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Plenty worth chasing
  |  First Published: October 2012



This month should bring an early kick into Summer. Whiting are already showing up and there are good signs of prawns hatching already.

Along with decent snapper holding on the inshore reefs and some freshwater bass fishing, it should be all happening this month.

Offshore action has been hit and miss due to big seas and roaring current. Recently I watched a tanker come closer to shore than I ever seen in 20 years of living at Port Macquarie. It would have been within 2km of shore and was pushing north at a rate of knots, telling us the current wider is very strong.

On occasions when anglers have been able to venture out the snapper have been red-hot with the odd 9kg-plus fish showing up, with plenty around 6kg-7kg.

The majority of reds have been coming from the gravel reefs between Tacking Point Lighthouse and the golf course and off Bonny Hills.

Those fishing further north off the FAD and Point Plomer should still be tangling with some kingfish, samson, and the odd tuna. Last October quite a few tuna showed up.

FRESHWATER

It should be a good time to fish the upper reaches of the estuaries for bass as they move back into the full fresh. Around Wauchope and Bain Bridge we should be some nice ones.

Late in the day should be the best time to target these fish, especially if we have some warmer days. This month we should see the black cicadas come out, so a good black surface lure will do the trick.

Just remember that the cicadas at this time of year are only small, around 25mm so having a variety of different lure sizes and styles are the go. Small walkers to little fizzers are good starting points.

Accurate casting is essential, with the lure falling as close to overhanging trees and structure ideal. I like to let the lure settle and watch for around 40-50 seconds before moving the lure only slightly and then pausing again. If there are fish in the area you’ll know soon know.

The total fresh around Koree Island will also be a good spot.

ESTUARY

Estuary action will be strong this month with a variety of species on the move throughout the system.

Bream will be starting to spread out and will be easily caught around weed beds and up river around snags and overhanging trees. Fresh or salted prawns are good bait and those tossing lures will do well on small lightly weighted plastics and smaller profile minnow lures and stickbaits.

October is the start of the big flathead season. When you find a pack of small males a larger female won’t be far away. I get excited about the possibility of catching and releasing one of these magnificent females and dread the thought that some people take them home!

I’ve repeated it for many years, take a photo, not a trophy and fish forever. It’s a challenge and skill to catch these fish, let’s preserve them for years to come. Besides, flathead around 40cm are much better eating.

Best spots to target a feed of flathead will be around the mouth of Limeburners Creek, the weed and sand flats at the mouth of the Maria River and deeper drop-off areas around Dennis Bridge and Rawdon Island Bridge.

Live poddy mullet will be ideal, as will fresh prawns. Plastics of 3”-5” will get you into business; I like a 3” jerkbait style on a 1/8oz jig head.

Luderick have been prolific, with 1kg-2kg specimens being landed mostly on weed along the coal walls and in Limeburners Creek. I’m sure this month we will also see action along Stingray Creek at Henry Kendall Reserve as the luderick move into Queens Lake.

My mate Burkey has been getting his fair share of luderick, although he takes a rather different approach. He loves to fish for them in Limeburners Creek among the oyster leases with lightly weighted or unweighted yabbies.

He finds that on occasions you need to move around to crack a particular pattern they have established in the leases but once you find them you can generally pull a few before they move on.

If the Hastings Council makes the call and open Lake Cathie we should see an influx of fish and some excellent captures of whiting, luderick, flathead and bream.

A copy of the opening strategy flowchart is on display at the Lake Cathie Post Office and the park on the north side of the lake, but none is available on the internet. Or is the plan so old they don’t have a digital version? Anyway, if it opens you’ll see me at Lake Cathie quite a bit in coming months.

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