Elusive mulloway undone on mullet
  |  First Published: June 2016

The fishing has picked up to the point where if you can’t hook a fish you should sell your fishing gear and take up another hobby! Hairtail continue to school in the basin and there have been some big mulloway taken from both Nobbys and Stockton breakwalls. The bream are moving along the beaches, and the flathead have been on the bite in the estuary, what more could you ask for?

It will be a bit harder to hook-up, but because of the warm water in certain places the fishing should still be great, especially in the shallows in the river and estuaries. Use fresh bait, especially mullet as they are in big numbers at the moment. You’ll find bream are with them as are schools of salmon. I watched two young kids catch a salmon a while back, and you couldn’t wipe the smiles from their faces. They were so happy that they must have thrown about another hundred casts to get another one, then ran to their dad to show him, screaming about their catches. That’s what fishing is all about – just real fun.

There have been sharks around – mostly small bull and white tail species that cruise alongside the mullet then explode when they want one to eat. The mullet were flying left right and centre in a display I hadn’t yet witnessed before.

The estuary is fishing well all the way up to the Terrace intersection with the Hunter. Bass have been a reliable by-catch, but these fish are mostly small so please put them back, as every year the amount we catch shrinks. This system now closes for their breeding run. Some anglers recently reported whiting to die for that they caught drifting along the mouth of Fullerton Cove using worms with a red bead on the line just above the hook. They told me it makes a big difference, so try it out in the warm upper reaches around Hexham to Sandgate and you may find them. Possibly alongside some nice flathead.

The mulloway are going nuts around this area and they should hold in numbers to target over the month. I’ve been carting all the gear down to Stockton breakwall for very little gain, leaving those wily mulloway pending for another night. However, an angler fishing down from me got two well over 20kg. He said the trick is to fish with a rod and reel that’s able to let line off with no resistance to the fish, a technique I use for snapper offshore. This certainly worked for him on the Stockton wall! He used fresh mullet fillets bought from the fishing co-op, and the guys who had spent hours catching livebaits couldn’t believe it! He got one on dusk, and if the tidal change is close to sunset it’s well worth the walk on both rock walls. He prepares his mullet bait by folding them over and wrapping a 5kg line around it so both side of the flesh are showing, then he cuts the bottom into a triangle so they flap around when the tide starts to run again – next time I will be giving it a go. He also noted to freeze the frames for when the blue swimmer crabs show up.

I took another drive around Kooragang Island recently, and the fences are still stopping people from fishing there, so you need to go to the Stockton side if you’re looking for very deep water. Off the breakwalls use big heavy rods and good reels – either Penn, Shimano, Diawa, and ABU Garcia or a reel you have heard to be geared well and strong. I use 25lb line on them, and big long traces of fluorocarbon, as I have seen too many people either cut or spooled using reels unsuited to the job. Stick to quality, Australian made reels as they will last you a lifetime and won’t give up at the crucial time.

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