Welcome to the New Year! Hopefully, we’re having a relaxing break away before getting back into the work year. To start it off, let’s have a look at some of our summer favourites that are readily available in our rivers at this time of year, and whereabouts in the Hastings Region you can encounter them.
These are a great summer fish and can be found on many of the shallow flats. To target these tasty sand whiting, there are a few techniques. For the bait fishos, pumping some nippers or acquiring live beach worms will be top choices – all you need is a light spin stick and about 6lb braid or mono. On the business end, add a little pea sized ball sinker running to a number four longshank. Cast these off the bank or drift them behind your boat for a great way to get amongst them.
For the fishos who like to throw lures, grab yourself a few poppers and cast away over the flats. This is great visual fun and extremely addictive. The areas that will see whiting most often will be in the Hastings River, Pelican Island and Blackmans Point, which is also great for pumping nippers. Lake Cathie to the south of the Port is a whiting hotspot. The sand flats in Camden Haven fire at this time of year.
Next on our list, who doesn’t enjoy a feed of the good old flatty fillets? These fish will be plentiful and a main target for visitors and locals alike. It would be remiss of me not to mention being sensible with our catches – take a feed for sure, but keeping bag limits every day is a bit extreme. If you catch that trophy female croc, grab a few pics and release her back to breed. That way there will still be plenty to catch next year.
Flathead can be caught throughout the river systems. Targeting the flats is great fun and rewarding, as is casting into the shoreline from your boat or wading and casting the shallows on foot. Baits vary as flathead are very comfortable eating just about anything! My choice would be live herring or poddy mullet. Whitebait and the good old prawns catch plenty.
Rig these on a light rod with 8-12lb trace, a suitable ball sinker which gets your bait to the bottom, and a 2/0-3/0 hook. Lure fishing for flatties can seem too easy at times. A well-worked plastic grub, paddle-tail or prawn imitation will get you fish. There are many locations for these fish – look for weed beds and shallow banks with drop offs. All the rivers in the Hastings region will have flathead in residence, so if you’re not catching in one spot, move around until you find them.
Summer lure fishos love these fish, as they can spend hours using different methods to catch them. Surface fishing is a standout and anglers throwing prawn surface imitations around weed beds get some great action. Lures to use in these situations are Sugarpens and other walk-the-dog style lures – poppers will work as well. The other option for surface is cicadas, with so many singing and falling into the water. A classic way of catching bream is to cast your imitation under the overhanging trees. Use any of the cicada imitations, soft or hard, cast in, give it a little tweak, pause and if a bream is home, you’ll know.
This month, slow rolling diving hardbody lures are a bream favourite. Angling for bream with bait, try to use the freshest possible live nippers. If you’re willing to scoop up some live prawns, these are deadly. Don’t forget the little soldier crabs, as they catch some thumping bream. Locations to catch bream have structure – you’ll find them on breakwalls, snags, oyster racks and weed beds. All the local rivers have one form or another of this structure and the bream won’t be far away.Reads: 598