Thrills in the chill
  |  First Published: July 2013

Time for beanies, thermals and anything else you can throw on to warm up and you will be all set for some great fishing on Lake Macquarie.

This would be one of my favourite months for the lake, which is really fishing well these days. Those anglers that brave the chill will certainly be rewarded.

The fish are still there in the cooler months but the angler needs to make a few changes in approach to keep coming home successful.

There are plenty of targets with salmon, flathead, jewfish and cracking bream all on offer.

The salmon continue to entertain anglers in Salts Bay.

Soft plastics are the best method to tangle with these light-tackle speedsters and 3”-4” lures are great. White, blue and clear are the main colours anglers are getting good results with.

I have said it before but for mums and dads wanting to get their kids into fishing, this is the ideal situation. Catching these strong fish really is great fun for the whole family and a fantastic way to get the kids into our sport.

For those chasing a feed of fresh fish there is also good news. Flathead numbers are reasonable and some cracking fish to 80cm have been landed in the deep water.

Bait fishers will score well with pilchard halves or mullet strips drifted along the bottom. Remember, in the cooler weather it really does pay to fish those deeper sections and ensure your bait or lure is bumping the bottom.

If the drift is too quick then deploy a parachute-style anchor to slow your drift.

For lure fishers, I find that 4”-5”soft paddletails work best now. Generally a 1/2oz jig head will do the trick but go heavier if need be to ensure you’re hitting the lake bottom.

Best colours at this time of year are usually green, white or gold.


The bream fishing has been very good, as we would expect.

The fish have moved into deeper water.

The trick for lure fishers now is to make sure you really slow down your retrieve now that it’s cooler. Blade-style lures work great, as do 2”-3” soft plastics.

Fishers using on prawns, pilchard cubes and strip baits will also be rewarded with bags of solid bream. Salts Bay is a prime spot and a good berley trail and quality bait will work best.

You will also find a few silver trevally in the mix.

Tailor have been on fire in the lake. Southern spots around Gwandalan have fished very well and working blade lures under the tailor schools has been producing some good lake mulloway as well.

Most anglers will agree that a tailor is a good table fish only if you eat it while it’s fresh. One of the best ways eat fresh tailor is by smoking it – give it a try and let me know your thoughts.


Offshore fishos have had mixed results. The shark guys are managing their fair share of toothy critters but unfortunately there is not much else on offer for those wanting to tangle with a game fish.

There are the odd reports filtering through of tuna but these are very patchy and there is a lot of water in between strikes. Let’s hope the tuna from south make the journey and keep the local game fishos entertained.

The good news is that those anglers who put the trolling gear away for a while and target some other offshore fish such as kingfish will be pleasantly surprized with some cracking fish on offer.

These fish have moved further offshore to the deeper reefs. Quality fish to 10kg continue to be caught on deep-set live bait and metal jigs.

Anglers trying some new tactics with heavy jig heads and 5”-7” soft plastics have also been getting into the action. Anyone feeling the Winter chill would do so for long once the kingfish are on, that’s for sure.

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