Finally some warmer weather and warmer seas. This is the time when most anglers get excited about as fish move up and down the coast and the warm- and cool-water species overlap.
It’s a real lucky dip now, anything can happen; you just need a lure or bait in the water to be in with a chance.
Over the past two years I have said the crab season just hasn’t been up to par but I am happy to say that this year it’s looking a lot more promising.
I have put out a few traps and have snared some nice blue swimmers and so early in the crab season it’s a great sign of things to come. From now up until Easter blue swimmers move into the Hunter estuaries and get into every nook and cranny, from the vast open lake and bays to the smallest of creeks.
The rules for crabbing are pretty basic. Jump on www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries or grab a copy of the Saltwater Guide which tells you all about the legal trap size and numbers, floats and all the other details.
As bait I prefer luderick or mullet but any fish or even chicken or steak will do the job. Just remember to keep your traps on the edge of channel and out of the way in places that are heavily used by boats.
Fishing in the Hunter has really picked up with good bream, flathead, school jewfish and squid about.
This month the weather is definitely headed the way we want, so the shallows will be bathed in sunshine and the water will warm quickly. Bream, flathead and squire should be moving around and feeding a lot more freely.
You never know, with the lethargy of Winter behind them, whiting may move in for an early season as they did last year.
The freshwater scene in the Hunter River should be kicking into gear right about now. The past three or four weeks around the very start of September usually marks the beginning of better fishing in the upper reaches.
But between the salt and the freshwater, the brackish water can really fire for bream that have moved up to feed on prawns and baitfish. Jewfish are often taken up in this type of water also.
The brackish stretch from Hexham and Tomago up to Morpeth and Raymond Terrace can fish extremely well. More than a few times I have come across anglers who have been casting and trolling lures along the rocky outcrops and have hooked jewfish or oversized flathead. On the light gear often used for bream and bass, these bigger fish become a real sporting venture.
The beaches have been busy; I have rarely seen so many 4WDs as I have in the past month.
The bream have been co-operating and hordes of salmon have been schooling in Newcastle Bight. If their numbers are anything to go by I expect them to hang in this area for a while longer.
The wild weather of Winter and early Spring has been a blessing in disguise for beach anglers; gutters and channels have developed in close to shore right along the beach. At any time it can change again but I am sure the deeper holes will still exist throughout Summer because some are very deep.
Offshore should be starting to fire up as this month is usually a great time for snapper, teraglin and kingfish.
The close reefs can be great for nannygai, morwong, bream, tailor and jewfish during day and night.
Pelagics like bonito, striped tuna, mack tuna, mahi mahi and even marlin can turn up from here on in.
Trolling during the middle of the day can be rewarding and usually just gets better as we head closer to Christmas. The water now is around 20° and hopefully the slimy mackerel will come down in droves; it’s these fish that a lot of the top of the food chain pelagics chase.
As a livie or as cut bait, these fish are the best bait through Summer.Reads: 1856