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New fishy resolutions
  |  First Published: December 2013



Last year my New Year’s fishing resolution was to do more bass fishing. What was yours? Did you fulfil it? I know I did, and I even revived my love of fishing with a baitcaster.

That leads me to consider what fishing resolution I should make this year. Should it be to update some fishing gear, or purchase more spinnerbaits? One thing’s for sure – is I’ll be working on developing my fishing in all areas from terminal tackle to hardware and locations to fish.

This month I’d like to look at different locations or types of structures you could target on the Hastings, Maria and Camden Haven Rivers. The first thing to consider is what your target species is and how are you going to fish. At this time of year estuary anglers are thinking primarily about two species: flathead and bream. Two species, two new types of locations for fishing bait and lures.

Flathead

This month flathead are cruising most of our estuarine systems, from brackish water to sitting on the coal walls at the mouth of the river. They aren’t too hard a target on lures as well as bait.

A spot to consider for land-based anglers using bait on the Camden Haven River is the small coal wall on the Dunbogan side of the river. This is a great bank for land-based anglers as they can drift a live bait or slab bait along the coal wall and easily walk along with the bait, keeping it close to the bottom and moving naturally with the tide. Flathead are ambush predators and will sit along most coal walls and wait for a well presented bait.

If you’re looking for a new lure place, the shallows in the Maria River can be an excellent place to present soft plastics and diving minnow hardbody lures. An area to try is the flat bays just past the row of houses up the Maria River at The Hatch.

These shallow water bays fish really well on the last of the run-in and the start of the run-out. Because they have good, sandy bottoms with small channels and weed beds, they’re an excellent place for flathead to chase mullet, garfish and smaller baitfish. Random casts will catch fish, but I like to approach areas like these methodically and plan to fish an area with water movement and cover the area with casts in close proximity to cover as much water as possible.

At this time of year flathead love moving into shallow waters, and other spots on the Hastings River and Camden Haven will work just as well, especially Watson Taylors Lake and Gogleys Lagoon.

Bream

This month is a great opportunity to catch some quality bream, and bait fishing is an excellent way of doing it. At this time of year bream can be found throughout our system, and they have a lot of summer haunts upriver.

A top spot to consider for the land-based angler this month will be some of the spots along the Hastings River in Wauchope. Rocks Ferry Reserve is a great starting point. A early morning session or an evening session will see some good bream fooled.

An essential tip for catching bream in this location, and other locations around Wauchope, is no sinker or as small as you possibly can fish. Prawns and whitebait are the best baits to use.

If you’ve got access to a boat, a top location to consider this month will be Limeburners Creek off the Hastings River. This great little waterway has some excellent flats in its upper reaches and, with some mixed in abandoned leases, is a great place to surface fish for summer bream. Top lures to use are fizzers, pencils and small profile poppers. Long casts over the flats in search of fish is the key. Once you find a pattern, target that area vigorously. Other flats areas in the Hastings River at the mouth of the Maria River and Queens Lake on the Camden Haven River will also be excellent places to surface lure for summer bream.

OFFSHORE

Offshore action this month will be excellent, with kingfish, teraglin, snapper and mahi mahi (dolphinfish) key target species.

Some big snapper have been taken on the inshore reefs, and hopefully that will continue this month. The reefs off Nobbys are a good place to start, with squid and soft plastics the primary baits to getting some good reds.

Mahi mahi and kingfish will be lurking around the FAD, and well-presented lures will do well. Still, the invested time in caching some live baits on the bait ground north of the Hastings Bar will prove very beneficial, and possibly irresistible to some fish.

BASS

The bass are pushing upriver, and top spots this month will be around Ellenborough and Longflat. Canoe or kayak are the best options, with early morning or late afternoon sessions being the optimum times. Surface lures will work well but it’s always good to have a variety of lures on hand. Spinnerbaits and blades have proven to be good lures in recent months.

So what is your New Year fishing resolution? No matter what it is, the fact that you’re reading this magazine means you love fishing, and it’s time to get out and enjoy the varied summer fishing we have on offer in the Hastings Region.

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