Westerly winners for rock fishers
  |  First Published: August 2013

August can be a funny time to fish Port Stephens. The prevailing westerly winds can make it hard to fish inside the bay but fishing from the ocean rocks or beaches can be spectacular. Likewise offshore, where many big snapper will gather on the shallow reefs waiting for a soft plastic or a well presented bait to waft past their nose.

In the estuary it’s best to pick a day and go regardless of the tides. Bream are still around in numbers. They are mainly in the lower half of the estuary and a methodically worked soft plastics down the rock walls will be the undoing of many big bream in August. Bait fishing at night is always an option and produces plenty of those kilo plus bream everyone loves to brag about catching. The key is to fish the incoming tide with fresh baits such as mullet fillets, gut or even live nippers. Use the lightest possible fluorocarbon leader you can for the best results.

Luderick are the mainstay of the estuary with loads of them milling around the rock walls around the Anchorage Marina and Nelson Bay. Green weed can be hard to find, but cabbage weed from the ocean rocks can be more effective.

Mulloway are in good numbers as long as you fish the right areas. The rock walls near Soldiers Point always hold bait and good current flow, which means mulloway aren’t far behind. The bridges at Karuah fish extremely well with tide changes a must if you want to have success.

Big flathead are lying in the shallows, especially further up Tilligerry Creek or Karuah. They are sluggish but a well presented soft plastic will get them biting and be a highlight on a cool August day.

Beach and rock fishing is on fire. If you want to have some fun then take a flick stick down the beaches, especially Fingal where schools of Australian salmon can be seen cruising the gutters and chasing smaller baitfish. Small, 5-10g metals are the way to go, but you can also use surface lures such as Duel Adagios. Tailor will also be in the mix so it will pay to have a slightly heavier leader to avoid bite offs. Bream are in good numbers in most gutters, but after dark these gutters will fish really well with mullet fillets or cubes of brined pilchard.

Black drummer and luderick are the mainstay off the ocean rocks with Boulder Bay both north and south being a good area to start your search. A little bread berley goes a long way to encourage drummer out of their ledges with fresh cunjevoi and peeled endeavour prawns working best. Luderick are much the same but some fresh cabbage weed from the rocks always works, especially suspended under a stem float. Fishermans Bay is fishing well after a swell with some good snapper taking brined pilchards or squid heads drifted down the wash. If you’re spinning then try Box Beach, One Mile Point or the front of Tomaree for a few tailor, salmon and the odd rat kingy.

Offshore at the moment it’s snapper time and there are some good ones about. Edith Breaker is fishing well with some crackers up to 7kg being caught on plastics. The back half of Broughton Island, especially in the shallows, is prime at the moment and anchoring with a berley trail out the back and drifting baits down will have your rods bending on some good reds.

Almark Mountain is fishing well for kings plus a few bar cod and even the hapuku have been on the chew. Keep an eye for the odd tuna and striped marlin with plenty of bait stacking up.

All in all, August provides plenty of options, you just need to get out there and get amongst it.

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