This month, along with April, is without a doubt the best time of the year to be fishing out of Port Stephens as there are just so many species to target. It’s the peak time to be chasing marlin both inshore and offshore, the estuary is on fire with everything from mud crabs to mulloway, the surf beaches are going off and longtail tuna are whizzing up and down the rock ledges – it just doesn’t get any better.
Inside the bay, flathead should be plentiful from the shoreline around Soldiers Point and back to the heads for those using soft plastics and hardbodied lures. The water through this section of the bay will be quite clear and when it’s like this, I have the most success with natural coloured lures around 100-120mm.
Whiting are continuing to be caught in healthy numbers throughout the estuary with live worms or nippers producing the best results along those beaches closest to the mouth of the system.
Surface lures on the other hand are also doing plenty of damage on the whiting, but more so in the back half of the bay where the whiting are feeding on prawns.
Bream are also eager to whack a surface lure at this time of year, especially on early morning or late afternoon high tides over structure.
Mulloway will be worth a shot in the estuary this month with good reports recently of school mulloway coming from the Wreck off Corlette and the odd bigger fish from the deeper water around Soldiers Point.
It may also pay this month when you’re fishing in the bay to have a rod rigged up with a 30-60g metal lure just in case some longtail tuna start busting up around your boat, as they will quite often do at this time of year, usually when you least expect it!
Just about all the surf beaches this month will produce good numbers of whiting with the odd stud bream mixed among them, particularly for those anglers who are using live worms or pipis.
It’s also a good month of the year for quality green back tailor from the surf beaches with Samurai, Fingal Bay and Box Beach all good places to fish with whole pilchards or garfish on first or last light.
Off the stones, the land-based game season is among us as longtail tuna zip down the coastline, terrorizing any schools of baitfish holding around the points and headlands. A live bait suspended under a cigar float is the best way to get connected to one these torpedos, however spinning with 65-80g metals or 140-180mm stickbaits is also worth a crack.
On the marlin scene, the shelf is fishing well with good numbers of striped marlin, a few blacks and the odd big blue getting around. The inshore marlin fishery has also been consistent, with fish being caught anywhere from out the front of Fingal Lighthouse all the way through to Seal Rocks.
The FAD has been holding plenty of mahimahi, and while trolling and casting lures is a fun way to catch them, the larger models will almost always come from a live bait.
Snapper fishing outside has been a touch hit and miss, as it often is at this time of year, but it’s still worth the effort with some solid fish to 8kg coming in from the islands out the front and up around Edith Breakers.
Trag will continue to be a reliable option for a feed from reefs such as the Vee, 21 and Gibber with after sundown and into the night the best time to fish for them.Reads: 632