Hot weather, hot currents and hot fishing — does it get any better? If offshore fishing is your thing, then you’ll be on a high this month, that’s for sure. There is plenty of bait around, and bluewater species for those anglers who like to head out on the open ocean.
Estuary anglers are not missing out either. There is some great fun to be had for the shallow water lure anglers in February as well, so up off the couch, load the boat, hit the water, and hey the crowds have gone now too, which is always a big plus.
This is a fantastic month for lure anglers to be doing their thing here on Lake Macquarie. There is plenty on offer; the shallow waters have really warmed up and with that the fish have also come on the chew. Whiting are about in both numbers and size, and are responding well to a variety of topwater lures. The Gladiator Kozami 60 is doing particularly well.
Bream and flathead are available in great numbers and shallow diving hardbodies are doing the damage for most. Be sure to select a lure that has a diving depth suitable to the depth of water you are fishing. In shallowish water and during these warm periods, you don’t need the lure ploughing the bottom. I generally like one that is working the middle third of the water column during summer months, as the fish are active and will go for the lure without it needing to be on their heads. A variety of colours work, so trial and error is the key.
Virtually every bay around the lake has flats and weeds beds of some form, and these pretty well all hold fish. I usually work areas around the 1-2m mark during summer, and it is very rare not to find a few at the moment.
Another summertime favourite for locals is the yellowtail kingfish. These fish have again moved into the lake in good numbers and some have proven to be unstoppable. Areas such as Swansea Bridge and the channel markers have all been producing, and a very effective method this season has been micro jigging with 20-30g jigs. Aside from being a load of fun, it is also proving very effective on the kings.
Offshore, and the kingfish are even thicker. Bird Island has had some very productive days, with many good fish coming aboard. Lures are working, but also cubed pilchards and live baits. Most of the inshore and offshore reefs are holding good numbers of kings, with Texas and the perch grounds the pick. Deepwater jigging is scoring well as usual, but a deep-set live yakka is also hard for any king to resist.
Mahimahi are present both in size and numbers. The early season indicators are very good, with some great fish coming aboard. Drifting a live bait past the FADs is producing, as too are large soft plastics worked around them. Another simple yet productive method is to fish small pilchard cubes on a 1/0 hook to a short 50cm trace, then a running ball sinker. This will see a feed secured in next to no time.
Shark anglers have been having a blast lately, with great numbers of bities encountered. Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club members have been scoring very well on the toothy critters. Many boats are getting a more than 1 good fish per trip. These shark anglers are working their drift on the wide grounds, and the canyons are also a good general area to set up a berley trail and begin the waiting game.
February is one of the prime marlin fishing months. Each year sees a run of inshore blacks and these fish are well within reach of trailer boats. You don’t need heavy game tackle either. Two decent 10-15kg outfits, a couple of skirted trolling lures, and you’re in with a shot at an east coast marlin.
Although many marlin are taken on the inshore grounds each year, there are other key areas to try. Norah Canyons also fishes very well at times, and the Car Park off Port Stephens is very popular with both marlin and anglers alike. Generally your best bet when fishing an area like this is to jig some live slimies where the fish are feeding on balled up bait, and then set them out the back and either drift around the general area or slow troll while waiting for the bite. Generally it doesn’t take long.
Rock fishermen are also in luck, as things have really picked up for those fishing the stones. Bonito are about and are an excellent sportfish. Mixed in with the bonnies are some extremely solid kingfish. If you want to specifically target a kingie, 1 method is to set out a live bait under a balloon and float it out from the rocks. The other productive method is to spin with suitable gear and use a variety of lures including surface stickbaits, poppers and metal slugs.
Once hooked up, it’s time to settle in and enjoy the ride. This style of fishing can be exhilarating and offers an added level of excitement of being down among the washes, but it is critical that you take care when chasing whatever fish you’re after. Too many lives are lost every year by anglers pursuing their goals. Even if it looks fishy, if it is simply not safe, then head home and reschedule for another day.
Jayro Tackle sponsored bass angler, Trent Goddard, with a pair of Lostock bass he recently tempted.
Brad Knight with one of many nice bream he has managed lately on the Damiki DTSCO lure.
Some nice bream are on offer for the anglers willing to put the time in on the flats during this warm weather. Small hardbody lures are working a treat.Reads: 802