Seeming like a whiting Christmas
  |  First Published: December 2007

It’s looking like a whiting Christmas. Some thumper fish have been taken from all local waterways with Lake Cathie the pick, followed closely by the Hastings in the top reaches of Limeburners Creek and the mouth of the Maria River.

The whiting have had ferocious appetites and anglers are emulating those down south and catching them on surface lures. Poppers have been the best approach, anything in a clear to white pattern has them itching to hunt down and smash the lure.

Phil from Port Macquarie Tackle has been stopping off at Cathie on his way home most arvos to pick up some fresh whiting fillets to go with the salad for dinner.

Best times are sunup and just before sundown. The surface lure needs to be worked to imitate a fleeing prawn. Get this right and if everything else comes together you won’t go home disappointed.

While the whiting have been going mad, so have the cicadas, so if you’re throwing poppers for whiting you may as well throw fizzers for bass. There is no better time on the Hastings or Camden Haven Rivers.

Head west of Wauchope or cruise down to Kendal with your canoe and you’ll be in for a lure-smashing good time. Evening sessions will yield the best results with the fish losing their inhibitions as the sun sets and moving around the larger pools feeding on just about anything that falls in the water.


Estuary fishing has been good and this month will improve further with early starts or afternoon sessions when the fish tend to be more active.

Flathead will be lurking on the edges of weed beds and it’ll be important to get into them early before the boat traffic shuts them down. Some big fish have been around and I recently hooked a fish well over a metre while chasing bream. Leaders of 6lb don’t last long with fish like these but it was a special moment to see such a fish, which came right to the boat to suck down the lure.

If you find a patch of undersize fish then persist in the area because these are small males and a big female won’t be far away. Lures work on these fish but live baits will have you sorting through the smaller fish a whole lot quicker. Remember to handle these fish with care and let them go to populate our waterways.

Bream will be all over our waterways, off the beaches, headlands and in the rivers.

Evening sessions with fresh prawns will have you tangling with some cracker fish. Look for areas where there is good water flow over a weed bed dropping into deeper water. The fish will be lurking on the weed bed and on the edges waiting to pick up an easy feed.

Those chasing bream on lures will do well on hardbodies, with divers and surface lures yielding the best results.

Offshore, the snapper fishing has still been going off. It’s like they don’t know they should have moved on or shut up shop for the Summer. Specimens to 8kg are still being taken and it looks like this may continue over the warmer months.

I suppose the snapper hunting will wane a little when the kingfish and mahi mahi show up in numbers and improved size this month to draw the bottom-bashers to the surface. Tuna, marlin and wahoo will also be on the cards this month.

I’d like to wish everyone a very safe and enjoyable Christmas. If you have time, take the kids out and get them fishing. Spread the word about fishing, show people the ins and outs and teach them about being responsible anglers.

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