The chilly stuff is really letting us know it’s here, that’s for sure. We’re experiencing very cold overnight temps, and if you’re out on the water when a little wind is also about you really know about it!
Water temps are also down, with temps around the 16ºC mark (give or take a little), which is usual for this time of year. The good news out of all this for anyone fishing Lake Macquarie is that there is plenty of good fishing on offer, regardless of what form of the sport you’re into. Whether it is bait fishing, lure fishing, offshore or in our magnificent lake, there are plenty of good options for those keen enough to be out there having a go.
The lake continues to impress me with its ever improving water quality. The marine life and the fish that can be seen here just keep getting better. Recently I had a few local turtles pop their heads up around my boat. They stuck around for a good few minutes and came nice and close, which was fantastic to see before they slipped off on their way again. I never tire of moments like that.
As for the fishing, the hard-fighting salmon are now thick once again throughout the lake and there are some real crackers in the mix. Many anglers are making the most of it and having some great days chasing the salmon on light gear and lures. Small 2-3” slim profile soft plastics are working well on them, with clears and white colours being very effective. More and more anglers are also now choosing to try their hand at flyfishing for these speedsters as well.
If you’re fishing the schools of salmon in the deeper parts of the lake, slow rolled blades are catching plenty of good fish. Bait fishers are also scoring good catches, with whole pilchards on ganged hooks or half pilchards unweighted working very well. Salts Bay is once again the go-to location but it’s by no means is it the only location to find them.
Many other species have also headed for the deeper waters this month, with some fantastic flathead being landed. Fish into the 80cm range are not uncommon, and working the 8-10m areas where you find good schools of bait can see you end the day with a good number of solid fish for your efforts.
There are also more than a few solid mulloway being landed with the same methods and in the same locations, so be prepared for that possibility. It doesn’t take long after hook-up to realise it’s something more substantial than a flathead. The majority of the lake mulloway are not huge fish, with most around the 80-90cm mark, but none the less they’re still great fish and well worth targeting. Paddle tail plastics with big wobbly tails are extremely effective and have been scoring most of the fish. The Keitech range of FATS plastics in particular have been scoring more than their fair share lately.
If you’re mainly targeting flathead with the hope of scoring a mulloway I’d suggest you stick with 3-5” lures. However, if you’re specifically after mulloway on a lure I’d upgrade slightly and work lures in the 5-6” range. Anglers fishing live squid and quality frozen squid are also scoring some great fish. Belmont Bay and Coal Point are two productive spots at present.
The big winter bream are also about in good numbers, and surprisingly not all bream have gone deep. By far the majority of good bags come from those anglers fishing the more southern and deeper locations, but some really good fish are still being pulled from surface lures which has been great to see for this time of year. Fishing deep around moored boats is producing good fish, and on occasion locations such as Myuna Bay/Bonnels Bay have fished very well. Chain Valley Bay has also been producing a few good bream into the 40cm range but they have been very hit-and-miss down south this year.
Small 2-3” soft plastics are fishing well and small 35-50mm blades are also doing some damage. Bait fishers have scored some very good catches of bream recently and I had a few customers in the shop over the past few weeks who have been doing well on squid strips fishing around Lucys Wall on very lightly weighted presentations.
There are good fish on offer at the moment. There is still the odd good kingfish coming from the ledges which is always a welcome result for rock fishos. Tailor and salmon are also giving these shore-based anglers plenty to chase with some very good quality tailor coming from the washes.
Beach fishers have also had some very nice bream catches recently, with peeled prawns being their preferred bait. There are also some good groper around at the moment for rock fishos. Prawns are proving effective as usual for these guys.
There’s certainly some water to cover this month if you want to score some fish. There are yellowfin tuna on offer again this month and the fish that are being encountered are coming from wide offshore. The fish seem to be widespread and moving around a bit with the current, so a spread of skirted game lures is still your best option to locate these tasty, hard fighting game fish.
Most yellowfin appear to be in that smaller 30kg size range but there are a few better fish out there. Generally you can expect to burn through a considerable amount of fuel looking for the action, but if all goes well and you locate the schools then it will be worth every cent, that’s for sure. It also pays to mix things up a little with your spread, and weighted chrome jet heads are very effective lures on tuna at times. It always pays to try a fit a minnow style lure in there as well. Remember if these fish are schooling then it’s a good idea to lay a berley trail and fish floating pilchards into the action.
Aside from the mighty YFT there are also some big kingfish coming in from the offshore reefs. As you would expect for this time of year, it is the reefs which are a little wider and in deeper waters that are producing the better fish and bigger numbers. Live baits fished deep are scoring good results. Deep water jigging with heavy metal jigs are also scoring fish and a few anglers have been dropping down large plastics in the 6-9” range and scoring some fantastic kings to 10kg, which has been good to see.
I will finish off this month by reminding you all to take care when out there chasing your fishing dreams. It has been really upsetting in recent months to see so many anglers washed off local rocks and on several occasion this has led to the death of these anglers. It is just terrible to be driving to work and hear of another angler being swept from our rock ledges. By all means do what you love doing but do it carefully and make sure you head home safely to your loved ones at the end of the day.
For the very latest on what’s biting, visit the friendly team at Jayro Tackle, 396 Pacific Hwy Belmont.Reads: 632