Hunter Coast
  |  First Published: June 2017

With all the unpredictable weather we’ve had, it’s been hard to find days to get out and have a fish. I don’t know if it’s just me but I think the weather pattern is going troppo – one week it’s great, the next it pours rain, then it gets windy and stormy. Sometimes this can all happen in one day! Still, all is not lost because some fish love this sort of change.

I have been hitting the water hard lately, and have seen some anglers as well as myself get onto a few good fish. The two break walls have been fishing well on the sea side on Stockton, and on calm days there have been some big squid about. Most anglers rig them and throw them straight into the river on the other side, hoping for a mulloway or one of the large flathead that travel in and out close to the edge of the shipping channel. Bream have also been around, with some good size specimens hitting the rocks.

There have been a few hairtail in the basin, left over from their mass schooling last month, so a night fish with a float could snag you one of these.

Tailor are moving around the mouth of the harbour, and the birds are giving up their position. A good long rod and some heavy chromies have been the way to go. Just make sure your rod is up to long casts, and you should be in with a shot as they move all over the place. Horseshoe Beach and Lee wharfs have been the best locations.

There are still some dusky flathead around. They’re not huge but they’re a good plate size. It’s still worth casting some deep divers around and along the pylons on Lee Wharf, and you can also try out the front of Stockton Sailing Club over the grit and sand. I have seen a few nice fish taken from there.

The rocks have been a real mess – fishable one day and stuffed the next. If you pick your day, the back of Newcastle Baths has tailor as well as bonito cruising the edges, along with some drummer and luderick. I bet with large heavy gear you’re also in with the chance of a groper. I read that some idiot put a 4ft hammerhead shark in the kids’ wading pool. This nut job needed to be thrown in with it. Sharks have been a real problem in close through this last summer period, and they’re still around now following the schools of bream and mullet up the coast.

On sunny days when the ocean has been crystal clear, a few anglers have been taking advantage of the ANZAC walking trail to look for reefs in close off Bar Beach. If you have good binoculars, this is a clever way to find smaller reefs that you can berley table fish to. There are a few reefs that I am sure would hold squire, groper, morwong and bream. Just be careful make sure you are way back out from the break of the waves; these are surfing beaches and have massive waves break at times.

Outside there are is still a smattering of mahimahi around with tailor, bonito, sharks, and a lot of salmon that are schooling both around Merewether and the rocks up closer to Redhead. You can see the dark patches moving up the coast.

The reefs of Merewether are holding small squire and bream, and the wider reefs have teraglin and school kingfish on them. The cleaning table at Carrington was full of them from a couple of boats fishing close together.

The beaches are home to tailor, bream and mulloway at the moment. Find the holes and you’ll find the fish. Pipis, worms and brined pilchards should see you land something, especially around the rising tides at night, then get the big guns out for lead-up to the full moon. This month is a good one for mulloway in Newcastle, so it’s time to start throwing soft plastics off the sand to try to catch one. I got my hands on some LiveTarget Herring swimbait soft plastics, which perfectly imitate pilchards and small mullet, and I’m going to be throwing them first off the beach in the evenings and along both break walls in the harbour. They are so lifelike I am sure they will snag something. The colours are amazing and they swim pretty well also. I put one beside a mullet and they blew me away with just how close the colours are. I am off to give them a go!

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