The Port warms up
  |  First Published: September 2013

Its time to defrost as we head into Spring and there’s nothing better than feeling the sun on your face in the morning.

It’s the same with the fish. Spring triggers some fish to react and I find that dusky flathead in the estuary are one particular species.

At this time of year flathead have congregated further upstream in places such as the upper reaches of the Karuah River, Tilligerry Creek and even the Myall River.

Most fish will be hugging the sand and mud flats but it pays to fish near structure such as oyster racks or rock bars.

Countless times I have cast a soft plastic or hard lure over rocks and a lizard hard up against the structure has pounced.

Matching the hatch is very important, with poddy mullet and prawns the main diet of the lizards further up the bay.

Bait fishing can be rewarding. I like whitebait on ganged No 1 or No 2 hooks slowly rolled back to the boat. This is great fun for the kids, too, and you often will land by-catch of bream and tailor.

Speaking of bream, there are plenty hanging out in the oyster racks in the lower half of the estuary. Most are eager to smash a bait or lure; after two months of spawning they’re hungry.

Throw a hard body lure parallel to the oyster rack trays and you will have bream shooting out to nailing your lure.

Bream are also stacked up along the rock walls, with soft plastics working well around the entrance of North Arm Cove and Fame Cove.

Sand whiting are the targets along the sand flats especially along Tailors Beach and the back of Lemon Tree Passage. Live beach worms are the go on a rising tide but be sure to use light leaders and No 6 circle hooks.

School mulloway are about in numbers, mainly around the bridges at Karuah. Most anglers have been chasing them with soft plastics, blades and even vibes.

The trick to lure fishing is to keep the lure in their faces, no erratic lifts, just a smooth hop along the bottom.


Beach and rock fishing hasn’t changed much from last month with steady catches of bream, tailor and salmon from most beaches.

Rock fishing is sensational with black drummer the mainstay from most of the washes.

Boulder Bay is one of the prime areas if you don’t mind a walk. Not many people make the walk so the fishing is good.

Some good snapper are about off the rocks with plenty of anglers nailing them from Boat Harbour and Fishermans Bay. Fresh baits are the key and you can’t go past fresh squid that are caught in the same location.

Now is the time to take advantage of the weather and head offshore, especially for tuna.

Yellowfin can be found over the continental shelf along with albacore. But be prepared to do the miles in search of temperature breaks and bait.

Trolling lures can be good to cover ground but keep an eye on your sounder to locate schools which hang deep, sometimes down to 50 fathoms.

Cubing is the best way to target these fish so stock up on blocks of pilchards to ensure you have enough to keep the tuna interested.

Deep dropping to the bottom is also successful with bar cod, long-finned sea perch and gemfish all on the cards on the edge of the shelf or even around Allmark Mountain.

Kingies are around the mountain with Samaki Hummer jigs working well in 300g and 400g sizes. But if the arms are too sore, drop down a live bait.

Inshore there are still some nice snapper, especially early and late in the day. A berley trail and fresh baits are the keys and places such as the Sisters and around North Island are prime real estate for reds this time of year.

Down south is always worth a go with Fingal Bay through to Fishermans offering some ideal areas.

In the washes tailor and salmon will smash trolled lures while drummer and bream will be keen for a peeled prawn

Luc Perrit with a typical Springtime flathead. Most larger fish are females and are doing one thing in Spring, making more flathead.

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