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Forster flathead flourish
  |  First Published: December 2013



Christmas is upon us and the visiting population of holiday-makers and anglers have descended on the beautiful coastal strip of the Great Lakes. This time of year is difficult to fish the area around the bridge and lower lake beyond 10am; the number of watercraft crowding the clear water of the lake’s entrance is often scary.

What is also scary is the low level of understanding of the waterway rules and regulations by some of the water users. So be warned and be extra vigilant on the water for the next two months.

If you are not opposed to very early mornings, the area around the bridge and the weed flats around Miles (Sandy) Island are creeping with flathead and whiting. There are plenty of bait fish trying to stay out of the way of the pike, bonito and even frigate mackerel in Breckenridge Channel, and scattered on the edges of the current are the flathead.

There have been some big mommas with a pile of small male flathead hanging around them in the channel. If you are looking for a trophy fish, for photos and release, it is worth hitting the Breckenridge area. And if you hit a patch of smaller fish it may mean there is a big breeder close by. It goes without saying that the big flathead, over 70cm should be released after a few photos to ensure a good breeding stock for the future.

The edges of the sand flats are lousy with small whiting; the larger fish, as shadows, can be seen off in the deeper water. A live yabby or beach worm fished at slack water, around the bridge area, will attract the better size whiting.

Surprisingly the bridge pylons haven’t been holding any decent bream but there have been some large flathead hiding behind the pylons on the run-out tide.

The deeper water pylons on the Tuncurry side of the bridge has been producing some sizable luderick on yabbies and weed, and it is a great spot to try for those wanting a few live yellowtail.

The deep edge of the sand island opposite the Tuncurry Co-op is a good spot to fish for drifting baits during the last of run-out and the first of the run-in. Good whiting, bream and flathead are often caught in this area and school mulloway are certainly not out of the question.

The break wall has no real consistency to it, which is common for this time of the year. Patchy decent fish are separated by the rubbish like toads and butterfish so target the early morning and evening/nights for fishing the walls.

The mulloway have been very hit and miss so it is a matter of keeping your ear out for whispers of fish, although the new moon period run-out of an evening should produce fish.

The new moon run-out of a night is also producing plenty of prawns and blue swimmer crabs for anglers that care to take up positions in Breckenridge Channel or other spots around the lake. A few days either side of the 10 December is your next best opportunity to catch a feed of prawns and have a great night out. If you’re keen, a rod set with a live prawn on it will catch you some stud whiting, bream and even a nocturnal flatty or two.

Beach fishing along the Mid North Coast comes into its own during the summer months. The bream, whiting and dart are certainly entertaining with early morning tailor and the chance of a balmy evening mulloway enough to encourage anglers to put in the time.

Catching beach worms is made easier with an increase in their feeding activity and they are certainly the best bait on the sandy strip, this time of the year. With the formations and gutters on the beaches changing so quickly, it is worth a bit of time checking out the local area. Celito and Seven Mile beaches are pretty safe bets for good gutters.

Offshore

The small bonito have started coming closer to shore and with them come some big kingfish and cobia. A few early contacts with small black marlin are likely until the water warms up a bit.

The local reef fishing is producing a few pan-sized snapper and an increasing number of flathead and other mixed species like sergeant baker and some trag.

I don’t expect offshore reef fishing will improve until we get some rain and a bit of a flush. Until then we can just take advantage of the dry spell with top water breaming and prawning being the pick of the month.

Have a safe and Happy Christmas and make time for the two ‘Fs’ – family and fishing.

1

Not all the bream in the lake are this big, but it is a great sign for the future of system.

2

This is the size bream we have come to expect in the rivers and lake. Top water action is red hot and with a lack of rain will or should improve to a great season.

3

Fish around the bridge with poppers and you’ll be tangling with some stud whiting and good bream. You may also get surprised with a bonito or two.

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