New Years species mixer
  |  First Published: December 2016

Lately, in my part of the world, it’s been either a fishing session in the morning or late afternoon. The weather has been so hot through the middle of the day that unless you have a good canopy on your boat, fishing has been out of the question.

There have been decent catches lately in the Hunter River. This month they’ll only to get better. Both sand and trumpeter whiting have shown up in good numbers. I’ve gone back to good old worms to catch them, as your arms nearly fall off with the amount of casts you have to put in with poppers and such. I still cast red blades – whiting seem to jump on them. The sand flats out from Kooragang Island have been the best placesfor the bigger trumpeter. The beach proper has been the best for sand whiting.

With the water temperature soaring off the rocks, we should see some great catches. The first patches of bluefin could show up anytime now and school kingfish that pull like demons have been around for a while. These fish come in closer and look for baits. A swimming livebait under a float is irresistible to them. It’s hard work to carry all the gear in to the outer platforms, but it’s worth the effort if you snag one. Bonito and tailor are in as well, so slow your casts down to get them. Salmon are still around, but in smaller schools thankfully.

Offshore, the wide grounds have been firing on certain days. Fresh bait has been the key. Mahimahi on the troll have been the easiest target. The anglers looking for the marlin have had sketchy days. Fish have been taken in random spots out very wide in the bluest of water. On the reefs, heaps of snapper, morwong, nannygai, teraglin and mulloway have been around, you just have to make sure you’re right on the mark over the reef.

In the upper freshwater tidal mark of the Hunter, I heard a rumour that a 15kg mulloway took a Stump Jumper lure trolled along the rock walls at Raymond Terrace for bass. It isn’t that unusual – I know a few anglers that have gotten onto tailor, bream, mulloway and flathead between the two bridges as the tide makes its way out.

Bass have been plentiful, but a bit on the small side. The big fish are holding up in the Patterson River – great canoe or kayak water with a dirt ramp along the Patterson Road at Tocal. It will take a tinny, but be careful. I have been bogged badly in this spot.

This month, I would troll 2-3” skirts, cast around the headlands for bonito and tailor and put livebaits out for the kingfish and bluefin, if they show up. Have a happy new year.

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