Rug up for night delights
  |  First Published: July 2007

It’s time for some rugged-up night outings. All the good high tides are after dark this month, with small lows changing to large highs producing a lot of water flow and this will mean the fish will be even more active.

So pull on the Winter woollies and plan some night sessions.

The beaches have been swarming with mullet and the night predators have had a great time. With good mullet schools moving on our beaches, some nice mulloway will be on the prowl and suitable live baits will serve you well.

When the mullet start to thin out, the bream will really hit their straps. At the time of writing a few kilo-plus fish have already being taken off the beaches but more are likely this month. So please remember to limit your catch, not catch your limit.

The pick beach will be Lighthouse, with plenty of gutters forming between Port Macquarie and Bonny Hills. Fresh strip baits and fresh whole baits will get you into the bigger fish. Go on a scouting session early in the morning and mark your spots for the evening.

Tailor numbers have been patchy but the recent influx of baitfish along headlands and river mouths should mean some good greenbacks turn up, hopefully in numbers. Already some good fish have been caught around Point Perpendicular and I’m sure all the usual haunts around Port Macquarie and the breakwalls on the Camden Haven will produce.

Prime baits will be fresh pilchards and slabs of fresh mullet. The optimum times will be around dusk and first light, so make sure you time your outings to capitalise on some good fishing.

Offshore bottom-bouncers have been into some good fish. Those venturing wider have been coming home with some nice pearl perch and if the run is anything like last year’s, we should be in for a cracker season.

Inshore fishing has been on fire with squire really picking up and some good snapper to 10kg. With relatively flat seas and some favourable winds, this month should be a time for some sensational offshore action.


The estuary scene has been variable with numbers of fish caught differing from day to day and angler to angler. I’ve had some cracker sessions and some very tough ones.

Flathead have been in good numbers and seem to be throughout the system. A feed is not to hard to get if you find some flow and change in the bottom. Good areas to try are the mouth of the Maria River and the drop-offs just past Dennis Bridge.

Garfish numbers can be found in the top reaches of Limeburners Creek and around the back of Pelican Island. These tasty critters love a good berley trail and peeled prawn pieces on small hooks and no weight or under float is the go. So dust off the light gear and soak some bread and get the rolling pin ready for a feed.

If you chase luderick then they will definitely be in their usual haunts. I’ve seen a fair few weed-soakers lately up the Maria River and in Limeburners Creek. With some good tidal flow blackfish should be on the target list for many anglers.

There should be shoulder room only on the walls during the day and those venturing out after dark will do well around the moored boats, along the jetties and near the fish co-op. The only problem could be sourcing some good weed.

If you’re into tossing a few lures or looking to get the kids into fishing with plastics, look for good weed beds and drops-off and fish some large plastics for flathead. Good numbers of fish should be about and the kids love getting into the action.

I’d start with some 4” Turtleback Gulps or 3” Atomic Shads rigged on 1/8oz or 1/4oz jigheads. Slow-roll the plastic with little flicks and hops, then change to quick flicks and long drags to get the fish interested. Allowing for the lure to sink to the bottom is essential.

Bream have been hit-and-miss with some good fish holding in resident spots and a number of small fish sprinkled about. Some days you’ll do really well, others you’ll earn your money to get a bag.

Big bream have been holding on substantial structure and seem to be on their own. Catching one decent fish will mean you’ll need to travel some distance to get another.

Hard lures have been working a treat on these fish, a good suspending lure or a nice minnow style that you can work extremely slowly for maximum time in the strike zone is the go. Hopefully by the end of the month the big bream that are out on the beaches will move back into the river and start feeding up after their spawning run.

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