive schools of luderick mostly due to the tidal edge that shows great growth of luderick green weed. Another great place is along the tidal rocks at Merewether. Its a bit daunting at first but once you have found a deep hole and set yourself up here the fishing is great.
Don’t forget if you have been berleying heavily with bread and weed large drummer and groper show up along these rocks, so have a decent rod handy if your luderick gear is getting smashed.
The rocks behind City Baths in Newcastle is another spot to try for the winter fish, and at times good size snapper can be caught especially when your berley trail is working properly. Crabs can be usually found around here also. Remember fresh rock crabs as bait don’t just take groper, a number of big snapper and oversize bream have been caught fishing this way.
Offshore the fishing has been quite inconsistent. Some anglers have reported great catches due to the mass schooling of garfish that have been moving up the coast, and other anglers haven’t had such a good time of it.
Off Newcastle Proper the reefs are holding a good number of school size kingfish, tailor, trag and the odd snapper in the afternoons. Squid have shown up so keep a rod handy with a jig on it or just drop it over and use the swell and rocking of the boat to do all the work for you. The heads of the squids make excellent fresh snapper and jewfish baits.
On the wider reefs kingfish, snapper, nannygai, and morwong have moved in for their winter stay. The current at this time of year can be a problem but if you get a good day then all should go great. Other days you have to move in closer so you don’t have to use a besser block to keep the bait down deep.
Drift or trolling along water colour changes and current lines at this time of year can be great especially if the currents are in close. Kingfish travel through in the cooler months and over the years this month has seen a lot of really big fish taken.
Lately the cooler waters offshore have held school size big-eye and yellowfin tuna. Wide current lines and green water isn’t always as desolate as it looks, and with the amount of garfish coming through all can change very quickly. Find the bait find the fish.
The estuaries have been quiet with luderick and bream being the main target. As this month powers along the water will cool and more tailor should show up. The tailor run just hasn’t been what it was the last few years but I am keeping my fingers crossed, as I know schools are holding up just south of us.
Salmon are entering the mouths of the channels and rivers and a chrome lure cast into them when feeding is all that is needed. Good sized salmon can be so much fun on light gear; they do cart wheels and pull like a steam train.
All in all this month I would be concentrating on casting lures in the estuaries for bream, trolling the walls and rocky points for tailor, trolling and casting at salmon around the mouths of estuaries and definitely chasing squid and garfish as either fresh bait for kingys and snapper, or just keep the garfish and squid for the barbecue – that wouldn’t be too bad either!Reads: 1850