Masses of baitfish
  |  First Published: March 2014

In recent weeks we’ve had a mass influx of shark sightings and beach closures, but from an angler’s point of view this is actually pretty exciting. You know the sharks’ presence means that masses of bait have arrived, and that also means great fishing as the sharks aren’t the only ones feasting on them.

Kingfish, cobia, mulloway, snapper, teraglin, tailor, bonito, striped tuna and salmon on the inside reefs and close grounds have been in good numbers following pilchards, yellowtail, slimy mackerel, whitebait and sprats. All this adds up to great fishing in my book, and because it’s happening in the months when the warmest of currents are off our shores… well, let’s just say you can expect some hot fishing this month!

Further offshore, marlin, mahi mahi, XOS kingfish, tuna and masses of dolphins have been seen off Newcastle wide with all the bait out there also. There has been some great fishing already had and I bet there’s more to come.

The annual bream run is due to start in late March to early April, and the bream currently fattening up and taking baits and lures in a pretty intensive way for their run up the coast. Some of the best spots are around the first beaches of the headlands near the estuaries from which the fish emerge. They school out and scan the first of the sand for worms, pipis and suchlike, and are easy pickings. You can get some quality fish at this time, as most fish that leave first are the really big specimens, then the smaller ones follow.

As well as bream, the beaches are holding good numbers of whiting, flathead and tailor at dawn and dusk. Some of the wild weather we had a while ago created some nice holes and channels along Stockton Beach, and the easiest way to find them is drive up on the low tide.

In the Hunter River, bass, bream and small mulloway (school jew) are still being taken. Add the last of the prawn run and the blue swimmer crabs and I can see a lot of good fishing being done this month.

Up around Sandgate, Fullerton Cove and Tomago are the places to be in the deeper holes and drop-overs. The flathead and tailor that have entered the river have been up around the harbour mouth a little more, and don’t be surprised if you bump into some nice mulloway as they have been in good numbers off both break walls. Stockton has been the best, with all fish caught being around 10-12kg. There are enough yellowtail, squid and slimy mackerel on the Adolf Wreck side to keep all anglers happy.

The North Reef buoy has been busy lately with boats returning with just legal size kingfish and the odd mahi mahi that has roamed in close to shore. Tailor and bonito have been sitting over the reef as well, and squid are there if you want to drop deep jigs.


This month I recommend looking along the beaches for bream, whiting in close and tailor schools working the bait. Watch for terns and seagulls they should land you close to that action. On the inshore reefs, squire and snapper as well as school jewfish and the odd kingfish should still be around. And if you can get out wider trolling, you can pick up marlin, bull mahi mahi and tuna.

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