Snapper hit-and-miss
  |  First Published: September 2007

Fortunately the fishing is getting back to its seasonal routine after the Winter floods, with most fishos heading out to grounds they know will produce for them.

The Hunter coast snapper season has been a hit-and-miss affair but after the big blows the fish have really been on. At other times it’s taken an hour of solid berleying or flicking soft plastics until your arms ache to get results. Anyway some good fish have appeared in catches.

The Hunter River is fishing quite well with some unusual captures of fish more prone to brackish being taken well down into the salty areas. A carp weighing an amazing 23kg was caught on a prawn down past Raymond Terrace. Bass also have been way out of their usual haunts with a few caught near the Toule Street bridge, including one I witnessed.

Tailor are showing up in fair schools and a lot of them have entered Lake Macquarie and Newcastle Harbour. Deeper-diving lures have taken most of the bigger fish, which seem to be travelling under the hordes of choppers on the surface.

Bream are making their mark with some really big models taken around the coal-loading wharves and along the southern channel of the river.

If there’s no report from me next month it’s because I told you where the Stockton locals caught these fish to nearly 2kg – the drop-over near Kooragang Island. I suppose it isn’t really a secret spot, it’s marked by a shipping channel buoy.

The bottom drops from 5m to about 20m in areas and the boys were floating prawns weighted by a little split shot. This is also a recognised spot for jewfish and some huge flathead are taken on the shallow mud before you hit the drop-over.

Outside, things have been quiet although the salmon are still around in droves. Bottom-bashers are being kept happy with morwong, squire and the odd groper but it’s hit-and-miss. Whales have been around in big pods and they are in very close – leave them alone.

No matter what time of year, flounder seem to end up in my boat. I’m not complaining because they eat well but every trip I seem to get one or two; they just seem to be around all year.

Live bait is seeming to be increasingly hard to get hold of around Newcastle. The jewie-chasers are rising earlier and earlier to get a few and the place is swarming with sweep, mado and every other sort of small fish other than yellowtail or pike.


On the beaches, there have been hundreds of bluebottles washed up so be aware that they sting like hell. But the fishing is OK with better quality tailor than in the estuaries roaming the beach channels and holes of an afternoon.

Some bream have been taken as well as some school jew but nothing much bigger. Here’s to better fishing into the next few months.

No 1

Bluebottles sting like hell and have made unwelcome visits to Hunter beaches. They say very warm, fresh water eases the sting.

No 2

The snapper out on the reefs not huge by any means but are good table fish.

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