It’s the time of year that is the best to target bread-and-butter species – bream and luderick in the bay, snapper offshore, salmon and tailor off the beaches, while the rocks will have all of the above plus drummer and groper.
The estuary can produce some fun times, especially if you work around the tides.
Land-based anglers are having a ball at the moment fishing the tide changes along the Nelson Bay breakwall.
Luderick are milling around, slurping down green weed, and the anglers are lined up like a daily procession. The Anchorage Breakwall is much the same but it sees less fishing pressure.
Both areas are also good for those big Winter bream and unweighted baits are the go for them. Bream just love peeled endeavour prawns on 1/0 suicide hooks weighted down by only small 00-0 sinkers.
If you can manage to sneak out in the boat then head towards Soldiers Point, especially around the many rock walls and oyster racks. These areas are havens for big bream at this time of year and whether you use bait or lures, you should find fish.
Recently I have begun fly-fishing again. The early 1990s was the rage for fly and like any teenage fisher, I had to have a go! I even started tying my own flies.
Then came the soft plastics craze and the I hung up the fly rod. It’s now back out and it’s reinvigorated my passion for fishing.
Nailing six quality bream to a kilo in just an hour on a shrimp pattern is just sensational. Some of the fly patterns these days are so realistic that the bream can’t resist.
It’s a great time to fish the local beaches for some terrific catches. Bream, salmon and tailor are on most beaches.
The southern end of Box Beach is a great place to fish, especially in a westerly wind. Cracker bream school up on dark and dawn and are suckers for live nippers.
Fingal Bay is another hot spot and salmon are schooling up along the spit and are hot targets with small spin rods.
Birubi through to Stockton is fishing well for most beach species.
Rock fishing has hit full speed with plenty of drummer in the washes around Boulder Bay, Boat Harbor and Fishermans Bay.
After a big swell these fish hunt in relatively shallow water, especially at night on a rising tide. Casting cunjevoi or peeled endeavour prawns into the whitewater is the go.
You often find pleasing by-catch, a mixture of bream and luderick, in the same areas.
On the calm days chasing luderick is a matter of finding a quiet bay and tossing in cabbage weed under a stem float.
The exposed points such as One Mile Point, Boat Harbour and Tomaree are fishing well for tailor and salmon, especially with metal lures or slow-rolled pilchards.
It’s snapper time offshore and the shallows are fishing well especially in 15m-20m. Of course, tossing plastics at this time of year works well and some thumper reds to 10kg have come from around the many bommies from Broughton to Boat Harbor.
Bait is still very effective although a berley trail is essential.
Casting larger baits like butterflied slimy mackerel or bonito fillets is the way to attract big reds.
Those who enjoy jigging should head out to Allmark Mountain; the current has backed off and the kings are loaded on top of the peak.
Fish up to 10kg are smashing jigs like the 300g-400g Samaki Hummer Jigs. Keep an eye out for yellowfin tuna; a cube trail is the best way to locate them