Thaw out with flatties
  |  First Published: September 2012

It’s time to defrost and enjoy some great weather and some great fishing.

I love to chase dusky flathead in the estuary during Spring. As the water warms to above 18° duskies start to get active, their feeding patterns become more aggressive and they begin to aggregate for spawning.

In early Spring I like to fish the upper reaches of the Port. Tilligerry Creek and the Karuah River are probably the most productive and offer plenty of structure for lizards, with mangrove-lined flats, rock walls and oyster racks.

Fishing the flats at high tide with smaller hard-bodied lures is the most effective way of finding lizards.

As the tide drops, switch to soft plastics and concentrate your efforts around the rocky drop-offs.

The lower half of the bay around Soldiers Point to Corlette will also produce the odd Spring flathead. Whitebait or pilchards on ganged hooks slowly rolled just above the bottom will excite any dusky.

Bream are still hanging around the lower half of the system as well and there are some real crackers being caught from the breakwall on the outside of the Nelson Bay Marina.

Targeting them is simple: Just use a lightly weighted peeled endeavour prawn allowed to drift down the edge of rocks on an incoming tide.

Luderick can still be caught in the same location but the numbers are thinning and you really have to fish the tide changes for success.

If you’re after some excitement, have handy a light spin outfit armed with a small metal lure of around 10g and target the large schools of salmon cruising between Shoal Bay and Corlette.

Look for the gulls hovering above the water and the salmon won’t be far away.


Beach fishing is a pleasant activity this month as light offshore winds in the mornings keep the swell down and many species feed close to shore.

Some cracking tailor to 3kg are being caught along Samurai and One Mile beaches, but be prepared to start fishing pre-dawn and after dusk if you want to find the better fish. Whole brined pilchards on 4/0 or 5/0 ganged hooks will be their undoing.

During daylight hours it will be worth targeting a few bream on mullet fillets and Birubi Beach offers plenty of gutters. Be sure to fish the tide changes.

If you’re like me and indulged in good Winter food and added a few kilos, the solution is simple – walk the many fire trails from Fingal Bay to Boat Harbour and sample some superb rock fishing.

Black drummer are feasting in the whitewater and it’s been one of the best pig seasons I have seen for some years. Peeled prawns or cunjevoi are the favourite drummer baits but don’t be surprised if your bait attracts a stud bream or a groper.

One Mile Point is fishing well for tailor, with most falling victim to metal lures or the new breed of modern lures such as the Duel Adagio or Maria Duplex.


Snapper are the talk of most offshore anglers and for good reason; most reef systems shallower than 20m are holding reds.

The Sisters at the back of Broughton Island is the most popular and this area produces some of the largest snapper during Spring.

Closer to home, Fingal Island and Fishermans Bay are also worth a look a late afternoon session with a steady berley trail is a great way of attracting reds.

Some big kings are chasing squid in the headland washes and around many of the islands. Slow trolling a live squid on a downrigger will be their undoing but they may have the last laugh if you’re not prepared with your tackle.

Tuna have started to appear along the continental shelf and although we didn’t see the southern bluefin, albacore and yellowfin have been around the temperature breaks and cubing will be the most successful way of finding them.

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