Bouncing back
  |  First Published: May 2013

After some awful weather, the river is clearing and the ocean is starting to look friendlier but the beaches still look like war zones.

The rivers are bouncing back nicely after some of the biggest floods in a century but you need to be alert when driving a boat because some big logs are still floating around.

Bream numbers are good in the lower reaches with plenty of quality fish caught along the coal walls on the run-in tide on mullet or bonito. Prawns and worms are also doing well with worms also accounting for school mulloway in the lower reaches and around Dennis Bridge.

For mulloway, the change of the tide is the best option. I like the last of the run in and the start of the run out.

This month bream will move farther upstream and be more susceptible to lures. Surface action in the lower reaches has been good so this month some quality fish should be taken on topwaters up around Rawdon Island and in the Maria River.

Whiting have also been common with quality fish on the flats around Pelican Island on surface lures and live worms.

Lake Cathie has reopened to the sea and quality fish are coming into the system. Let’s hope Mother Nature keeps the lake open for a bit longer this time so we can all enjoy the fishing.

Flathead have also been caught in Lake Cathie, especially at the Perch Hole and the deeper edges near the beach.

Soft plastics of 3”-5” on 3/4oz jig heads will work. Don’t be afraid to go for bigger lures, which can account for bigger fish and the smaller fish will take them anyway.


Beach and rock fishing has been impossible at times but this month should settle down.

Prime beach targets will be mulloway, bream and whiting and can catch all three using the same bait. Live worms will be the best bait, rigged on the appropriate hook for the intended target – you may struggle to land a decent mulloway on a whiting hook.

Look for long gutters with good entrance and exit points and fish the length of the gutter until you find the spot fish are holding.

Even when using big mulloway hooks, don’t be surprised if you snare good bream, especially after dark. Take a couple of rods and set up for both scenarios and keep your bases covered.

Best spots this month include North Beach, which has good gutters at the southern end and deeper holes at the northern end. Lighthouse Beach around the golf course and along Cathie Straight will also be worth a try, as will Dunbogan Beach for mulloway.


Offshore action this month should remain good.

Those heading north around Barries Bay will still find some nice mackerel, while those heading wider should find pearl perch and snapper.

If you’re heading south from Port, it will be hard to go past the inshore reefs around Nobbies and Lighthouse for snapper on squid, pilchards and 5”-7” soft plastics on 3/0-6/0 hooks.

Weight the plastics to just reach the bottom. Too heavy and the presentation doesn’t look natural; too light and the lure gets swept away with no chance of a bite.

The best tool for snapper fishing is your sounder. Look for gravel bottom and schooled fish. A good sign of actively feeding fish is when you see them stacked up on top of each other like a column coming off the bottom.

Remember that it’s Mother’s Day on May 12 and what better present could you give your lovely wife than to take the kids fishing and let her have a sleep-in. Or if Mum likes a spot of fishing, take her as well.

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