Melting pot of species
  |  First Published: April 2014

A fair bit has been happening over the last few weeks. Bluefin tuna, tailor, big bream and the last of the whiting have been caught recently along our part of the coast, and hopefully as you’re reading this the action is still as hot.

April is a great time for species to mingle together. At this time of year we can get winter and summer fish gathering together over reefs and along beaches, and it can be a real mixed bag on any given day as to what you can catch. Water cools and the current starts to swing round and head uphill again to the north, bringing with it kingfish and salmon. Both follow the squid that love this type of water, around 18-20ºC. The pelagics wide offshore thin a little so all the action is in a bit closer for the smaller boat owners as well as the rock hoppers.

Snapper are still around as the water cools and at times you can get some very big fish over the close reefs. They feed up for the winter with gusto, and often some are taken from the rocks as they are brought in close by the berley being used for drummer. The drummer should show up any time now. Groper, leatherjackets and kingfish all run in close to the rocks for a feed, and April is great for all these fish from the rocks.

The beaches have been holding travelling schools of tailor, bream and whiting, and salmon should be on the cards if the water cools quickly this year. Spinning and pilchards on gang hooks should do the trick for the tailor and salmon. Size down to a 2/0 with half pilchards for the bream, and there is nothing better than live beach worms for the whiting and also the bream in the mornings. If I am fishing the beach I like to set a rod with bait then as the sun rises I spin the holes with medium sized chromies. In the afternoons I gear up a big rod with the freshest squid I can get for mulloway, and bait up with worms and pipis for the rest of the day until sunset.

Offshore reefs are holding better size kingfish. The pesky rats, which have been around in large numbers, are moving out for the bigger fellows, and a few have been taken on the Marble Reef. North Reef usually holds kings around the buoy as well, and a few have been caught around the rocks off Merewether. Spearfishers are great to talk to because they see what’s going on under the water, and one I spoke to said he had seen some sizable kingfish around lately. That means the close reefs should be holding them in some numbers.

I sat down and chatted with a few anglers not long back and was surprised by just how many put some time into chasing groper. They said the groper have been protected from spearfishers for so long that their numbers are getting up there. They are an easy target from the rocks along Newcastle; both Nobbys and Stockton walls hold them, you just need cunjevoi or fresh red rock crabs and some hefty gear to hold onto them as they pull like steam trains. I am definitely going to put in a few days chasing them this winter.

In the estuaries, flathead will thin out but the remaining hungry fish should still snatch lures and baits. Try the inner harbour or up around Sandgate and Hexham where the water is warmer. Bream should be still in the system but moving down towards the heads and school size mulloway should be doing the same.

As we get into the cooler weather here’s hoping for a great season. Tight lines everyone.

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