Keep the sun at bay
  |  First Published: February 2013

Burnt body parts can spoil your fishing trip. I am amazed at the number of people I have met lately who have been severely sunburnt.

Considering the number of high UV-protection hats, shirts and trousers available, I am shocked that these people have got so burnt.

Once you’re out in the boat the effects from the sun above are multiplied by the reflection from the water. It can really bite into you if you’re not protected.

Along with the weather, the water has warmed to a spectacular degree and the fishing will really fire up this month. Bream, whiting and the numbers of prawns around at the moment should be the key to planning any outing from now to the end of March.

Offshore, dark blue water is filtering down from the north, bringing marlin, sharks, mahi mahi, wahoo and large kingfish.

Whether you’re dropping baits to the bottom or trolling, you should be able to find some action out wide at the moment.

The closer reefs and pinnacles and the wrecks are holding great numbers of fish, although it’s been a hit-and-miss affair. One day jewfish, trag and snapper are over a certain reef, the next it shuts down and goes barren.

Look for signs of baitfish schools, or if you see a few boats in one certain area this could also be an indication that the fish are there.

Just don’t plough in and set up right next to someone who may have a berley trail going or live bait set out. Move in slowly and keep a discreet distance.


In the estuary flathead, bream, whiting and school jewfish have been the targets, They should be around in good numbers now following the movement of abundant prawns in the Hunter River.

The small prawn trawlers that travel from Raymond Terrace down to Hexham have been getting some good catches on certain nights so it’s no wonder the fishing has picked up.

Try imitation prawn lures such as the Zerek Shrimp from Wilsons, which imitate prawns so well they should be in everyone’s tackle box. Deep-diving minnows also have been taking a number of good fish, especially some oversized flathead in the Sandgate area.

Whiting have been taken worms or prawns drifted down past the Kooragang Island sand flats.

At the mouth of the river the tailor should be around in better numbers. The schools are getting active just before sunset.

Most are grabbing chrome lures or small skirts trolled around the channel markers. Or you can put a pilchard under a float just on dark and hold onto the rod because there are a few big greenbacks among the schools.

Hammerhead sharks are keeping the jewfish brigade on the river walls on their toes.

A few fishos thought they had hooked massive jewies, only to find 1.2-1.5m sharks were the culprits. I didn’t hear any complaints and they were released unharmed after a great fight.

The beaches should be firing for tailor and bream.

Throw heavy chrome lures in the gutters around the Sygna wreck and after dark, switch to worms.

Whiting are there just before dark and many a big jew has been taken on whiting gear over the years.

I am convinced that luminous beads work on the beach. Add a red bead to your whiting rig in the day and a lumo one for bream and tailor after dark.

I have seen a few anglers using this method to take great bags of fish. A lot of older anglers used to swear by the beads.

Blue swimmer crabs are moving about, as are the prawns. Both can be taken quite easily; try the banks around the junction of the Williams and Hunter rivers and around the Stockton area for the crabs.

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