Fish and crabs warm up
  |  First Published: October 2007

It’s been getting a little warmer around here and that’s all it has taken to get the fish out of their lethargy.

Over the past few months whenever we got a little warmth or the sun shone for two or three days in a row, the fishing picked up plenty. It seems that no matter what season it is, flathead in small areas of the estuaries fired up with just a little warmth in the day and by now they should be right on their game.

This year the luderick seemed to be everywhere. I was told by a few wise old fishos years ago that these fish would be the mainstay for rec fishers in the future. The more pollution, flooding and increased nutrients there are in the water. the old luderick’s food source will thrive. One only has to look around our sewage outfalls to notice how true this is.

Not long back I was up Tilligerry Creek on Port Stephens, where groundwater and sewage closed the entire creek to oyster farming. The entire place was covered in weed and was a luderick heaven.

The bass fishing should be able to get back to its peak this year. The floods should pay off with better fishing than we have seen for a number of years and there is a lot more water than usual in areas higher up the rivers.


The absolute best bet this month will be the blue swimmer crabs, which have turned it on earlier than usual. Most will tell you any month with the letter ‘R’ in it is the time for these tasty morsels so grab a few crab pots, hoop nets or witch hats, depending on where you’re going, and drop them in on the way to your fishing grounds.

The swimmers are pretty thick in places, especially the southern channel of the Hunter River. We caught a big female a few weeks ago that was in full ‘berry’ and was carrying a huge number of eggs. We naturally let it go, as everyone is required to do by law if a female is carrying eggs. We got plenty of crabs in the nets after a short spinning session around the Sandgate rail bridge and most, fortunately, were big buck males.

The bream have been a bit like the flathead, holing up in small areas, so a little travelling and experimenting with lures and bait will be required. You may just have to travel a kilometre or two to find a patch.

The beaches have been fishing quite well and I’m sure the October holiday weekend will mean plenty of people travelling to camp and fish. Tailor and salmon have been moving up and down our coast over recent months so they should be prime targets.

Snapper have been dominating offshore catches. They haven’t been huge fish but there are enough keepers to keep most happy. A few morwong also have been taken by the bottom-bashers, I think a red or blue mowie on the barbecue tastes sensational.

A number of anglers have returned with good tailor and the odd snapper from night sorties offshore from the Merewether Baths after laying out a good berley trail.

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