Beach whiting a certainty
  |  First Published: December 2012

I’m sure many anglers found a lot of fishing gear under the Christmas tree that they will use over the next couple of months.

With so many people on holidays now, fishing spots can get busy and finding campgrounds and accommodation can be hard unless you booked way ahead.

January can provide great fishing on this part of the coast and sand whiting are one of the best targets for a day of family fun.

Horseshoe Beach and Nobbys Beach both fish well if the surf isn’t too huge whiting and bream are landed here.

They are common along most beaches and the kids can swim, collect pipis and play while the keener family members fish. No one gets bored and a day at the beach can have the bonus of a tasty feed to take fish home or back to camp.

As well as the whiting, there are bream and flathead about as well on the beaches and in the estuaries.

Flounder, salmon and sharks can also be around, as are the elusive jewfish.

I saw a great little trick to keep the kids entertained on the beach at night. A group of anglers had a heap of kids with them and they were getting a bit bored so they got three packets of small tea lights and a pack of brown paper bags. They lit the candles and put them in the bags and made a pathway from the camp to the rods and each child was able to follow the path down and check the rods.

The lights also attracted a vast number of ghost crabs which kept the kids amused and provided a change of bait. The fishing was slow before the live crabs were used.

Blue swimmer crabs are playing ball at the moment and they should be around in numbers until Easter. A simple witch’s hat or dilly pot can be used over a short period or in the Hunter River an enclosed crab trap for longer (no traps in Lake Macquarie).

Blue swimmer crabs are playing ball at the moment and they should be around in numbers until Easter. A simple witch’s hat or dilly pot can be used over a short period or, in the Hunter River, an enclosed crab trap can be set for longer (no traps in Lake Macquarie).

Don’t put traps or nets in the middle of channels; I have wrapped a few ropes around my prop at times when some clever fisho has put them exactly where a boat needs to pass.


The estuaries are firing at the moment with flathead the best targets. I heard of a 9kg monster that grabbed a lure on the Inner Channel of the Hunter River at Hexham just near the Ash Island bridge.

This isn’t the first time I have heard of huge flathead here; the area can fish very well at times. School jewfish, flathead and bream often frequent this area due to the numbers of oysters and small crabs on the shore.

Because it’s a mud bottom and at times very murky, bait is usually the better option there.

The Northern Channel of the Hunter is also firing with flathead up from the bridge and bream keenly taking lures around Sandgate. The rail bridge just down from Tackle Power and the boat ramp can be a great place to live-bait for jewfish on a rising tides.


Depending on the size of boat you have, the offshore fishing should be at its finest as the water temperature start to peak from until the beginning of March.

Inshore, bonito, tailor, striped tuna, mahi mahi and longtail tuna can show up at any time. Further offshore, marlin, sharks, wahoo and large kingfish can come into play.

Trolling and covering a lot of water and following changes in water colour and temperature breaks can turn a quiet day’s fishing into an event you may never forget.

Around New Year the closer reefs can come alive with kingfish, snapper, huge bream, morwong, nannygai and perch. Yellowtail or slimy mackerel in fillet or used whole or as live bait are prime bait, as is a fresh squid cut or whole.

We also have great freshwater options within an hour’s drive.

Bass fishing in the Patterson, upper Hunter and the Williams rivers can be insane at times and there are plenty of boat ramps, campgrounds and other facilities.

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