Port’s offshore action peaking
  |  First Published: April 2015

Port Macquarie’s great offshore fishing run looks likely to continue into the next month, as continued reports and pics come in of anglers tangling with small black marlin and Spanish and spotted mackerel. The beauty of this is that it is all happening from Plomer Bay to Grassy Head!

Some anglers are trolling livies, others are trolling skirted lures, but both appear to be working. If you want to target mahimahi, there has been plenty of smaller fish around the FAD and most boats are getting amongst them, so it is happy days.

For the guys wanting to chase a few reds in close, around the 20m mark has been the go. The reason for this is, once the tide starts ripping it has been difficult to work plastics or get baits down in the deeper water. The fish on offer have been good quality, with Ryan Ford recently getting his PB at 85cm — a cracking fish anyone would be happy to land. I would suggest April and May will see some very good reds come in, so be on the water for that.

Estuary Fishing

After getting a fair caning from above recently, the Hastings certainly ran a reasonable shade of brown and this altered our fishing targets and techniques. When the water is dirty, you will find most fishermen on the north and south walls chasing mulloway, and this time was no different. A few decent fish were caught and I was lucky enough to be involved in the capture of a 1.35m fish, caught by Kyle Vandermealen. Kyle was using a big floating hardbody lure and letting it go out with the bottom of the tide. The lure was about 60m away when retrieved, and sure enough it got belted!

After a bit of a struggle the fish was close enough for me to clamber down the wall for a gaff shot. As the pic shows, Kyle was one happy angler.

There were more fish landed, but a smaller run this time, with quite a few just legals being caught. With the water getting some clarity back, the fish will be chewing throughout the river. Some very nice whiting have been taken from the back channel near the marina. Again, poppers have been catching the majority of the fish. Also in the back channel, fishing into the shoreline has produced flathead and bream on small plastics. Try the Berkley Gulp in camo, or pumpkinseed jigging grubs, as they have been getting plenty of attention of late.

Flathead have been going crazy at Lake Cathie, as with the lake full to near opening height, they have all moved down the front. Seriously, it has been so easy to catch a fair few fish with either plastics or whitebait. The prawn imitations from Zerek and other companies have been great fish catchers too. I really must say when the fishing is like this it is great to get a feed, but a few anglers need to learn about ‘Limit your catch, not catch your limit’. I do not see the point of keeping 10 fish in the morning and then coming back to do the same in the afternoon. Luckily this is not the majority.

Prawns have been non-existent in the lake and that has been disappointing after earlier signs indicated we were in for a good season.

Rock and beach

While we were chasing mulloway from the wall, it was interesting to see a young fellow pulling consistently good size tailor from the beach side. With that in mind, North Beach should be good for tailor this month, as will Lighthouse and Grants Beach. While pilchards on gang hooks will get you onto some fish, over the last couple of seasons we have caught some of our bigger tailor on bonito fillets. I like using these as it really does open the door for a good mulloway to get in on the act.

Don’t forget that when the tailor are there a mulloway will never be far away. That’s why a few tailor heads and slabs are useful for bait. These can be put on a slightly heavier rod set up and thrown out waiting for the silver ghost to show up. Then who knows — your fish could be in the next issue of NSWFM!


Plenty of small black marlin are about. This specimen was caught and released on board Dave Wells’ boat Calypso.


A great breakwall mulloway taken by Kyle Vandermealen during the recent fresh.


Ryan Ford made the most of a terrific offshore day with this cracking 85cm snapper.


Big flathead are always a chance, and here’s another caught by Mandy Saxon on a recent trip.

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