Look for good water
  |  First Published: May 2007

Warm and cool water are mixing well offshore and in close, making it hard to predict what can happen to the fishing on this part of the coast,

Regardless of the mixed water, there have been numerous amounts of exceptional fish taken, mostly from the estuaries and close inshore grounds. The wider grounds are fishing OK but it’s been hit and miss.

If you haven’t a water temp gauge on your boat you will be fishing blind this month but you can often find cool, green water bumping straight into the deep blue warmer current.This is a magnificent place to run a spread of skirts or livebaits for bigger pelagics, especially if you’re out over the 100m mark. Between this depth and the shore there have been people successfully trolling small chrome lures and Christmas tree skirts around 25mm to 80mm long for tailor and mack tuna.

The bottom-bashers have had a wild time of it with reports of Summer and Winter fish still in the mix. Some have ventured to their favourite grounds and found a few bream and a lot of leatherjackets, which haven’t seemed to leave this year. But then the next trip out they’ll hit good squire, flathead, trag and the occasional jewfish.

A lot depends on the water temps. If you’re in a fishing club or have mates fishing offshore this month, give em a ring and ask what the temperature was. You might find within 20km north or south the water can be 5° to 7° warmer or cooler.

The estuaries have been exceptional with good catches reported all over.

Kingfish have been the major players in the southern parts of Lake Macquarie, along with a few cobia and some great jewfish. I think this month will fish even better for the surface fish.

The drifters and reef dwellers have also played ball with good numbers of squire and bream around the central sections of the lake. A few really big tailor have been captured, the majority on deep-diving lures that reach 6m to 9m trolled slowly in the deeper sections.

Newcastle Harbour has again lived up to it’s name as a great jewfish haunt. We have been surprised at the number of surface crashes we’ve seen on our last few trips, when boiling mullet and small blackfish have gone crazy in a frantic attempt to escape the big tailor and jewfish rounding them up for a feast.

From now to August is prime time for larger jewfish in the Hunter River with lures and livebait.

Flathead are making a solid effort to be in the headlines with a number of Port Stephens locals travelling to Stockton to walk the banks and slowly retrieve soft plastics. Fish from 2kg to 4kg have been common but expect a lot of smaller ones in between.

This month I would get the boat out and head into the estuaries or close offshore. Take the time to get fresh squid or yellowtail; the slimy mackerel have been few and far between this year.

With an armoury of fresh bait I would troll lures to my favourite grounds and hope the snapper and big bream will be around. And if you stick it out til dark, livebaiting should see some jewfish hit the deck.

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