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Fields of flatties
  |  First Published: December 2013



All signs indicate that our region will have an outstanding start to 2014.

We have had a lot of rain in recent times, but don’t let that put you off your fishing outings because a lot can change in a short time. Anyway, some fish love dirty water, and when you are near river mouths and places where the tidal flow pushes back the discoloured water, you can enjoy some great fishing. Sometimes all hell can break loose! Tailor, bream, flathead and jewfish all love a bit of dirty water and use it to their advantage, hunting small fish that are fleeing downstream to where the salinity levels are better.

Flathead are coming in, and some of them are monsters. I have seen some nice ones at a few local ramps lately. Bream have also featured in catches, and both species have been taken just outside the Hunter River mouth on lures.

Flounder, squid and the odd mulloway (jew) have grabbed baits presented to them on fairly light gear. Mullet strips and prawns have been their undoing.

Still in the estuary, the blue swimmer crabs are around, and the numbers are up this year. Some of the big buck [male] crabs are enormous. Please remember to check the sizes and let females go to protect our future stocks.

Whiting are moving into their local haunts over the sand flats around the front of the sailing club in Stockton, and all around Kooragang island. Try drifting peeled prawns, pieces of worm or small red Gulp soft lures. I recommend adding a small red bead to all of these; I swear it works well. When you’re targeting whiting, don’t be surprised if a flathead grabs your lure or bait.

Offshore

There is word out that every reef is covered in teraglin and school jewfish, as well as nannygai, huge bream and the odd pearl perch. Just watch the weather because we’ve had some nasty seas around here lately. Advise the coastal patrol that you are going out, and log on and off with them. It really gives you peace of mind while you’re out there chasing your favourite fish.

Trolling has been fantastic as well. Mahi mahi (dolphinfish), huge bonito, small black marlin and some big blues have grabbed well-presented skirt and bait layouts.

In closer, sand flathead and whiting can be taken behind the surf breaks. Salmon are still with us, so trolling lures out at a safe distance should see the salmon and tailor play ball on light gear, which you can pass to the kids for a bit of fun.

Beaches

Fishing the beaches has been like getting stuck in a wind tunnel so I haven’t heard a lot, other than the odd report of tailor and whiting being around. Still, conditions can change overnight!

One thing I have heard is that some of the tracks leading onto Stockton beach have been severely chewed up by trucks going through in the wettest conditions, so be careful. Still, it’s not all bad; when seas pound in they create new channels and gutters for us to fish in, and bream love the rough water. If you do venture in and it’s rough with a cloudy sky, expect some big bream.

With all the kids enjoying their school holidays, please be careful driving and keep a lifejacket on your kids if you go boating.

Happy fishing.

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