Get your crab on
  |  First Published: November 2015

The mid north coast of NSW boasts some fantastic fishing during all four seasons but I am partial to the warmer months and the variety and comfort they bring. As the air temperature rises and the water temps lag a little behind it opens up a tremendous variety of angling targets, not just in the lake but freshwater and offshore too.

Blue swimmer and mud crabs become more active, the first of the school prawns run and daylight savings opens the window for a sneaky after work fish.

Flathead and whiting are plentiful and both have moved out of the tributaries and over the sand flats. The spawning congregations of whiting around the bridge, make them easy targets on poppers, the schools of fish love the sand flats that border the Tuncurry channel. Early morning with a run out tide is a good time to test the water before heading off into the lake in search for bream and flathead. The alternative is to fish for the whiting over the sand depressions along the bridge length with yabbies, prawns or beach worms on a slacking tide of an evening. A run out tide and bait fed back to the bridge is killer on the big whiting and bream that hang out in the pylons.

Around the leases where there is a bit of current, the blackfish will entertain and frustrate those that want to target them. Blackfish weed is not easy to come by and those with local sources protect the location. Pacific Palms area and the pool on the Forster side break wall are two common locations for weed but don’t expect too much. For the nocturnal anglers the blackfish can be caught on bread and yabbies at night and a run in tide fishing from the boardwalk pontoon (behind Gloria Jeans) is a good spot to start for the land based angler.

In the lake the bream have made their way into the rivers and the Coolongolook is producing plenty of good sized fish around the snags. The number of small prawn schools is the reason the bream are there, thus prawn baits and yabbies are a good option. By the end of the month the surface bite should be in full swing as we hear the first of the cicadas belting out their drumming racket. Slow rolled hardbodied lures will get the bream going and it may well be a good year in the tributaries. On the way up to your chosen river it pays to stop and have a cast or two at the points of the islands and leading edges of land mass points. The shallow water will hold flathead and they are mostly in the 40-50cm range – a perfect table sized fish.

One spot on the coast that does seem neglected for flathead is Smiths Lake. The shallow basin of water holds plenty of good flathead, crab, and stud whiting so if you’re looking for a sea change Smiths might be the answer. Just remember there is a Marine Park Zone in Smiths so consult your maps carefully. A good boat ramp can be found off the Lakes Way near Tarbuck.

The break walls have lulled into the hit and miss effort that most walls do. Evening fishing is still producing roaming bream and the odd blackfish on yabbies. Mulloway are sporadic, one night may produce and subsequent evenings fail. The use of live bait will enhance your chances. A flurry of 90cm fish were hauled after the fresh water flush we got in late September but the quality and numbers of fish has dwindled since. Perhaps the best bet is to coordinate a dark moon and run out tide when the fish would be expecting a run of prawns, gather along the wall and take advantage.

For visiting anglers over the coming holidays who are looking for a fantastic offshore trip, I would suggest you contact Shane Crockett of Forster Sport and Game Fishing Charters. You can email at --e-mail address hidden-- or give him a call on 0413 475 233 . Shane knows the water around Forster as well as anyone and can find you the fish to make the day well spent.

With the warming weather and water the seasonal kingfish and mahi mahi will no doubt be close to the FAD and local reef areas. Local reefs from Blackhead to Seal Rocks will have flathead and the odd pearl perch or pinky snapper but it is almost essential that you have a good sounder to scour the area you intend to fish. This will save a lot of wasted bait and time.

In the freshwater the emergence of thick weed will restrict the bass fishing in the lower reaches of the freshwater unless we get a good flood to rip it all out. The weed makes it terribly difficult to fish with only pockets of clear water available. Fouled hooks from the floating and fixed weed can make it difficult to fish properly and if it persists the only answer is to fish weedless with the hook point tight to a plastic. The weed does not bother the fish too much, if anything it provides good cover and increases shrimp as a source of food. Higher reaches might also be an answer if the weed situation gets too bad.

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