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Fishing up a storm on the Hunter Coast
  |  First Published: December 2015



Our region has seen some awesome fishing lately, with a lot of warm water flowing down through our area and some storm systems encouraging some heavy humidity. This means one thing around here and that’s bass – the one fish you can count on in the late afternoon to be on the ball just before a storm hits.

The bass have moved upstream and are taking lures like there’s no tomorrow and some anglers have released up to 20 per session, with some exceptional fish among them. The best places that have been reported to me are the waters between Raymond Terrace and Morpeth and the mouth of the Patterson river. Both soft plastics and hard lures either trolled or cast at structure have been doing the damage – don’t forget that as the storm starts to lift the humidity it’s a great time for surface lures to do the trick.

In the Harbour there have been reports of big bream, mostly taken on baits but I am sure that around the wharfs and dog legs of rocks they will also chase lures. As it’s now prawn season, the bream are on the move and any lure resembling a prawn should get snatched. Don’t forget to use some trace as flathead have been grabbing lures in the same places as the bream, try the Stockton side out from the cricket ground or the drop off sandy area straight out from Kooragang Island point. I have been using Schneider traces and find they can be rubbed over rocks and around pylons with tenacity, no wonder they’ve been around for so long making lines.

On the beaches mulloway have been taken, with fishos employing fresh fillets of whiting caught just before dark then put out on sunset on big gear. I heard of a monster 26kg fish taken behind the soccer ground in the hole between here and the pipe just to the north. Tailor should start showing up this month. Mulloway love a fillet from these as well, just be aware the fish you fillet must be of legal size, avoid leaving bait on the beach up near the dunes when your down spinning or casting, as foxes have been grabbing bait and spoiling the day for a few anglers. Although it sounds funn, if one grabs all your bait then your time fishing is over!

Offshore on the closer reefs squid are still pretty thick and I am expecting them to be around over Christmas. There is nothing better than a feed of fresh squid off the barbie, and since they’re in big numbers, using the head or a couple of tentacles in the same place as where you’re catching them is a great way to entice the fish to bite. Nannygai, school mulloway and school kingfish are over the close reefs and further offshore. With the water temperature the way it is pelagic fish should be in their element, I predict a good marlin and mahimahi season this year, so a troll out wide with a stitched up bait or skirted lure may see you hook up.

The rocks have been giving up a few bream and flathead on the Stockton side of the Harbour, try the river mouth or just up from the Adolf wreck on the beach side. Squid have also been hanging out here.

I can’t wait to see what new tackle is available for us in the coming year. Christmas is the time the letter box fills up with all the specials from the tackle catalogues with new stuff to try out to put he fun in fishin. I know some companies have a few new rods and reels that will be released in the New Year, and we are all looking forward to that!

I hope everyone has a great and safe Christmas.

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