Offshore grounds pick up
  |  First Published: November 2007

As the weather heats up, so should the fishing with good Summer sessions on the way.

Offshore, the pelagic species will be moving closer to shore with the warmer currents and the estuaries will be alive with a multitude of species.

Some kingfish should be moving in along with wahoo, marlin and tuna, all depending on the currents and good water temperature.

Bottom-bouncers should be in luck with pearl perch, snapper and morwong on the outer reefs.

The closer grounds off Port Macquarie and North Haven should have plenty of flathead. Good bait collection will be vital to success when fishing offshore and slimy mackerel should be showing up off the breakwalls and on the bait grounds. So prepare the jigs and make sure the bait tank pumps are working because the fresher the slimies are, the better.

If you’re after a feed of prawns then head down to Lake Cathie after dark on a moonless night. With the lake still open to the sea it should be a cracker of a season. Remember to take only what you need, not your limit.

Crabs will be on the move this month. Those looking for mud crabs should concentrate on the weedy edges up river. Those inclined to a feed of blue swimmers will do well around the mouth of Limeburners Creek.

The beaches should have some good formations after recent big seas. Whiting should be in plague proportions off the beaches at Lake Cathie and if you head further south to Dunbogan Beach.

Best baits for whiting off the beaches will definitely be worms. If you’re practised in this art, they should be easy to berley up on the less populated beaches; if you’re not, visit your local tackle store. Most sell live worms these days.

The odd salmon should still be around, look for the telltale signs of these demons as they smash up schools of bait. Bream and flathead should also be on the beaches in the deeper gutters, fish the sections where water flows in on the rising tide and the drains at the change of the tide.


Estuary fishing really comes into its own this month. Flathead will be lurking around the baitfish that will be plentiful in the river. Live baits or big hard or soft lures will get big fish. Just remember these bigger specimens are the breeding females and should be released.

A good selection of table flathead will be readily caught. I like flatties around 40cm; they have a decent amount of flesh and are by far the tastiest.

Luderick have been on fire recently with record catches taken. They will slacken off this month but some fish will still be around.

Whiting will be moving into our systems with Lake Cathie the most popular spot, partly due to easy access to good fishing from the bank. Spots up the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers will also produce with fresh worms or live nippers.

Garfish will also be populating the weedy sections upstream. A decent flow of berley, some fresh bread and a quill float will do the trick. If you don’t like eating garfish, then they make great baits off the beach or rocks. But work the rolling pin over a fish to break up the bones, douse them with flour and cook in butter for a tasty meal.

The cicadas and crickets will be hatching out and filling the air with their chorus. This is like an alarm bell for bream which wakes them from their winter habit of lurking in deep water.

They hear the singing of the cicadas and cruise to the shallows near trees, looking for an easy feed. So break out the surface lures and get ready for some cracker fun.

This would be easily my favourite way to fool bream with lures. Nothing beats seeing a decent bream shouldering through the water as it prepares to crunch its prey. It’s this type of fishing that really highlights the predatory qualities of bream.

No matter what your fishing preference, the Hastings region has it for you this month. Make sure you care for our environment and respect our fisheries for future generations to enjoy.

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