Fishing for festive favourites
  |  First Published: December 2015

I cannot believe how fast these last twelve months have vanished into fishy memories! Once again we have Christmas and the holiday season upon us and with that a whole host of fishing opportunities. Let’s look at what December can bring us besides the big fella in the red suit!

The Rivers

December will be exceptional for most of our favourite species and there will be a few decisions to make about your desired target. Will you chase whiting and bream with surface lures, or get a feed of flatties on plastics? Maybe chasing a mulloway is the way to go – a species that has remained on the scene despite heavy boat pressure on the water. Then again, it may be nice to go for the leisurely opportunity and simply lay out a couple of crab traps and find a nice little spot to send out a nipper or prawn while the muddies crawl into your awaiting trap. If bream and whiting are your favourites try all the flats such as the front of the Hasting Rivers near the sand spit and Limeburners Bay. Cast a popper to catch these fish in this area or slow roll your shallow running hardbodies while moving towards the myriad of oyster farms.

Lake Cathie has already started to fire and whiting on surface is exceptional here and you don’t necessarily need a boat. Other systems like the Camden Haven will also produce good catches over the sand flats. Flathead should not be too difficult to lure – fish the edges and shallow drop offs with assorted plastics or, if you prefer, drift whitebait along the edges of weed beds – another deadly method.

For the Bass fishos this is prime time for an early morning hit out or even an after dark session to get you into some serious fish. Bass areas to try are the Maria river, Wilson River or even a quick drive to the Macleay System. Take note, if you hear the louder the cicadas, the better the bass fishing! Fishing for bass can reach another level of fun so make sure you have some imitations in your bass kit.

Mulloway have really turned it on in last month with plenty of fish caught throughout the system. The main trick will be getting away from the boats which can be hard at this time of year, so I tend to fish early or late during this period. Try the deeper holes in the Hastings and the Camden Haven and give the tide change your attention if you would like to catch one of these silver ghosts.

Crustaceans are a great treat for a lot of our Christmas celebrations and the humble prawn is king. If you like to catch your own, the place to be will be Lake Cathie. A great way to spend an evening with the kids, grab a scoop net and torch and have some fun – the kids will never forget it. Mud crabs are around in good numbers so check the fisheries regulations and properly mark your trap before setting. Mullet or fish frames from your fishing are great bait and should see you get a few for the Christmas seafood feast.

Offshore Fishing

December will be the time for early starts to beat the ‘nor-easter’ home, while most recent reports have been patchy thisis mainly due to the wind situation but with holiday time hopefully you will not only be relying on the weekend to get your fishing fix. Reef fishing will be great with snapper, trag, and pearl perch worth targeting. Try a mixture of baits, pillies, big prawns and squid and add a trip to the close in bait reef for some livies. Try early in the morning on the 40m and wider grounds and hopefully the wind will not affect your fishing. By the first sign of breeze you should hopefully have a few fish and can either head in close to do a drift or two for flatties or just head home for lunch and a holiday ale.

No matter what you like to fish for, be it offshore, rock, beach, or in the river - remember to respect the waterways and the fish. Also make sure your gear, especially safety gear, is up to scratch. That way you can enjoy a safe and productive holiday season.

Merry Christmas to you and your families.

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