Cool weather producing hot results
  |  First Published: June 2015

A lot of anglers are probably guilty of backing off on their fishing in the cooler months of winter, and let’s face it, after working all week then having to get up early to the sound of that alarm on Saturday morning, plus leaving the comfort of a warm bed can be difficult. So let’s jump up and get the kettle on, because the fishing at Port Macquarie can be very rewarding and the fish tend not to worry too much about the weather. They still enjoy a feed, just different techniques may be needed to catch your favourite species.

Hastings River

The river has had several flushes over the last couple of months, but every time it started to clear we would get another downpour. This made for difficult fishing up-river. Hopefully when reading this it should be back to normal and we can put in a full effort on the water.

A lot of fish will be down towards the mouth this month, with all the walls likely to produce quality yellowfin bream. Those anglers in boats will be predominately using deep plastics and vibration blades. This style of fishing accounts for a lot of bream now. While the rock walls are great areas, it pays to use your sounder and look in some of the deeper sections of river too. There are some holes that produce fish away from more obvious structure, and when you find them you usually have it all to yourself.

For the bream fishos that like to bait fish land based, then fishing off the southern and northern walls are worth a try of a night or early morning with mullet strips or nippers. Fishing from your boat along the Coal Wall can see you doing the same thing.

Flathead will bite all through the year and throwing plastics for them, be it wrigglers or other styles, will be worthwhile. I tend to work my lures a fair bit slower now and the reason is colder water temps definitely make the flathead more likely to only have 1 shot at a lure. Chasing lures and having several goes at them doesn’t seem to be on their minds, so slow it down and work the area more thoroughly.

There has been quite a few mulloway in the river and they should continue to bite this month. Throwing big plastics and hardbody lures from the walls of a night is the go. As we know, a lot of bait is at the front of the rivers now and a high tide just after dark can equate to the fish of a lifetime. All the deeper holes up to Wauchope and also along the Maria will produce mulloway. The majority will be in the 60-90cm range, but they are great fun on lighter gear. And don’t worry, there are some bigger fish that get into the act as well, so as always, be prepared, check that leaders are not chafed, and make sure hooks are sticky sharp. That way when you hook-up you give yourself every chance of landing the fish.

Through the day, both North and South Wall should show ample signs that the blackfish are on, as you will see floats moving along the wall with a small army of anglers chasing these tasty fish. Winter is a great time to pursue them in the river and off the rocks, so grab your green weed or cabbage and get into it.

OffShore Fishing

Well we’ve had a special season on inshore sportfish and recently Danielle Blanch captured a superb Spanish mackerel of 32kg. An excited Danielle said, “This is the biggest fish of my life!” and she’s accounted for some great fish including 1m wild barramundi and 10kg snapper. Well done.

Another notable fish came from Dave Wells’ boat Calypso — a cracking striped marlin of well over 100kg, caught by Damien Rafter. The boys raised 4 fish on the day for the 1 hookup. The fish was caught on a skirted lure and was released.

I have been mentioning it for a while now, but it is time to get into the snapper inshore. Weather permitting this month may be the 1 that produces the goods. I am so looking forward to the sound of a screaming reel as 1 of those shallow water reds takes my plastic or jig — bring it on! The snapper grounds from Port Macquarie to Camden Haven can produce exceptional fishing, and working from in close to out wider as the morning moves into the afternoon can see you covering a lot of water with pleasing results.

Rock and Beach

It’s June and we are looking at tailor, drummer, blackfish and bream as the mainstays of our bags off the rocks this month. The local headlands have some great features, and by sending down a peeled prawn or a piece of cunje on a lightly weighted 1-2/0 hook should see you into some action. I usually fire out either a chrome slice or a ganged pillie at first light. When worked through the wash, you will know pretty quickly if tailor are present. The bite period will not last long and can be fast and furious.

Then, as the sun hits the water, it will be time to try for some drummer and bream. Remember, light pea sized ball sinkers running to the hook are all that’s required. This will keep you mostly away from the wrasse and the snags that are all too common if you go heavier.

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