All the action has been out on the beaches and in the estuary, and Stockton and Redhead beaches been produced some nice fish, mainly bream, whiting and flathead. The best baits are pipis and live worms if you can get them, the next best is pilchards and whitebait, frozen beach worms and messy mullet gut.
In the estuary, soft plastics thrown up under the shipping wharves has been the best way to get onto the bigger bream. Make sure your gear is up to scratch, as they can sometimes pull you around the pylons and at times you may hook into a decent mulloway, which will test your line to the limit. A lot of anglers get a big surprise when they hook a mulloway from under the wooden structures in the deep water.
Tailor have moved in, not huge green backs but just legal fish which, if cooked that night or the next day, can make for some great tucker. Tailor are a great plate fish and as long as they’re a decent size and you can fillet them, they are great tasting with hardly any bones.
Slow drift the shallows with worms or live green nippers to see a few trumpeter and sand whiting. Try around the shallow sand beds out from Kooragang Island and along Horseshoe Beach, both are reliable spots. While you soak a bait, flick out some small soft plastics and jig them along the bottom, this is a fun way to fish for whiting, but don’t be surprised if a flathead jumps on it.
Sand flathead have been reported at the back of the break off Stockton Beach, but keep well away from where the waves are crashing and keep a good eye out as some waves do start to rise out wide.
Offshore the kingfish have turned up and most are around 6-10kg, but even at that size they put up a good fight on medium gear, which make the fishing more fun. The lighter you go, the more fun they are, just make sure you’re using good trace. Floating bait in a berley trail usually brings them in close and then you can start using poppers and have some real fun.
The water out wide has been green and cold one minute then warm and blue the next, so a bit of travel should see you find the right water. Sometimes the kingies hang around the coal ships that are anchored out wide, so try and entice the kings as well as the mahimahi away from the boats with surface baits or medium diving lures.
The marlin have showed up and have been caught in the same way, just remember to keep a good distance from the ships, they don’t like you getting too close.
Off the rocks, it’s been a mixed bag. Drummer are still taken with a few groper thrown in. When the warmer water moves in, the bream and juvenile snapper should show up.
For you mountain goats that lumber over half a tonne of gear to the land based-ledges, I am pleased to tell you a few bluefin tuna and kingfish have been hooked along the coast. They should become thicker from now through to March. I am getting a bit too old to do that these days, but I have fond memories of Tomaree and Charlotte headland, Snapper Point and Seal Rocks.
Upriver the bass are moving around in both the Williams and Hunter rivers, and late afternoons are great this month. I call February ‘the noisy month,’ with all the cicadas screaming from the trees. They near send you mad but if they are there, you can be in for some great sessions on the bass.Reads: 446