September is sweet in Port Stephens
  |  First Published: September 2016

September is a reset button on the fishing season in Port Stephens, once we hit it everything starts again. Winter fish fade away. At the same time, other fish are coming on with each month from here, bringing bigger numbers as well as new species to target.

The good thing about fishing right now is a real cross over period with species like flathead, whiting and kingfish all starting to show up while predominantly winter species can also still be targeted.


We should see an influx of kingfish in the harbour this month, particularly around Nelson Bay Rock wall and inside of the marina. Early morning high tides will be prime time to connect to a king. The best method is either to cast stickbaits and poppers, or lob out a lightly weighted live squid. These fish are often 10kg or more and will make short work of inadequate gear. Go for 30lb braid and 40lb leaders.

Mulloway are worth putting some time into this month. The best areas are to fish the deeper 20m+ sections of water around Corlette to North Arm Cove, as well as both Karuah Bridges.

A fish I always miss during winter will reappear, now the water temperature is warming up – dusky flathead. Early in the season, flathead can be found further up the back of the system. Tilligerry, Karuah and North arm are all good areas to find a few, this month.

Luderick remain in good numbers and should continue to be caught from the Torpedo Tubes, Little Beach and both the break walls, for at least another month before slowing down. There are still bream hanging on the rock walls and oyster leases around Soldiers Point, through to Tea Gardens. Soft plastics and small hardbodied lures account for plenty of catches. 

Alternatively, anchor up and cast lightly weighted baits down a berley trail in these same areas. If you’re land-based, a good option will be fishing the break walls, Corlette Groynes or Wanda Head.


Fishing the rocks won’t change too much from previous months. Drummer and bream will still be found in good numbers from the wash zone, particularly by those anglers fishing around high tides with conjevoi or royal red prawns.

Luderick are still on the chew around Boulder Bay to Barry Park but won’t hang around for too much longer, as water temperatures quickly warm up.

Grouper are always a popular option this time of year and can be found along most of the coastline from Anna Bay through to Fingal. The best way to target them is using heavy gear with a minimum 15kg line. Use whole or halved rock crabs on a 5/0 heavy gauge hook.

Most of the rock points and headlands that stick out into open deep water should produce good tailor this month. Fish up to 3kg are not out of the question. Be sure to fish those dawn and dusk periods with either whole garfish on a set of gang hooks, or a 100-130mm metal or stickbait.


It’s well worth the effort to get up early and venture out to Fingal Spit. Arrive just before the sun gets up to chase a few tailor on lures or ganged garfish. The Spit has been fishing particularly well for tailor lately with abundant quality fish. Other beaches worth a look will be Samurai and Box beaches. Schools of salmon are moving within casting range along most of the ocean beaches. These provide great fun for anglers flicking small metals on light gear.

Fishing the surf gutters with live worms or pipis should prove productive this month and is another form of fishing that will get better the further into spring we go. Stud bream and whiting are on offer.


Trag will start to show around the Gibber, 21 and Vee reefs this month, as well as a snapper or two. Snapper fishing around Edith Breakers and Broughton Island should also be good this month. Plastics and baitfishing will do the job, during low light periods.


Luderick king, Brent Dunlop displaying a better then average fish.


Greenback tailor like this 3kg model are always a chance in early spring.


Dusky flathead should fire up this month, in the back end of the estuary.


Rhys Pateman with a cracking blue grouper.

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