The best of the year
  |  First Published: April 2006

This month can produce some of the best fishing conditions of the year.

Those chasing flathead in Lake Macquarie will have improved chances after such a productive February-March. Whether you choose to live bait with poddy mullet, drift with dead baits or use lures, the fish are there and willing.

Favourite locations include the sand and weed beds in Swansea Channel and along the eastern side of the drop-over. Also try areas such as the southern end of Lake Macquarie, which is sometimes not fished as frequently as it should be.

You have a good chance of catching a small snapper or jewfish in these areas while using live baits, especially in the deeper water.

Tailor continue to amaze with recent catches including fish to 3kg.These larger fish have been trolled up around the deeper water off Pulbah Island, the south-east corner being the deepest.

Would you believe that in March there were numerous hook-ups on hammerhead sharks? Some fishos casing kingies at the bridge were done up big-time by hammers to 1.8 metres and some were landed in Belmont Bay by others fishing for jewfish. It’s great to see the fishery so healthy.

If you chase kingfish at the bridge, make sure you go prepared because some large fish frequent those pylons. Live squid or plastic squid will do the damage.

Fennels Bay bridge has always been a largely neglected location for years but has been very productive. This area is relatively shallow but don’t discount it for flatties or jew.


Jewfish off the beaches over the past month or so have been a little slow but areas such as Blacksmiths and Belmont beaches produced the goods with some 7kg to 10kg fish.

Dudley and Redhead beaches have the history of harbouring some big fish over the years, with even some big snapper caught on Dudley Beach in times gone by.

If you want to target big jew then try a rising tide and the dark moon phase of an evening up to 1am with baits such as whole squid, mullet fillets and tailor heads. The jew can’t resist a good head.

Some afternoons can be off-putting as the north easterly wind can get up to 20 knots but it pays to persist as this wind will normally drop off after dark.

Rock fishos can live it up this month as the water temperature and variety of rock species combine to present some rewarding outings. March reports were excellent and included kingfish, bonito, mackerel tuna, bream, snapper, tailor and even some yellowfin tuna showed up.

Redhead rocks can be fished in most sea conditions with some big platforms such as Tommys just perfect for spinning. Landmark, the first platform that you land on when completing the descent from the Goat Track, is an excellent ledge for jew and snapper.

Southern rock spots include Catherine Hill Bay and Moonee. The easiest way to access these spots is via the short track to the left just south of the Catherine Hill Bay turn-off. It’s an excellent location for rock fishing all year round but hits it’s straps from March to May.

Try live-baiting with some of the small mack tuna that frequent these rocks – the hoodlum-class kingies can’t resist them.

Andrew Buresch with a 1.4kg bream caught in Swansea channel on soft plastics.

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