When a larger than usual fish is taken in your local it doesn’t take long for the news to travel and, much like Chinese whispers, the story often loses its true context and becomes so unbelievable that many who hear it scoff.
A local angler walked into my workplace and showed me his mobile-phone photo of a bream he had caught in the Hunter River – one of the biggest many have seen for some time. At around 2.5kg (those Chinese whispers later put it at 3.5kg!), it was a horse. I was fishing with this angler nearly a year ago on Hawks Nest beach when he pulled a bream of similar proportions. In the waves we thought it was a snapper.
So from late February through March it seems the spawn-run larger bream move through in small numbers before the mass schools which shoot up the coast this month.
A lot of anglers have been taking good bream along the walkway at the back of the old Lee wharfs and along to the mouth of the harbour. Some of the office workers along the Honeysuckle development who toss in sandwich crusts or food scraps have been amazed at the size of the bream smashing the surface.
Offshore the current has been screaming north, bringing the first signs of salmon, and that means only one thing: Cold water is on its way. A lot of bottom-bouncers have been taking good blue and red morwong and as April progresses more will be on the cards.
Huge squid have been hanging in close around the back of the Newcastle ocean baths down to the points off Redhead. Flathead are still being taken on the drift in 10 to 20 metres off Nobby’s light and there have been a fair few squire which should become thicker as the water cools.
As a family ritual, in the first few weeks of April the kids and I jump in the boat and go chasing blue swimmer grabs at a spot we go to every year. It’s a bit out of the way so the truant officer doesn’t see the kids and we have never failed to get a great feed. The crab season has been pretty good and this April should be spectacular, although some say it’s too late. Seasoned Newcastle angler Barry Latham has been getting some of the biggest blueys he has seen for years in Lake Macquarie/
North Reef off Newcastle has been holding some squire but it’s a bit of a lottery. Drifting is far better than anchoring. Try fresh mullet fillet or the best prawns you can find.
Morwong have turned up also on the pinnacles closer to the beach and although I haven’t received any word of jewfish, have a live bait down and you’re in with a shot.
This month I recommend you cast lures every nook and cranny in the Hunter River for bream, fish the beaches with bait for the bream which should be running as you read this, live-bait for the last of the big flathead this season and dust off the luderick gear for the better times ahead. You could also get the knack for collecting crabs for groper and drop a few crab pots in the boat for the blueys.Reads: 1050