Lakes make a comeback
  |  First Published: November 2007

Despite the unstable and often windy weather thrown our way over the past two months, fishing has definitely been improving. As long as we get some more of those sunny days this month, the situation get even better.

Tuggerah Lakes have slowly come back to life after an extended dead period when very little was caught. Now, though, bream and flathead have sparked up considerably.

On a few occasions I've caught around 20 flathead in an hour, which may seem like fantastic fishing. But the downside is that only half of those flathead actually make the legal length and the rest aren't that much bigger.

It's just a sad fact that after more than a century of netting these lakes, the flathead here are very small compared with most other NSW waterways. Catching a heap of them is still entertaining, though, and there's enough of legal size (36cm) to keep a couple for the dinner table.

As prawns start to kick into gear, the local bream will follow. Soaking baits after dark or casting lures early in the morning is the way to go, especially around the new or dark moon. This is the period when prawns are more active and if that coincides with a week of hot weather, the prawning and the fishing should be good.


Very much the same goes for bream in Brisbane Water. Warmer water will mean an increase in prawn, squid and fish activity.

Unlike the lakes, though, flathead in Brissy Water can grow as big as anywhere and that means lizards up to 7kg or more, particularly in the lower sections at Ettalong, Woy Woy, Umina and Wagstaffe.

Let's also hope that a few more jewies show up in the system this month.


It seems like the east coast salmon population just keeps increasing and there have been plenty of days this year when the waves have turned black with thousands of salmon.

I've mainly been fishing along North Entrance Beach but have been told that the same has been happening along most other popular fishing beaches from Catherine Hill Bay right down to Avoca.

One afternoon at North Entrance I was having a ball hooking and releasing salmon on every cast when line started rapidly peeling off my Daiwa Kix. After a few minutes I thought a jewfish was at the other end, but all was revealed when a wave washed up a fat 5kg tailor. That was on the same part of the beach where I caught a 6kg version 12 years earlier.

Through November the salmon will still be around but their numbers should thin out as a few more tailor, bream and jewfish cruise the surf. Whiting will also kick into gear as the water gets warmer.


Although quite a variety of species have been caught offshore, the past few months have been pretty hard going with wind blowing from every direction and some big seas.

Trevally have been in reasonable numbers closer in and leatherjackets continue to bite through everything further out. Snapper have been patchy but rat kingfish are starting to build up in numbers.

This month we should see fewer trevally and more kingfish but remember that we now have a 65cm size limit on the kings. Bonito also should start showing up a bit more from now on.


There won't be much of a change to rock fishing this month except that salmon numbers may start to thin out and be replaced by a few more tailor and rat kings.

Still, the more reliable fish to chase would be bream, blackfish and drummer.

Remember, when you've finished fishing the rocks or beaches, take your rubbish with you. I've been seeing far too much crap left on our rocks and beaches lately, especially after the weekends. Jim Beam or Bundy cans, beer bottles and empty bait packets are the main rubbish items left behind by thoughtless mugs.

Our rocks and beaches are not rubbish bins and if you had the energy to carry in the stuff, you should also take it back out!


There's good news and bad for our local bass fishing.

The bad is the current state of Wyong River, which is a muddy mess. The situation will not be helped by the increased flow to be pumped out of the river into our water supply during times of excess rainfall.

Yes, we do need as much help as we can get to keep our water supply topped up but it's a shame that it has to come from an already degraded Wyong River. I fear for this river's future.

The good news is that Ourimbah Creek bass have been given a helping hand by the recent construction of an elaborate fish ladder to help these fish move more freely through the system to breed.

The ladder is a rather complicated-looking pile of rocks and concrete that doesn't look like the easiest thing for bass to get through but there's no doubt that it will be a great long-term boost for Ourimbah bass stocks.

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