More marlin on the cards
  |  First Published: April 2016

‘Hooley Dooley’ is really all I can say in regards to the marlin fishing over summer. The fishing offshore for anglers chasing marlin has been nothing short of mind-blowing with anglers all up and down the coast getting great numbers of quality fish and the best part is that the weather has also been kind on most days.


The other great thing was the proximity to the coast that these fish have been found in. Many first time marlin fishers caught their first this year, and some plenty of great solo efforts were achieved this year, which was fantastic to see.

Along with the great marlin fishing, we have also seen plenty of very good mahimahi captured and the shark fishing hasn’t been too bad either, with a local boat skippered by Steve Dial weighing a potential world record tiger shark of 625kg that the boys managed over summer along with many others.

For the marlin anglers, live bait fishing on bait balls was a very popular and effective method, but many anglers were also scoring their share pulling skirts. As we now move into autumn, game anglers’ efforts will switch from smaller inshore marlin to those large blue marlin offshore. This will mean bigger lures, bigger tackle and bigger days traveling to wide grounds, and although fewer fish will be encountered, they will certainly make up for it in size and stamina.

As the game fishing ‘season’ comes to a close for another year, it is usually this time of year when the bigger mahimahi are caught, so it is certainly still worth being out on the big blue putting in the hours as a feed a fresh mahimahi is about as good as it gets.

For offshore anglers chasing a feed there have been some very nice fish about. Both kingfish and snapper have been about in reasonable numbers. With summer behind us the inshore grounds will start to go quiet and these fish will move to offshore reef systems, so this is where I’d be concentrating my efforts. Deep set live baits or working lures deep will all be effective at different times. Mix it up until you find what’s working on the day. For lure anglers I’d be looking towards large 6-8” soft plastics on heavy jigheads with heavy gauge hooks, but another great option is deep jigging. Again, mix it up until you find what they are going for on the day and then stick to that.


The fishing has been great for locals and not just for the offshore brigade. Lake Macquarie has been firing on all cylinders and really turning it on. The bream fishing has been very good with plenty about. Most bream that I have encountered have been in that 30-40cm bracket and these are great fish and really put up a spirited fight in shallow waters.

Shallow diving hardbodied lures are working very well. I like a retrieve that involves a few winds of the handle, then I pause for a few seconds and repeat. It will generally be on the pause of the retrieve that the bream will smash your offerings, so be prepared.

The fishing on the flats will generally go a little quiet now as we go through autumn and head towards the cooler months. If they read the rulebooks, the bream should now start to make their way to deeper waters, so concentrate on working blades and plastics around deeper locations and you should be rewarded.

Whiting were in reasonable numbers over summer, but by no means would I say they have been thick and certainly not one of the better years we have had. They have been about more recently, but it’s not been easy work for most and the prime method has been fishing lightly weighted or unweighted live worms on a small long shank hook. Anglers are still getting a few, but these will soon go a little quiet now until next season.

April for me is the start of the peak fishing period in Lake Mac, I just love it and I hang out for it every year. For me, it’s all about big flathead and mulloway on lures. For the next 4-5 months, I will concentrate solely on these big lake fish. As the water temperatures cool, I work the deeper waters and concentrate my efforts in the 8-10m mark and chase the baitfish schools. If there are no bait balls, you can almost be guaranteed that there will be very little, if anything else worthy of chasing.

Deeper locations such as those around Bolton Point, Toronto and Wangi will certainly be worthy locations to try, so long as the bait is there. Generally the bait will be small chopper tailor, but if you find the salmon are around then it is certainly still worth putting in the hard yards as this is often when you will come across some solid mulloway.

As for lures, I really like soft plastics in that 4-6” range. I’m not overly picky on colours. Some days I catch them on bait colours such as silvers, white and blues but then other days bright greens, pinks or orange may be the go to lure. I like to use a jighead around 1/2-5/8oz and usually a 3/0-4/0 hook will do the job nicely for the style of plastics I use.

For bait anglers the same locations are still very effective. Just ensure your bait rig has enough lead to get you on the bottom. Live squid are deadly bait for mulloway anglers. For anglers just looking for a few nice flathead for the dinner table, I suggest a half pilchard worked along the bottom and you should have no problems securing a nice feed for the family and friends.

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