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The most exciting month offshore!
  |  First Published: March 2017



It’s that time of year again when the fishing becomes that red-hot in Port Stephens that the biggest problem we have is deciding just what species to target! The options are vast, offering everything from big mulloway inside the estuary to longtail tuna off the stones to inshore black marlin.

Inside

Inside the bay you will find plenty of flathead spread throughout the lower end of the system with soft plastics, vibes and hardbodies, as well as the old fashion slow-rolled ganged pilchard all doing the job. The best areas to find them are in the corners of most of the estuary beaches that meet rocky headlands and shorelines, as well as at the mouths of feeder creeks, bays and around edges of shallow structure.

The oyster racks and rock bars around Soldiers Point through to Tahlee have been holding some cracking bream, which are hitting surface lures as well as hardbodied minnows and 2-3” plastics.

If you like your bait fishing, you can also get stuck into a few bream through these same areas by sending a unweighted nipper or prawn down a berly trail on the high tide.

Whiting have shown no signs of slowing down yet, with Jimmys Beach, Shoal Bay, and Nelson Bay Beaches all producing numbers on early morning or late afternoon high tides. Live worms are the key to whiting in these areas, as well as light leaders between 2-4lb.

There should be plenty of mulloway inside the estuary this month, with the Nelson Bay Rockwall, Anchorage and the deep water around Soldiers Point all worth a shot. As always, fresh squid or a live bait will no doubt be your best chance of success when chasing mulloway, especially when fished around the tide changes.

Beaches

Whiting are still prevalent on the ocean beaches, with those anglers using live worms and fishing the gutters on the tides having plenty of success. Dawn and dusk periods are producing a few quality tailor along Fingal Spit, Box Beach and Samurai, with metal spinners or ganged up garfish the best thing to catch them on. It’s one of the best months of the year to catch a mulloway on the beach, so stick around after dark with some fresh squid or cut baits and you’ll be in with a real shot.

Off the stones

Off the stones, longtail tuna will start to turn it on as they move down the coast smashing up schools of slimy mackerel, yellowtail and garfish. While spinning one up on 60-80g metals or a stickbait is always a possibility, the most popular and effective way to get connected to one of these torpedos is by suspending a live bait under a cigar float.

The elusive and prized Port Stephens cobia is another potential capture at this time of year while employing the same methods as used for the longtails.

Offshore

It’s probably the most exciting month of the year to be fishing offshore in Port Stephens.

The inshore black marlin fishery that Port Stephens is famous for is at its peak, with double figure number days not out of the question. At the same time, the marlin fishing on the shelf can be just as impressive, with big numbers of stripes showing up as well as a few blacks and odd big blue.

In close around the islands, snapper are there to be caught during dawn and dusk periods with soft plastics and unweighted baits.

The 21, Vee and Gibber reefs are reportedly holding good numbers of Trag.

Small mahimahi to 5kg have been active around the Port Stephens FAD, with trolled diving minnows proving the most effective way to extract a them. Its also always worth putting a live bait out when fishing around the FAD, as the odd bigger mahimahi or marlin are always on the cards.

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