February — the month of noise
  |  First Published: January 2015

It’s all action stations this month, with the cicadas and insects hatching, and leaving drains and culverts to take flight just before the storms start. It’s quite amazing how they know it’s about to rain and leave cover, and fish rise in the rivers and estuaries to gulp them from the surface with gusto.

The fishing has been great around the Hunter region, with bream, flathead the odd really big mulloway, whiting and flounder all over the beaches, plus estuary perch, bass, pink eye mullet and carp up in the rivers, and marlin, bonito, longtail tuna as well as mahimahi and kingfish offshore. The list just goes on and on!

I love this time of year; watching storms crack and then roll in, feeling the humidity rise sharply, then knowing the fish will let loose and go into a feeding frenzy. It’s not just bass or cod that do this; bream rise to the occasion as well, as do large mullet that slurp down small moths, dragonflies, cicadas, crickets — almost anything that’s flapping on top of the water.

February is always a hot month around here both for fishing and weather, so cover up even if when you leave in the morning it’s still pretty cool, because there’s nothing worse than bad sunburn. The reflection from the water makes you burn twice as badly, as does the reflection from the sand. A quick look through this magazine and you’ll see an array of long sleeve vented fishing shirts that are suitable for such conditions.

The estuary is fishing quite well, and on passing through Hexham I spotted a lot of crab pots bobbing around, so that’s an indication that the blue swimmers are moving upstream for a feed.

I have never seen so many kayaks on the water as I have in the past 2 months. They are definitely the new craze when lure fishing the top and bottom of the tides. Some are so well set up they look like a space craft going to the moon, full of electronics, electric motors, rod holders and other technological advances. It’s not like the old days where your balance has to be very good; these are built to carve through boat wakes and are more stable on the water.

The kayak guys I spoke to under Hexham Bridge said they had been luring bream on Gulp soft plastics and snagging a few flathead just upstream.

Offshore, trolling live baits or skirted lures are doing damage on mahimahi, kingfish, marlin, and small tuna. Just remember to keep changing skirt colours and sizes, as sometimes this really helps. Bonito, mac tuna and at times longtails will takes lures as small as a matchbox.

I haven’t heard much about the bottom bashing off Newcastle, but I am sure all the usual reef dwellers will be there, so happy fishing.

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