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Enticing winter options
  |  First Published: August 2014



The weather took longer than usual to get down to the ‘chilly’ status this season but it certainly made it there eventually that’s for sure. With water temps down around 15°C in some parts of the lake and the ambient temps not much higher, you can forgive those anglers who find it hard to get motivated during these cool periods.

If the fishing wasn’t so good I’d certainly stay in bed on a Sunday morning sipping coffee and reading the paper much more often. Having the boat ramp so close by and a wife willing to bring my mid-morning coffee to the ramp on my fishing days certainly makes it easier for me to hang out on the water a little longer in search of those winter mulloway.

With winter coming to an end we really only have another month or two left of the cold water species and techniques and before you know it we will be back to throwing poppers at whiting on the flats. In the meantime, the options for local anglers are still very enticing.

LAKE MACQUARIE

The Lake still has plenty of great sportfishing on offer with some fantastic tailor over 60cm coming in, and the salmon schools should remain thick for at least another month throughout the lake. Anglers trolling deep diving hardbody lures are finding some great tailor schools about and the salmon are usually not far away. Once these schools are located its best to shut the motor down and drift through/around these schools of fish and work soft plastics for the best results. Areas such as Belmont Bay, Coal Point and Salts Bay are prime locations to start your search.

It’s been another good winter for big flathead from the deeper areas of Lake Macquarie. Plenty of big girls in that 70-90cm range have been landed and generally they are coming from the waters around 8-10m deep. The schools of baitfish are the key to locating these large flathead. Whether it’s small tailor, whitebait or even a salmon school, you will usually find the flathead laying deep picking up the scraps around the schooling fish.

The standout lure by far this season has been the Keitech Swing Impact FATS lures in 3.8” and 4.8”. Colours such as browns, greens and silvers have been very effective. Please try to release all these large breeding female flathead as it is very important for our system to protect future stocks.

Bream anglers also have plenty to be happy about at the moment with some bream over 40cm being caught. Both bait and lure anglers have been getting results. During the cold night hours bait anglers have been getting some great numbers in shallower waters, and lightly weighted prawns and mullet strips have been very effective. For lure anglers, fishing with blades in deeper water is the key to success at the moment. Chain Valley Bay has produced its usual run of some stonker winter bream but the numbers have not been great unfortunately. Other areas around fishing point have been producing slightly smaller fish but at times they have been in great numbers.

Mulloway continue to be about as they have been all year, which is great to see. They’re the holy grail of estuary fishing for many anglers and once you start to crack the code with them you will soon realise why that is.

I’ve noticed a good number of smaller mulloway as well this year being caught and released, with plenty of fish around 40-50cm not uncommon. That’s a great sign that jewfish numbers, as long as managed correctly, should continue to improve. The great thing is that not all the fish have been small, with good fish up to 1m being encountered by keen anglers. Areas such as Wangi, Coal Point, Belmont Bay and Bolton Point continue to produce the goods. Lures are proving as effective as always but live bait anglers are also finding their share of the action.

One thing I have found surprising this year has been the number of good quality snapper that anglers have been catching in the lake. Although certainly not huge fish compared to what many anglers around Australia get to experience, it is still pleasing to see such well conditioned reds and in sizes of around 50cm. Not only are they tasty but they’re great little sportfish as well.

OFFSHORE

Offshore fishing might not be as action packed as during the summer months but those looking for a feed will be heading home very happy more often than not. Quality snapper, nannygai and kingfish are all on offer and in good numbers and size.

The offshore reefs in deeper water are the better options during these winter periods. Areas from the south including Texas and the perch ground right up to Allmark off Port Stephens are all good options, and on the right days locations off Swansea such as the Farm can produce a good feed.

ROCK AND BEACH

Rock and beach anglers will be rewarded for dipping their toes in the cold stuff as well. Some great drummer can be found in the washes and there are really good bream also being pulled from these same areas. Lightly weighted prawns are the go-to bait, and pilchard cubes are also proving effective on these bream.

Some solid mulloway have been landed off the local beaches, with places such as Blacksmiths being among the better options. Whole squid or large mullet fillets have been the downfall of some great mulloway over the past month. Rock anglers patiently fishing live baits have scored the odd reasonable kingfish as well, and although not the prime time for this action it certainly shows the fish are there for those willing to put the effort in still.

For the very latest on what’s biting, visit the friendly team at Jayro Tackle, 396 Pacific Hwy Belmont.

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