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FAD fishing – not just a fad!
  |  First Published: December 2015



The fishing forecast certainly looks very promising for Lake Macquarie anglers. The fishing at the moment is about as good as I have ever seen it in the last 12 years or so that I have lived here. The lake itself is firing, and the offshore fishing is heating right up. The FAD is now back in for another season and hopefully this heralds another great run of mahimahi for anglers out for a session with these fantastic sportfish.

Leading into Christmas, the fishing should jump up yet another level. With plenty of holiday makers flocking to the area, the trick is to know how to navigate around other contenders. Even with more anglers, there is still awesome opportunity to put a few fish in the esky and onto the Christmas plate.

The lake in particular is producing a number of quality mulloway at present. Lure and bait anglers are scoring big time on the lake and anglers have found good fish about both during the usual night sessions and also during the day – for those willing to put in the effort. Local kayak angler Richard Benson has been scoring fish from his kayak regularly with lures as his go to tactic with great results. A few of the locals have put in the effort after dark and found that local live squid are just too good for these mulloway to pass up. Most fish are not huge but with the majority in the 80-100cm range they are a great sportfish option and not too bad on the table either. In order to be successful, bait anglers really need to master the art of catching squid first, the rest of the game will play itself out after that but the mastering the squid is critical.

Kingfish action has also picked up in the lake for another season with the usual spots producing. The Swansea Bridge is popular; many anglers have scored fish on poppers and micro jigs. Similar to the mulloway, the kingfish find it hard to resist a well presented live squid. Fish your livies around any of the many markers throughout the deeper waters in the lake and you’re in with a real chance – 1m kingfish are not uncommon in our Lake.

Bream and whiting are about in good numbers on the shallow flats and around the sand islands. Worms are proving effective bait on both fish species and lure anglers are having a blast fishing top water lures. Small poppers and walk the dog style hardbody lures as well as bent minnow are all proving effective.

With the increase in boat traffic during holiday periods you will certainly get the best results working early in the morning before the crowds or later in the day when most have packed up and gone home.

Offshore

Offshore fishing is what it’s all about for many anglers in the next few months. Marlin numbers have increased and with numbers of mahimahi caught as by-catch for anglers trolling lures for marlin. There have also been a few yellowfin tuna caught recently and although not overly large fish, they are certainly a welcome catch for those anglers lucky enough to get onto them. The fish are still fairly wide spread at the moment. However, as the bait starts to ball up the marlin will become a little easier to connect with. The fisheries FADS have now been deployed up and down our coast and should start producing their usual run of mahimahi. These can provide some very nice fish and although most fish are around the legal size, you will find fishing live baits will produce a better run of fish for your efforts. Another important thing to remember is that it’s not only mahimahi that frequent these FADS. Marlin are caught each year around the many FADS up and down our coast. Due to the large numbers of mahimahi at the FADS, the marlin can’t resist sneaking past for a quick bite to eat. I like to troll a spread of lures up to a few kilometres around these FADS and generally do well on 5-8” lures at this time of year. Try not to get too close to the FADS as many anglers are trying to fish them and it’s only fair to let everyone enjoy them. If you are having a troll then it doesn’t hurt to keep a little distance from the FADS so as to not upset other anglers.

Shark anglers have also scored some solid fish recently, and as the currents start pushing, the shark bite should also begin to pick up. Generally shark boats will be fishing the wide grounds and it’s usually pretty easy to spot these boats as they drift around as they usually have a couple of coloured balloons floating out nearby. Even if shark fishing is not your thing you should still show some respect to fellow anglers and give these guys a wide berth. Like the rest of us they are putting in a big effort and pumping through big dollars to be out there doing their thing so it’s great if we all get along and share the ocean.

Rock and beach anglers are not missing out either. Kingfish have started to move in and although many anglers like spinning lures such as stick baits for their summer action off the stones, a wide floating live bait is always a good option and helps you cover more bases. The next 1m kingie taken by an angler floating out a decent live yakka certainly won’t be the last. The usual summer run of bonito are a great light tackle sportfish and when treated carefully and correctly can come up not too bad on the plate either.

It has been a fantastic year fishing for many Lake Macquarie anglers and hopefully we have another bumper year ahead of us.

I would like to wish all of you and your families a happy, safe and Merry Christmas and I look forward to 2016.

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