Get down and score high
  |  First Published: February 2014

We are now well into 2014 and it’s shaping up to be a great year for those anglers lucky enough to fish Lake Macquarie. The water temps are right up there now, and so are the catch rates. Fishing is great regardless of where you’re fishing; inside and offshore are both producing the goods and plenty of fish are also on offer for shore-based anglers.

The lake has a little of everything on offer this month. Once again the mighty yellowtail kingfish has made its presence felt in the lake and although there are plenty of rats around, there are also some quality fish on offer. More than a few in that 80-90cm range have been falling to a variety of methods. Throwing poppers around the Swansea Bridge is getting some results, but to give yourself the best chance of hooking one you’ll want to get out there very early in the morning. With all that structure around luck is your best chance of landing one.

Downrigging has also proved very effective and is gaining in popularity. A few solid kings have fallen to trolled, downrigged live squid both at the bridge and around the deeper parts of the Lake itself.

Flathead fishing has slowed considerably but there are still a few being caught. The techniques have changed now that the waters have warmed – you need to fish the shallower spots for good regular catches. Deep diving hardbody lures are proving effective, as are smaller 3-4” soft plastics. There are a lot of smaller fish around at the moment, but when the waters start to cool (from around April onwards) and the fish head back to the deeper water, I’ll break out my flathead gear again.

There are still more than a few mulloway (jewfish) being caught in the Lake which is a great sign. The mulloway fishery in Lake Macquarie is going from strength to strength, and as long as anglers don’t get greedy and stick to the new laws regarding jewfish sizes and numbers, we should see this fishery continue to get better. Coal Point and Wangi area have been great producers of late, and live squid fished deep are always hard for a passing mulloway to pass up.

While on the topic of squid, there are loads in the lake at the moment so even if you’re not into live baiting one for a jew or king, a squid is certainly hard to go past on the plate with a little salt and pepper.

Bream fishing has been hot to say the least. Some solid bream to 40cm are falling to a variety of offerings, with Jase Aguiar finding good fish all over his new Pro Lure D36 Crank hardbody. This latest offering from the Pro Lure stable is certainly proving very effective on the local bream population. Working the lake edges is a good way to locate the fish at this time of year. Working the boat hulls on the shaded side of the hulls can also be productive, and without doubt the sand flats throughout the lake are extremely popular and rewarding at this time of year. Shallow diving hardbody lures and surface lures are doing the damage for guys fishing these shallower areas.

Beach fishing along our coastline at the moment is producing a good number of fish. Whiting are main fish being taken by beachgoers, and worms are proving to be the go-to bait for those anglers looking for a feed of tasty whiting fillets.

Offshore fishing is also firing. It’s a busy time of year for bluewater anglers along the entire east coast of Australia, with many game fishing tournaments during this period.

Marlin are on the chew, with fish all over the slimy mackerel bait balls located offshore. A few different methods are doing the damage on these fish, and one of the best is to jig up some live slimies and slow troll them around these bait balls. Another very effective method is to troll a spread of quality skirted game lures around these areas. I like to work the areas a little wider off the bait balls and crowds of boats when trolling a spread of lures. Depending on the conditions, the size of the boat and number of crew on board, a spread of 4-5 lures is recommended. Generally a trolling speed of around 7 knots will do the trick and get the most action from your lures. Locally-made Zacatak lures are proving to be one of the better lures yet again, taking some good fish this season. It is great to see a quality local product producing the goods.

Shark fishing offshore has also been productive, with some huge tiger sharks over 400kg landed by local LMGFC anglers in recent times. There are also good numbers of smaller sharks which means there’s plenty to keep the shark guys entertained.

Those looking for a feed of fish offshore are in for a treat. The inshore reefs and coastline have plenty of kings on offer, and many methods are working. Keen anglers have been jigging metal jigs and other anglers have been working live baits and a variety of other lures such as soft plastics and even trolling the cliff faces with bibbed lures for good results.

It really is one of the best months to be fishing our wonderful part of the world, so get outdoors and make the most of it.

Reads: 1957

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