Off to a new start
  |  First Published: August 2007

‘Better get the council out to fill a few of these potholes,’ is the usual wry comment from the front of the tinny as you bash your way through the steep walls of water on the way out of the Hunter River.

“Hey, look, a big new reef on the starboard side! It’s got a name, the Pasha Bulker – have to be a few drummer in the washes at the stern of that. Bream, too, I’d say, and the sand spit forming on its bow may hold a whiting or two.’

Crowds from everywhere came to see the ship grounded on Nobbys Beach and it was an awesome sight to see such a huge ship sitting on its belly right on the beach. And many will be pleased now it’s gone but for those drummer and whiting.

Some of the worst floods in years have left Newcastle and the Hunter region in shock. Everyone at the time had a story to tell, drains were at their limit and with a monster tide surging in and swell pounding the coast, something had to give and every area around the city’s drains flooded.

As you would expect, the fishing since then hasn’t been the greatest after such a flush-out and the muddy stain off the coast from the Hunter River was around 6km long. But as this new month starts everything should be settling down and the fishing should fire.

The bad weather should bring on the drummer and get the snapper excited. Any rough weather through Winter creates a berley sensation for the fish and rock fishing should be brilliant.

August is also known for being the start of the westerly winds, bringing sedate conditions in close off the coast. Groper, leatherjackets and luderick love these conditions and fresh peeled royal red prawns or whole crabs are by far the best baits to soak in the suds or around kelp area’s.

Floating pilchards into the washes should result in some nice tailor and bream lurk around the rock walls this month so rough days or calm, there should be somewhere to fish.


Some of the largest jewfish are taken through August and after the flood the usual scenario is the better quality fish hunt throughout the Hunter river system, remembering that all the fresh sits above the sea water.

The first few hours of the rising tides around the river mouth should be the time to be chasing jewfish. The only drawback is the hard yards you have to put in to get live bait.

Here are a couple of tips to help you get yellowtail or garfish. If they are not behind the Adolph wreck on Stockton breakwall, try the drop-over in front of where the two lions sit at the entrance to the Lions Park on the Stockton side. At times it holds vast amounts of bait and it’s also a godsend if the rough westerly keeps you from getting to the Adolph or the sailing boat wreck out from Stockton Surf Club.

A good place to find yellowtail in a southerly is where the drop-off from Horseshoe Beach. A bait jig is a must but unweighted tidbits of prawn on 6m of handline can produce baits while you are sitting in spots chasing better fish.

There is nothing like fresh squid to tempt jewfish. The northern side of Stockton breakwall is the best hope, or if you are able to shoot out to North Reef and get a few back around dark that’s great.

A lot of so-called experts deny the fact that squid from the fishermen’s co-operative do work. Everyone knows they aren’t as good as a inky, messy, juicy, fresh squid but as a back-up on a set line, a co-op squid is an option.

The beaches have been producing at times and then it’s a complete shut-down but salmon and tailor are the cards.

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