Hot bite in the Hastings
  |  First Published: May 2014

It’s been the warmest autumn we’ve experienced in a long time, with warmer water temps to match. This month we should see some excellent fishing opportunities in the Hastings region.

It has been baitfish central in the estuaries and beaches recently. Schools of baitfish have been spotted on a regular basis in the lower reaches of our rivers, providing a consistent food source for our piscatorial friends. As a result, mulloway have been prolific, particularly in any location with a defined change in water depth. The best spots to target them this month will be along the rock walls in the lower reaches, with the best lures being large soft plastics and vibes.

Two techniques work really well. The first is a diagonal cast from or towards the bank (depending on whether you’re land based or fishing from a boat). Big hops and long pauses will get the enquiries you’re after.

If you’ve got a boat, fishing parallel is also good. This is a great way of targeting fish sitting in a certain depth away from the bank. Casting parallel enables you to leave your lure or bait in the strike zone for a longer period, thereby increasing your chances of a hook up. Bait fishing for mulloway will also be highly productive, with live poddy mullet being the optimum bait.

These same techniques will work on fish in other areas of the estuaries, such as Dennis Bridge and Rawdon Island Bridge on the Hastings and Dunbogan Bridge on the Camden Haven River. The bonus of this is that flathead will be at times a welcome bycatch. Please take only what you need, rather than setting out to catch your limit.


With cooler weather just around the corner, offshore angling will turn to the closer inshore reefs and it will be time to target big reds. There have been good catches of snapper for those targeting them. If bait fishing is your thing, squid is the best choice. quid will be your best option. If you like to throw lures, good options are the Bay Rubber, Octa and Lucanus jigs. Personally, I like to throw 5-7” jerkbait style soft plastics rigged on a 3/8oz 5/0 jighead or a 1/4oz 5/0 jighead depending on the current.

The warm weather and bait schools have resulted in the Spanish and spotted mackerel being in plague proportions, and giving those snapper schools a welcome break. If the water temps continue to hold, this month should prove to be a productive month of late mackerel. The best of the locations have been north of the Hastings River around Barries Bay and Point Plomer.


If you’re into rock and beach fishing, this month is a prime time to chase tailor off the stones and mulloway off the beaches, with bream also thrown into the mix for both locations.

Tailor numbers to date have been hit and miss; hopefully this month the fish will move in and readily take well-presented lures, ganged pilchards and metal slugs. As always, dawn and dusk will be the prime times, with spots north and south of Port Macquarie being the best places to score bigger fish. Point Plomer and Point Perpendicular are good places to target larger models.

Off the beaches this month we should see plenty of bream, and garfish are an exceptional bait. However, if you can’t collect any garfish and want to keep your bases covered and land school mulloway as well, you can’t go past live beach worms.

North Beach should have some nice, long gutters to target fish. Picking the tides will be the best option, not necessarily the hour of the day. The last of the run-out is always a good place to start. Mulloway and bream feed hard before they lose access to the gutters, or whenever their target food is trying to escape to deeper water.

Bream in the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers this time of year are in excellent condition, and now is possibly the best time to target quality bream. The best thing is that a variety of techniques and locations can earn you some quality bream. Bait fishing this month will be best left for the darker hours, with the coal walls, canal entrances and the mouth of Limeburners Creek top spots to anchor up and fish cut, slap or whole baits for big bream.

If you like to throw lures, surface fishing is still a possibility although cicada patterns (which have been the favourite over the past few months) will not necessarily be the best option, due to the end of the cicada season. Poppers and pencil style lures which imitate fleeing baitfish and prawns will be much more effective.

Structure is always the key, with the oyster leases a top spot to tangle with some big bream. Just be prepared to lose some gear. You will need to beef up the tackle and go hard or lose that favourite lure.

If fishing the leases isn’t your cup of tea, quality bream will also be found on the flats this month and will readily chase down a surface lure. Key locations this month will be the flats on Big Bay and the mouth of the Maria River . Also on the Camden Haven the flats in Watson Taylors Lake on the northern shore are great. And if throwing surface lures doesn’t yield the results you want, a quick change to some sinking stickbaits or soft plastics to imitate prawns are a good option. Alternatively you can try slow working crankbaits or twitching soft plastic jerkbaits to entice feeding bream.

All up, this month will be a great time to plan some fishing trips, wet a line and explore the beautiful waters of our coastline and estuaries.

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