As I write this we have had some rain that was so heavy you couldn’t talk to someone standing a foot away. It has flushed out the Hunter river and at the time of writing it looks more like caramel soup than river water.
Those anglers who have braved the weather have caught some nice fish, especially offshore and around the mouth of the river itself. Tailor still seem to be the number one target of an afternoon. Following close behind, inshore salmon have showed up as was expected.
Bream have been flushed out of the system, and running along the beaches and holding over the close inshore reefs, I was a little amazed at the amount of marlin and mahi mahi that were still being caught over the past six weeks. I was sure they would disappear, and the way the current was running uphill more of the winter fish would show up. Some have – trevally, blue morwong, nannygai, teraglin and kingfish. We can expect leatherjackets and more groper from here on out though.
Further offshore jewfish and snapper are being taken, not in huge numbers but enough to make the effort worthwhile. Try the dumping grounds out from Newcastle hospital. They seem to be best drifted with pilchards.
Kingfish closer out to the reefs in depths around 80-100ft are showing up, as are the big hoodlums that are on the edge of the continental shelf. If you can get out there, some blue-eye cod have been pulled from the sea mounts off Port Stephens and the southern canyons off Swansea. A few boats reported getting only half fish back to the surface as tiger sharks are around. If you’re inclined with heavy gear and a good back you can play with these monsters for a while.
Off the rocks we’re seeing more and more drummer, groper and morwong. Leatherjackets and squid are about in the calm, kelpy bays also. Hopefully the leatherjackets don’t turn up in plague proportions like they did with the silver sweep last year.
On a lighter note, we had a few chuckles at a local small private fishing competition not long back. The score board had all sorts of species written up on it for the weekend. Of course drummer was up there, and I got a silver drummer which are usually much bigger than their black cousins. It weighed 6kg clear, but on going to weigh it they knocked it back as it was too big and probably unbeatable in the small comp. They were only excepting black drummer.
I wasn’t about to give up that easily. Because I crab a lot I had a black waterproof permanent marker on the boat so I went back and coloured the fish in and presented it again, much to the amusement of the judges and the crowd. I was still knocked back even though it was now a black drummer!
Unfortunately the comp was washed out by Saturday afternoon, and I learned this weekend that a lot of caravan parks and large families have small competitions like this one all up the coast. They’re invite only and not too serious weekends. It’s a great way to get all the family and friends together over a whole weekend for a catch up, it’s not hurting anyone and some club members miss their own outings to attend their family do. Yep, we anglers are a funny mob.
Back to the serious stuff. I have read that a lot of members of rock and boat fishing parties aren’t getting their lifejackets serviced and looked after, and sometimes not wearing them at all. In recent weeks a few anglers have disappeared off the rocks, so please, please, please wear a PFD. They don’t cost a fortunate these days. Even if you don’t think of your own safety, think of the loved ones you are leaving behind for the sake of saving a measly $60.
This month I would be waiting for the river to clear, trying off the rocks in calm weather with prawns and pilchards or chrome lures for the salmon and tailor. Berley with bread and sand for the luderick and drummer that should be scooting through the washes and don’t be surprised if you hook some nice bream. Happy fishing.Reads: 713