Welcome back to September, and the great spring weather that comes with it. This is many anglers’ favourite time of the year and certainly one of mine. Generally, September sees both ambient temperatures and water temperatures begin to rise, as we lead into summer. It’s still early, and as a rule there should be no big jumps in temperature, but it’s great to be on the upswing. Fishing here on Lake Macquarie can be exceptional during September and things are looking promising.
The lake is fishing reasonably well and has done so throughout winter. There’s plenty of nice bags of bream coming in, and most anglers are finding pockets of them in the 30-37cm size range, which is good to see. There are brutes in the mix at over 40cm. Anglers are getting into these bream with a variety of methods – lure anglers are finding the blades and vibe style lures working particularly well. It’s interesting to see a few anglers actually scoring lots of good fish on surface lures, such as bent minnows. This style of fishing is generally kept for the summer months, but it’s been stirring the fish throughout the cooler months as well this year.
Boat hulls have been producing good numbers for bream. As the weather warms, we should see a rise in the number of bream moving onto the flats. It may be a couple of months before they really fire in the shallows. If I’m headed out for bream in the deep, I’ll generally give my shallow water spots a quick drift, to see if there are any about. Solid bream from the flats know how to fight, and they are always worth a try.
Flathead fishing has been a little hit and miss recently. One day there’s heaps of big ones, then the next trip is a struggle to put a few in the live well. Big white soft plastics stand out this year, as is often the case. A nice big paddle-tail and a soft plastic around 5” is ideal for the deep water flathead. I use scent and find that every trip I go, I’m reminded why I love it. I can forget to put scent on a new plastic during the trip, and if a fish comes off, it rarely comes back. With scent, I’m confident when I drop a lure that most times I’ll hook up again to a dropped fish. It pays to apply some quality scent.
Salmon continue to be around in plague proportions, and they’re providing hours of fun for anglers. Salts Bay and around Moon Island are two locations that are thick with these surface speedsters. Many anglers now find that flyfishing is a great way to hook salmon, and is a heap of fun. They’re not much chop as a table fish, but as far as a light tackle sport fish go, they’re right up there.
For those looking for a nice table fish, it doesn’t get better than mulloway cutlets. The good news is that they too are about in reasonable numbers. Most fish are around 80-90cm and make for a great meal. Live baits, fresh squid and lures alike are all working well. They’re not thick by any means, but they’re about. Generally, those anglers who put the effort in are being rewarded.
Offshore fishing is also improving. Winter hasn’t been disastrous for offshore anglers, but we’re looking forward to better conditions. Things are looking up. Marlin are around, so game fishing crews are hoping for a season like last one. The tuna run was a non-event unfortunately for most crews off our part of the coast. Many trailer boats were able to tow their vessels and follow the bite that was happening down the coast, so not all missed out. Tuna were sporadic – a few schools would appear one day, then vanish the next. It’s been a frustrating season for sure, and we look forward to warm currents, slimy schools and marlin bites.
Those anglers fishing the deep stuff for a feed have been in luck, some fantastic kingfish are in. Many of the offshore reefs are holding lots of solid fish around. Live baits fished deep are doing the damage and soft plastics on heavy jigheads combined with solid hooks are also scoring awesome fish. Great bags of reds have been spotted at the cleaning tables too. Over the next few months, we should see the kingfish population move inshore and make their way into Lake Macquarie, which is something local estuary anglers can’t wait for.
Rock and beach fishing has been a little on the quiet side. Long periods of unfavourable sea conditions have made things quite unsafe for rock fishers of late, but as they settle, anglers will be hitting the ledges hard once again. The beaches have been a saving grace with some very nice catches coming in. Lovely mulloway have been in the mix and anglers have scored equally good results on slab baits, live baits and lures.
Local bream specialist, Mitch Martin with a very solid bass from a recent outing. He decided to give the bream a break for change. A nudge over 50cm – it’s a great fish, Mitch.
There’s no shortage of 40-50cm flathead. Finding a few for the table should be no problem at all.Reads: 1743