With January gone we will find less traffic on our local waterways, so in a sense as the holiday season ends the fishing will regain some normality with a more relaxed atmosphere around our ramps and fishing grounds. If the weather is right, now is the time to take your holiday.
This is the month that we should see Spanish and spotted mackerel appearing at Point Plomer and the northern grounds. We also should see some small blacks get into the action. The great thing about slow trolling a live bait, be it slimy, bonito or yakka, is that you just don’t know what will eat it!
Lure fishers should be able to get into some great fish action as well and with so many great hardbodied lures for trolling fast or slow, the options seem endless. You will be able to experiment with different brands as well as colour and depth variables to play with. You could also run a downrigger, as these have proved invaluable on some of the tougher days last season.
While the mackerel are an exciting proposition, the reefs will still put on some red letter days with snapper, pearlies, trag and kingies around different patches of reef.
Let’s hope the surface action for bream and bass continues in February. On my boat, we have used cicada patterns, either paddlers or fizzers, and have got good results with this style. It is a pretty simple theory, ‘match the hatch,’ although on some days the hook ups can be difficult with sloppy feeders, but that is part of the excitement. Who doesn’t like watching their lure get smashed?
For locations, the bream are around the edges and under the tree canopies, just look for the places where the cicadas are really singing you will almost definitely find some activity in these spots. The bass similarly, enjoy the odd meal of cicadas, all I tend to do differently with bass fishing is use a slightly larger presentation.
My favourite lure for bass is the large Koolabung Soft Fizzer. They are around 65mm and the noise these bad boys make really brings the bass up.
Depending on rainfall, the Wilson and the upper Maria will fish well for bass, and if surface does not produce, then try diving lures and spinnerbaits. The lure that has performed well for me, especially in the upper Maria, is the Strike Pro Hummer vibe, the small version. We have had some great sessions with these and the reason I like them up here is that they are a smaller presentation to my usual Samaki Vibelicious 70mm soft vibe, which I prefer in the Macleay River. The smaller vibes work really sweetly in the skinny water we fish.
Flathead fishing has been consistent, and a plastics worked on most banks of the Hastings, Camden and Lake Cathie will get results with 3” soft plastics. This style of lure has been brilliant as bream and whiting take a liking to it as well, and who doesn’t like a mixed bag?
On the mulloway scene, although patchy, there is still plenty on offer for anglers persisting in deeper water. Just remember, if the bait is around, then give that area a fair work over. Try plastics or vibes and keep at it as the results will be impressive when you find the fish willing.
When I was doing a lot more beach fishing than I do now, February was one of my favourite months. A simple but effective way to spend a few evening hours is to rig a light surf rod and 3000 sized reel with 5kg braid, take a handful of sinkers of varying style to combat currents and sweep, along with some long shank hooks from size 4 for bream and whiting, with maybe a few 5/0 for school mulloway. Then to add the main ingredient to the equation; beachworms!
Keeping it simple gives you more opportunity to move around checking gutters, holes and rocky ends for results. There is a host of spots worth looking at and North Beach, Lighthouse to the Cathie End plus Dunbogan give you ample opportunity. The quieter places once the surfers have departed like Middle Beach and Grants are also worth a try.
Good luck !