What’s your bluewater game plan?
  |  First Published: November 2015

It’s certainly continuing to heat up now, both in and out the water. The ocean temperatures are on the rise and offshore anglers are eagerly anticipating a great summer bite with a warm east coast current in nice and close this year.

With it comes plenty of bait and a hot black marlin bite would be the hopes of many local trailer boat crews. From now onwards for the next 5 months or so can be a great time to hunt marlin off our coast. Every year sees plenty of these fantastic game fish landed off our waters. Certainly some years are better than others but without fail they will be on the chew in some form.

One of the good things about the run of inshore fish is that it gives many trailer boat anglers a good chance to tangle with these fantastic beasts as at times during the warmer months when everything lines up well for us it is not unheard of for anglers to come across these marlin in close, just a few kilometres offshore. But, before we get into the bluewater action let’s look inside the lake to kick things off.

Lake Macquarie really fishes great during the warmer months and now is as good as any to get out there on the boat or kayak and start putting the hours in. Lure anglers in particular love this time of year. There are plenty of good flathead in both size and numbers around the shallow waters at the moment and they will be for months now.

Shallow diving hardbody lures are a great tool for casting at these fish. If you’re over weed then a lure that is just above the weed is ideal. If over a sandy or muddy bottom then get a deeper diving lure should be used for best results. Any of the bays around the lakes edges are worth a cast in summer.

I’m not one who likes crowds, that’s for sure. I often find a new spot simply by trying out some new territory where I find no boats and this happens on more than the odd occasion. Don’t be afraid to try new ground. Also, remember the weather plays a huge role for lure anglers. If you fished an edge one day and it was a calm day for example, and that spot did not produce then do not discard that spot all together as you will often find that a bit of wind blowing onto this same edge can really turn things around, so keep at it.

Bream anglers are chomping at the bit to get on the lake at every chance they get from now until about April. Not only is it a good time to chase these great little sport fish on lures, but it’s prime time to start throwing around some surface lures to really ramp things up. This is a very addictive and challenging form of fishing and topwater lures are a little tricky to begin with, but once you get it sorted you won’t look back. It is a great adrenalin rush and very effective method for chasing bream on lures in warmer months. This method is particularly effective over weed beds and around the lake edges and weedy shorelines.

Bait anglers are doing well on mulloway at the moment and live baits as well as squid strips are particularly productive baits. The mulloway are being caught throughout all hours of the day. Anglers putting in the effort after hours are being rewarded, however so too are those anglers putting in the same effort during the daylight hours.

November is usually the first month of the year that we start to see kingfish move into the lake. Every year there are plenty of great kings landed throughout Lake Macquarie and I think most anglers would be surprised at just how good this is as a kingfish. Live squid is the number one bait for kingfish in the lake. Slow trolled live squid on a downrigger is extremely effective and will generally out fish all other forms of fishing when chasing these kings.

However as with everything some days things don’t go to plan, so you must keep your options open. Often it will be a live yakka that will turn on the bite, or even cutting up your squid into strips.

There are plenty of small kings around the Swansea Bridge each year and poppers are most effective. However, if you’re after a better quality fish then get into the lake around Coal Point and Wangi area across to the nearby channel markers as this is home to many solid kings each summer.

Rock fishing really starts to pick up now and many anglers who love their lure fishing from the stones really start to put the hours in from November onwards. It’s a great time to throw metals, poppers and stickbait lures from the ledges. There is plenty on offer with kingfish, bonito and even mahimahi making the odd appearance.

Many anglers I talk to like to cover their bases so they will often have a live bait floating out under a balloon while they spin their lures around. These live baits will often be hit by kingfish, but are also often taken by sharks swimming past, which certainly provide plenty of sport and entertainment for these anglers.

We will see an increase in bait activity with slimies starting to ball up as they are harassed by marlin and other warm water game fish. You really don’t need to run very wide at all to be in with a reasonable shot at a marlin during the summer months.

A good spread of lures around 6-8” in length with 3 or 4 lures will be enough to see you in with a real chance at one of these majestic fish. Often the run of inshore fish will only be small black marlin around the 30-50kg range so they are ideal for anglers who don’t have the vessel or the desire to head 30nautical miles offshore for the chance to catch a marlin.

Often anglers will elect to run a spread of lures until they come across these bait balls and then they will jig up a tank full in no time and start to slow troll. Sometimes just 2 live baits is enough to troll around and quite often the wait is not a long one.

Circle hooks are fantastic for this style of fishing as they have a great hook-up rate, generally in the corner of the marlin’s mouth, meaning the fish is nearly always released in great condition to fight another day.

It’s also that time of year when we start to see some big mahimahi landed. Often the larger fish will show up at the start and the end of the game fish season and generally they are by-catch by those anglers pulling lures for marlin. They’re certainly a welcome by-catch as they are one of the tastiest fish in the sea and a great sport fish too.

It’s usually a little too early to be trying the fisheries FADS in November, but it shouldn’t be too long before they start to show a few fish, but more on fishing the FADS in coming months.

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