Maximising your catch rate
  |  First Published: November 2016

Fishing has been really good around these parts. Hopefully this month will only get better. In the Hunter River, flathead have shown up along with bream and the odd whiting. The best fishing has been up around Fullerton Cove on the shallow banks, on the corners where it meets the river proper.

Mulloway are starting to show up too – not huge, but fish around 10kg. I prefer them this size, especially for eating. We’re getting a lot of luderick taking weed up around Horseshoe Beach. They love this area, but don’t be surprised if you hook a bream or two when you change to bait.

In the harbour itself, tailor are going in and out on the tides following bait schools of herring. Those casting metal lures are doing the best. Both walls are working well. If you start casting squid jigs on the ocean side on the Stockton wall, a few anglers have been getting squid – only small but in decent numbers. If you follow the moon and tides, they should be great for the mulloway that run the wall.

The rock shelfs around Merewether Baths have been fishing okay for squire and bream of an evening. Cleats on your feet are the call here as it’s a slippery place, but worth the effort. Drummer have been taken when it’s rough around this area also. Be careful, it gets really rough here.

Offshore, the close reefs are fishing well for those who have the patience to anchor up and berley. Squire, bream and trevally have been caught, but at this time of year anything can show up. Nannygai and morwong have been in the catches as well. This is where I’d be targeting.

The reefs out from the Dumping Ground have had a lot of undersize kingfish on them. Run some live baits down your trails of berley, as you could be lucky to snag a bigger one. They’re there – I’ve been told some fishos have been busted off. They’re either school sharks or kingfish.

Stockton Beach at the south end has a lot of gutters forming, so it can be hard to choose which ones to fish. See if you can get some beach worms and get amongst the whiting, which are a good size this month. If the beach stays as it is, it’ll be a great time to try for them. Low tide in the holes and gutters have been working better and better by the week.

As this month warms up, the close reefs should be the place to be. Try a few different baits, or jig an array of different size lures. This can make a big difference at times. If you’re lucky enough to see what the fish are taking, try to match the lure size and colour to that. It’ll give you more of a chance.


A couple of nice reds taken from a close reef squire should be out and about feeding over gravel beds and reefs this month.


A nice plate size flathead taken drifting pilchards straight up the middle of Fullerton Cove.


The bounty for the barbecue from drifting just off the Newcastle baths. A nice amount of are holding fish here, but it’s very snaggy.

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