Set for a top Summer
  |  First Published: November 2013

If all stays the way it’s been in this part of the world over recent weeks, we are in for some great Summer fishing.

I have seen schools of bonito, tailor, school kingfish and salmon smashing bait in Stockton Bight.

The schools have been large enough for boats to circle and cast into.

One school of a mix of salmon and tailor was so big there were about nine boats trolling the outside picking off the fish. If truth be known, I think the boat pattern was holding the school together.

Unfortunately I was on the shore watching all the chaos and swearing under my breath and kicking myself for taking the boat out that day.

But I had been told by a lot of friends that big bream were running the beach I was fishing and that was an understatement – the bream were huge.

With the weather absolutely amazing lately, I have seen the fishos come out of the woodwork, with boats going left right and centre trekking off to their favourite grounds.

I have also spotted lines of milk bottle floats, which excites me because I love blue swimmer crabs as much as I do my family, beer and the Melbourne Cup.

November is a great time for the blueys as they march into the estuaries in great numbers.

If you haven’t tried crabbing before, it isn’t hard and on the way home from your usual fishing session the crabs can provide a real bonus for the table, especially if you have had a rough day’s fishing.

Kids love pulling up the crab pots and their faces tell the story if there are some big ones in them.

The Fisheries saltwater fishing guide will let you know the rules for crabbing and number of pots you can use per person in your location.

Any fishing tackle store sells the gear you’ll need and give you an idea of the local rules and hot spots.

Bait is as easy as a piece of meat, a fish frame or a perforated tin of cat food tied into the pot.

The area along the Stockton side of Newcastle Harbour around the old wrecks east of the bridge is a good place, as are Sandgate and Fullerton Cove.


I was proud, amazed and humbled when my son caught a very good bream from the beach the other day. I had to eat my words after suggesting the bait he was using wasn’t the best.

He has a habit of using peeled cooked prawns, partly so he can eat them as well and because he thinks they hold to the hook better.

I can’t argue with his success. I think it’s one for the fish and three for him while he fishes, which isn’t a bad theory really. He has caught numerous big bream, small snapper, flathead and whiting fishing this way.

I prefer fresh green prawns, pipis or worms, but he manages to get some great fish like this and I am thinking about changing over.

I saw a guy fishing a little to the south of us and spied a fish he had just caught flapping on the sand. It was a 2.8kg monster bream that had lips rivalling Angelina Jolie’s and was so silver it looked like a huge dart.

He said he caught it on a frozen beach worm and thought it was a snapper when he saw it in the waves. Here’s hoping he emails me the photo.

With the water warmer than usual, whiting and flathead should be more active now and overnight beach fishing will be great.

Mulloway usually roam the beaches through November and some big models have been taken on fresh squid, mullet or a few wriggling worms.

As the sun rises, change tack for the flathead, bream and whiting.


The reefs should be well and truly firing this month and I am waiting to hear when the mahi mahi and big kings turn up in numbers.

Marlin and sharks have already been taken off of Newcastle but the big kings haven’t shown as yet.

A few anglers have bagged out on trag around the Granites and Pines reefs and flathead have been on the Gravel reef and at the Mudhole. The latter is known to fire for jewfish around the moon and hammerheads love the place.

I have seen numerous hammers of all sizes do their Jaws imitation on the surface there, a great sight especially when they’re big.

If you are out looking for fish this month it will be hard not to get a few.

Try afternoons and mornings for those big bream and whiting.

After dark fish the beaches and the lit areas in the Harbour for jewfish with live bait.

You can troll offshore for the schools of bonito, tailor and kingfish and don’t forget the crabs and if all goes well, the prawns may run early.

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