Well a very happy New Year to all our readers and I hope it has been an enjoyable and safe Christmas so far.
The hotter the weather gets, the hotter the fishing gets, and I’m not hearing any complaints that’s for sure. From the nearby freshwater dams to the offshore grounds and everywhere else in between, it has really turned on of late in the Lake Macquarie area.
With Christmas behind us for another year, we can now start to look at the season ahead and dream about what it may have in store for us. The daytime temperature is right up there, with local temps reaching into the low 40s and the water also very warm. The waterways are still a little too crowded for my liking, but that’s just one of those things at this time of year that we need to deal with. Some patience and a few deep breaths (quite a few on some days!) will see you get through the thick of it, and before we know it the kids will be back at school and our waterways will see a lot less pressure than over the past month. That’s when things will really kick up a gear or two.
Whether it’s bread and butter species like your bream and flathead or more glamorous targets such as offshore kingfish and mahimahi, they are all on offer and in good numbers too, so here’s to a good 2015 with plenty of fish for all.
Lake Macquarie is fishing well at present. For those after a feed of fresh fillets, there are great numbers of flathead around and many in the good eating size range of 45-55cm. If you’re lucky enough to get into a few larger ones, enjoy the fight and release them healthy for another day so we’ll have great flathead catches for years to come.
The lizards have moved into the shallows and we have been scoring double digit catches in 2-hour sessions in less than 1m of water at times. There are plenty of bays around the lake and most have shallow flats or weed beds that are offering great fishing. Shallow diving hardbodies are working very well, with the more natural colours getting the better results.
Bait fishermen working around the same bays are also getting good numbers of fish, and the humble prawn is currently an effective bait for flathead. Pilchard cubes are also working really well. Fishing Point, Wangi and Coal Point all have good fish on offer.
For those that are not aware, we also have a fantastic kingfish fishery here in Lake Macquarie, and every summer sees kingfish schools move into the lake. Fishing dead baits will result in a few fish, but for those who are serious about getting a good quality Lake Mac king, then you really cannot beat live squid. The good news is there are plenty on offer, so securing a day’s live baits is not hard to do. Soaking a live squid around one of the many marker buoys is the key, and then the waiting game begins. Reasonable tackle is needed, but don’t go overboard and get the most out of the sport they offer.
For lure anglers like myself who love to hit the bream on artificials during summer, then it’s prime time to visit those favourite shallow water spots. Some great fish are about, with many hitting the magic 40cm mark. Hardbody shallow divers and topwaters are all producing and there are loads of options to choose from. Pop into your tackle shop and discuss what’s working and what’s not. Again, natural colours are working best, with clears and browns doing the damage.
Offshore from Swansea is ramping up now that the water temperature is on the rise and bait activity has increased. Everything from kingfish and mahimahi through to marlin are on the cards at present. The local game fishos are hoping for a great run of inshore marlin again this year. Sometimes we get them and sometimes we don’t. Here’s hoping we do, and if so pulling small skirted lures around until you locate bait schools is a great way to kick things off. Once you locate the bait, then jig up a couple of slimies and slow troll them, and if all goes well you will soon have a feisty little black marlin ready for the tag pole.
From now on for the next few months, we will see good numbers of mahimahi around the fisheries FAD. If anglers play it smart and are share the FAD with each other, there is no reason why we all can’t get a turn at bagging some great fish to 1m. Soft plastics are an effective way of pulling fish, and cubed baits such as pilchards are also very effective. Mahimahi are a great sportfish, but also go very well fresh on the dinner plate, so treat your catch with respect, put it straight into an ice slurry, and there will be a very good reward at the end of the day for you.
Kingfish are also around in great numbers and have now moved onto many of the inshore reefs in shallower waters. A new technique that is working very well is the use of micro jigs. Micro jigs are basically metal jigs in that 20-40g range that are ideal for these inshore fish. Different colours are working on different days, so be sure to have a few options on board. Alternatively, soft plastics and live yakkas are accounting for plenty of good fish to 1m, with most in the 60-80cm range.
Rock and fishing has also been picking up nicely. Some great kings have been landed off the local stones of late, which is always nice to see. There are also good numbers of bonito at times and numbers will only continue to increase as summer really kicks into gear. Live bait is producing the bigger ones, but those after numbers and some great fun are throwing metal lures around. A variety of colours are working; some days it may be gold or green, on others pink or blue. Keep casting until you find what is working and stick with it.
Finally, the beaches have some great fish on offer, with solid mulloway coming in. Large California squid have been first choice for many locals of late, and great fish to 10kg have been landed fairly consistently.
Joel Edwards with another Lake Macquarie mulloway successfully tagged and released.
Jonathan Poole with one of many nice bream he has managed lately, working IMA Tetra hardbodies over shallow flats.Reads: 823