Reasonable fishing prospects for August
  |  First Published: August 2015

As I write this, word has just come through that the Fisheries Department is looking to find areas to construct artificial reefs. Now that’s great news for us fishermen, and hopefully they will end up in a spot that is close enough for trailer boats to reach.

There have been a lot of these put out in the past, off Botany Bay, Nowra, and other south coast areas. When you look north from Sydney, well maybe Swansea or Newcastle deserves it too. We have a huge number of fishing clubs in this area and north of here there are enough reefs that exist naturally, but the reefs off Newcastle and Swansea are few and far between. A lot are just gravel patches or small reefs, so to all you fishing clubs in this area, band together, put in an application, and with the numbers of clubs here we may be in with a chance. Don’t forget we have a shipping port and all the equipment to make the job easy for Fisheries to have the reef taken out to sea. Barges and tugboats are all here, so let’s hope we end up with it.

The fishing of late has been sweet rather than sour, but you really have to pick the tides and day. Drummer, luderick and bream have been taken off the rocks around the washes, and some big groper are hunting these areas also. Divers have seen a few large models off the front of Merewether Baths, as well as schools of bream and tailor should be around off the platforms as well as salmon that are travelling through. Try throwing chrome lures right out into the back of the suds, pull them through the wash and you should hook up.

The beaches have been fishing well of a night. Stockton Beach along with Nobbys Beach have given up a few nice mulloway around 10kg, and if you down-size your rigs, bream just after dark have been taken on small cubes of mullet. Not a lot of fishermen fish Nobbys and I now know why. Council has made it so hard to spend a night out fishing with parking restrictions in the area. The reason being hot car enthusiasts gather here and they want them moved on, so you can’t park overnight. Yes, parking officers even get you after midnight — thanks for the ticket guys, I really appreciate it.

Offshore has been a hot and cold affair. North Reef is covered in baitfish — yakkas, pike and squid, so you would think that the kingfish and mulloway who escaped the fresh in the river would be out there, but little has filtered through. Some big bream have been taken by those getting bait over the sailing boat bait wreck out from the surf club on Stockton Beach, so give this a go on the way out in the afternoon.

Schools of salmon are in Stockton Bight in great numbers, and the birds will show you where they are. There has been some tailor travelling with them as well.

Sand flathead are on the sand around the Mudhole, and drifting with slabs of any filleted fish will snag them. Some have been of good size too. One angler saw a shadow under the boat and thought it was a great white shark, as they seem to hang in Stockton Bight, but it was an oceanic hammerhead of about 13’ long. It surfaced and gave the 2 of them a nice fright. Usually a deep-water shark, it was in very close.

The Mudhole often has large sharks hanging around, so bait must be in abundance there at the moment. It may be the place for mulloway at night.

In the estuary, the river downstream from Raymond Terrace is returning to its natural salty state. Even with the amount of rain we have had lately, the fish are on the chew. Try Tomago or inside Ash Island. Bream have been caught mainly on bait during the night, with a few undersize mulloway as well. Please let them go, as they are the future of this fishery and don’t taste so good anyway — that’s why they’re also known as soapy jew They have a funny taste until they’re about 5kg.

All in all, the weather and westerly winds will determine the areas you can fish this month, and the wind can be freezing if you’re in the brunt of it. The beaches and close offshore waters tend to be calm, so close reefs or drifting the back of beaches will be the best spots. Try trolling a safe distance out from the breaking waves and you should get salmon and tailor.

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