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Fishy conditions ahead
  |  First Published: October 2015



Thank goodness that’s behind us for another year. The cooler weather should be well and truly over for 2015 now, and we can all look forward to a fishy summer ahead.

It’s that time of year when gamefishing clubs look to the first marlin of the new season, we see the water temps on the increase and daytime temps also getting into much nicer territory. It’s also that time of year when bream anglers start to look towards their nearest flats and start thinking topwater. Bass anglers are getting excited as well, as it won’t be too long now until they start to hear that sweet sound of their cicada friends.

Lake Macquarie becomes a hive of activity when summer comes around and the waters warm up, but the great thing about the area is that the fish don’t shy off. For many anglers, myself included, October is a great month to start chasing bream on hardbody lures in shallow waters. Much of the lake’s edges offer great bream fishing, and many anglers will throw shallow diving hardbody lures such as the Pro Lure S36, Austackle Ranger or the like.

Another VERY exciting way to target the bream from now throughout summer is to plug away at the edges around the lake with surface lures. Walk-the-dog style lures or even small poppers are a great option and a very exciting way to chase the old Lake Mac bream. Fish light and you will certainly get better results. If you’re keen and trust your abilities, 2-3lb straight through fluoro is very effective. Equally effective and a little safer for expensive lures is 3-4lb braid and a nice long leader of 4-6lb fluoro.

Flathead numbers are also on the increase, and the locals are catching plenty which is great to see. October is generally the last month that I put in any effort chasing flathead in deeper water, and from next month onwards I’ll start to chase them in shallow waters again. Generally a soft plastic around 4-5” will do the trick this month in the deeper waters, but don’t be surprised if a few flatties smash your hardbody bream lures as well as we move into summer. Fishing Point, Coal Point, Belmont Bay and Bolton Point are all great options to toss a soft plastic around in search of a feed of flathead. Bait anglers will score good results in these same areas, too.

Mulloway are also about in good numbers, and lure anglers and bait fishers alike are getting into them. Gone are the days when it was thought you could only catch a mulloway soaking a livey at night. Many nice mulloway have come from the lake in the past month from anglers flicking lures during the day, but in saying that there’s been no shortage of nice fish caught at night by live bait anglers either. It’s great to see and shows the quality of fish that are in our lake.

OFFSHORE

Offshore fishing is what many locals are now turning their attention to, with the warmer currents and bait rich waters not too far off now. We should start seeing bait balls of slimies move in over the next month or so, and mahi mahi (dolphinfish) should start to make an appearance. We’ll also see marlin numbers increase. Shark anglers will see more current offshore, and with it more toothy critters will start to be boated. All in all, as long as the weather gods play ball we might just see another great gamefishing season off our part of the world.

The key to gamefishing really is persistence. It’s not an easy sport; it’s often rough and tough but the rewards can be astounding. There are few feelings that compare to being hooked up to a large gamefish, and it’s a rush that’s hard to imagine until you’ve experienced it yourself. I am by no means a hard-core gamefisher – I just dabble in it when the opportunity arises – but when I do go out and it all comes together, it’s such a buzz. If you’d love to give gamefishing a try, I recommend getting in touch with your local game club. In our area there’s no shortage of great gamefishing clubs, and I suggest you get in touch with Central Coast GFC, Lake Mac GFC or even Newcastle GFC. They are all great local clubs and will all be very happy to help out any new members wanting to get into the sport.

If you’re looking to plan an offshore trip over the coming season, here are a few tips to help see you hook into the action.

Firstly, if you are happy to chase a feed of mahi mahi, get out and hit the fisheries FADs and any fish trap markers you come across. A live bait is a great option for the better quality fish. Cubed pilchards will see you have plenty of fun on smaller fish, and soft plastics are also a great way to enjoy these summer time delights.

For those anglers set on nailing a marlin this season, there are a couple options for you. Live baiting or lures – the choice is yours. If you are chasing the smaller inshore marlin, live baiting around the bait balls is hard to go past. A slow trolled live slimy is hard for any marlin to resist.

For lure anglers, a spread of 6-10” lures is ideal, and generally around 7 knots is a good trolling speed for these lures. Don’t be too focused on thinking you need to fish really wide to nail a marlin. So many anglers fish too wide during summer and come home with a zero when they could have spent their time more wisely working the inshore grounds. They would not only have saved plenty on fuel but would more than likely have seen more action as well.

ROCKS

Rock fishing anglers also have plenty to smile about, with plenty of opportunities ahead. The kingfish should start to move into the shallow waters, and that also means the rock ledges. Floating out a live yakka is a great option for anglers chasing a kingie or two.

Another effective option is to spin with lures. Stickbait style lures such as Ocean Potion lures are a great option. They cast a mile on the right gear and are the perfect tool for stirring up a few inshore kings.

As always, the fish won’t get caught sitting on the couch, that’s for sure! Just remember to take care out there this summer and enjoy the action that’s on offer. For the offshore anglers, make sure you have all your safety gear in order and head out with another boat or two when possible.

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