If it weren’t for fishing, I’d struggle to make it through Winter. My wife says it’s the one thing that keeps me sane and she knows when I desperately need to get out for a fish.
So this month I’ll have a few trips pencilled in on the family calendar to ensure I get through the month.
One of my favourite things to do this month is to take the kids for a fish. You can take them out during the day and not worry too much about sunburn or overheating and, best of all, you can catch some fish.
My kids love to catch and release bream and with a little planning it’s not hard to get a few.
If you want some bream, grab some salted prawns or whitebait and the light tackle and head to the Hastings River.
I like to fish moving water and back eddies and the Hastings has some really good spots that are kid-friendly. McInherney Park is a great place with two short sandy beaches separated by rock walls and in Winter they are pretty quiet during the day.
Bream and flathead will be the primary targets and fishing as light as possible is the key. With the kids I like to keep it simple with a long-shank hook and a pea-size running sinker. I vary the size of the sinker with the strength of the current and the size of the hook depends on the size of the bait.
Other estuary action will be deep along the coal walls for bream, mulloway and luderick.
The best quality bream will be taken at night and around dawn and dusk. Soft plastics and blades are the most commonly used lures this month, but deep-diving crankbaits run parallel to the coal walls are also productive.
Throwing crankbaits like this also increases your chances of catching school mulloway and flathead.
Bait fishers should try fresh slab baits fished as light as possible.
Luderick have already started moving into the rivers and this month should really kick into gear. The breakwalls on the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers are top spots to soak some weed.
Yabbies will also be good on luderick, especially around the Limeburners Creek bridge and the oyster leases nearby.
Henry Kendall reserve at Laurieton will also be a top spot for luderick although at times is so good it can be pretty crowded so plan your trip and get there early and wait for the run-in tide to bring the fish on.
Lake Cathie will be a top spot for flathead if it stays open to the sea.
Recent weather patterns have ensured it has stayed open and it is bouncing back to the lake we knew and loved a few years back.
With plenty of bait on offer flathead will be cruising the shallows to warm themselves and look for an easy feed. Soft plastics will be the best lures and live bait, especially poddy mullet, will get you bigger fish.
Beach fishing this month can be very productive, with bream and tailor the primary targets. Mulloway would be a close third and Australian salmon can be pests or a welcome boost to the heart rate.
North Beach will be a good spot to start if the seas permit. It always has cleaner water than Lighthouse Beach. Recently mulloway to 30kg have been landed off the beach along with plenty of schoolies, so gear up if you’re targeting the bigger ones.
Those heading offshore have been lucky enough to snare a few nice snapper over the inshore reefs on bait and soft plastics.
Mostly plate-sized fish have been caught but a few larger fish should improving catches this month. Kingfish will also be taking jigs, with the FAD the best place to start. Those heading further offshore should do well on pearl perch and teraglin.Reads: 1602