It’s been a cool winter so far, however the water temperatures haven’t reflected this. We’ve had unseasonably warm ocean currents, and the water in our estuaries hasn’t dropped like it normally does either.
This month we should see some further drops in air temperatures with westerly winds occurring at this time of year. That means it’s time to rug up and get amongst the action.
Offshore fishing will be weather dependent, and windows for trips wide could be limited. One good option this month will be heading out off Point Plomer looking for some pearl perch and snapper. If the currents remain warm then kingfish will also be worth a shot.
For those not wishing to venture that far, the flathead grounds straight out from the Hastings River bar will be worth a try, as at this time of year they normally produce some decent feeds of flathead.
The inshore reefs off Nobbys and Lighthouse Beach will also be a good place to target some plate-size snapper. Lure fishing for snapper is always very popular and at times it’s the easiest method. What’s easier than a packet of plastics and a few jigheads? But you can’t discount the benefits of bait fishing at this time of year. A well-rigged squid may well prove to be an irresistible treat for some nice snapper this month, so it could be worth the effort to have a bait option along with your artificial baits when heading offshore this month.
Estuary action this month will definitely concentrate in the bottom reaches of our systems, with quality bream, luderick and mulloway on offer to those who show perseverance and patience.
With clear water flowing in on run-in tides, luderick fishermen are already lining up on the walls and other vantage points to target their quarry. Weed is always the best bait but don’t discount yabbies and peeled prawns. The best spots to get a feed this month will be the bend on the southern break wall in the Hastings River and off the rocks at Henry Kendall Reserve on Stingray Creek off the Camden Haven River.
Bream anglers will also do well as the tide pushes in, with fresh baits taking quality fish. Lure anglers will also do well fishing soft plastics and vibes deep along the rock walls. The tide gauge on the main coal wall opposite Port Macquarie’s Town Green is a good place to start and work your way along the wall heading upriver. Deep holes along the Settlement Point Road rock wall are top places for an afternoon or evening fish from the bank this month, as there are bream schooling in these holes before making a move to the sea. The best baits are prawns and cut baits, fished on simple rigs with as little lead as possible.
We’ve had very little rain this winter (and there’s not much predicted on the horizon) so we have clear waters which means lots of baitfish. As with most systems this means lots of mulloway, and recently we have seen an increase in the size of mulloway caught in our system. Most quality fish have been caught after dark and taken on a variety of methods, from live baits to cut baits and lures, with big soft plastics hopped on the bottom proving to be the best lure option. Top spots this month will be areas with deep water nearby. Dennis Bridge is the primary spot, although current bridge works may be spooking the fish a bit. Deeper holes downriver and in the Maria River should prove to be good spots to target school and larger mulloway.
Beach fishing hits its straps this month, with some excellent gutters forming on our beaches. Dunbogan Beach is always a top location, however I’ve had reports of quality bream being taken off the beach at Middle Rock, which is at the northern end of Rainbow Beach at Bonny Hills. Lighthouse Beach and North Beach will also be top places to target bream, tailor and mulloway this month. Beach worms are possibly the best bait for all locations but it’s hard to go past some garfish for top cut baits for bream. The bream seem to love them and they hold onto hooks better than pilchards in the surf.
No matter what your fishing preferences this month make sure you enjoy the windows of opportunities you get and have fun targeting winter fish. Remember to watch the weather and check for wind warnings before hitting the water this month, and stay safe. No fish is worth risking your life for.Reads: 1013