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Estuaries in prime condition
  |  First Published: September 2013



With lovely Spring weather on the cards, it’s time to hit the water and enjoy some fishing fun. Early starts will get easier this month and with the estuaries firing on all fronts, there should be lots on offer.

If you’re heading out onto the Hastings or Camden Haven rivers this month you have a variety of options, from land-based to kayak or boat angling.

Some really good shore-based action this month will come along the breakwalls.

If you’re after tailor or mulloway, the North Wall will be worth a try with big soft plastics and large hardbodies.

Vibes and blades will prove successful on breakwall tailor.

For bait fishers, pilchards are a good starting point and yellowtail and garfish should also prove very successful on mulloway.

If you love chasing luderick on weed or peeled prawns, then the South Wall of the Hastings River will be a top spot this month during the run-in tide.

The bend just before Town Green is always popular. Several points along the wall have been disturbed in recent years due to floods and big seas and these subsidences have created excellent back-eddies along the wall which are top spots to target luderick and bream during the start of the run in.

Estuary action should really lift this month, with baitfish schools found throughout the system. Bream, flathead and mulloway will be in predatory mode as they feed up after a cool Winter.

Mulloway will vary in size from small school fish to trophy models.

Don’t be surprised if you’re fishing with light gear for bream and you catch a few school mulloway and then find yourself getting blown away by bigger fish.

Recently the mulloway have been hunting in packs, and moving from deep water to the shallows. Fish are being caught on bait and lures.

Try anchoring around the mouth of Limeburners Creek and the Maria River. The mouth of Stingray Creek on the Camden Haven will also be a good spot to bait fish for mulloway.

Live bait will undoubtedly be your best option, although slab baits and worms have also been successful recently.

Sometimes a smear of scent on your bait can increase your catch rate. Scents have been mainly been the preserve of lure anglers but they also work on bait and are well worth a try when you struggle to get fish to take the bait.

GARFISH

This time of year I like to explore up river and toss lures for bream and flathead. However, the numbers of garfish you can find in the quiet bays up the Maria River and the upper reaches of Limeburners Creek are amazing.

So if you like to pull the rolling pin out and flatten a few garfish and dust them with cornflour, then you’ll be keen to get into these tasty fish.

A good berley trail of bread will get them interested, then present your bait of bread or peeled prawn on a quill float and you should snare a feed.

After I’ve done this, I find I’ve also attracted a host of bream and the odd flathead so I spend some time working the adjacent areas with soft plastics and see what I can pull.

It’s amazing that you can see plenty of small bream but the larger fish are hiding nearby and ready to eat when presented a morsel-size plastic. I like to use a 2” grub pattern or a shrimp/prawn on a worm hook.

FLATHEAD

This time of year flathead are starting to move around more actively and 3”-5” plastics on 1/8oz or 1/4oz jig heads are ideal for targeting them.

I like to hunt fish that hold on banks that gently slope down into water of around 2m-3m. I cast hard against the bank and slowly work the lure across the bottom with little rips and hops until I find the depth the fish are holding.

Once I find this depth I’ll cast parallel to the bank at this depth to maximise the potential of catching more fish.

Best locations to do this on the Hastings this month will be between the Dennis and Rawdon Island bridges.

BASS

Freshwater fishing will be on the minds of many anglers, with the bass season reopening this month. If you have access to a small tinnie then up river from the Rocks Ferry boat ramp at Wauchope to Rawdon Island Bridge will be a top place to target bass now.

Make sure you take care crossing the gravel beds just up river from Wauchope High School because this area has changed a lot during recent months.

Blades and deep divers will be the best lures, however a compulsory throw with surface and subsurface lures will be worth a try to find out where fish are feeding in the water column.

If you have a kayak then a run further up the Hastings between Long Flat and Koree Island will be worth a shot. Walking the bank can also prove successful, especially in the smaller pools.

A variety of lures will be essential, however it will be hard to beat a small spinnerbaits, Beetle Spins or pony-head jigs.

So spring into the season and get out on the water this month and enjoy the multitude of fishing options available. Just remember to take care on the water, watch the weather forecast and take only what you need, not your limit.

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