Rain helps the cause
  |  First Published: May 2006

A few showers was all it took and the fishing seems to improved tenfold, the phones running hot with information of jewfish everywhere and some nice flathead.

The amazing part is that the water isn’t cooling to quickly around these parts so this month we could be in for some great fishing.

There are those days and nights when you cannot get anyone to go fishing with you, with excuses ranging from ‘the estuary is too fresh’ to ‘there are no fish around’. Despite all efforts to be talked out of a fishing evening and after a fair bit of rain, Rob Stokes wandered down under the Karuah bridge with a couple of old faithful rods and some large squid and after a few fruitless hours was about to give up when he hooked the fish of a lifetime.

With no gaff and after the fish made a dash around an oyster-covered pylon, Rob landed it after 20 minutes in front of a sizeable audience. It went a massive 30kg and judging by the amount of bronze through the fish’s scales, it was an old-timer that had been in the river for quite a while. So if you feel a night might not be right for fishing or everyone is trying to put you off, remember Rob’s effort.

The blue swimmer crabs I mentioned last month didn’t let me down. Some of the biggest crabs I have seen in a long time have come from areas in Lake Macquarie including Swansea Channel drop over across to Coal point and anywhere sand and weed are abundant.

A few locals fishing the Hunter River have scored great flathead to 2kg in what they reckon is a later-than-usual season. I put it down to little rain and the fact the flathead moved along way up-river with so much salinity in the water. As you read this it will probably be the end of their run and the bream will be more concentrated.

Off Stockton Beach there have been some nice tailor along with travelling bream. Both should be thicker right now and the salmon will also show up – perfect for the kids. They love to catch fish on their outings and salmon are one of the easiest.

The reefs from Seal Rocks down to Swansea should have great morwong, leatherjackets, snapper, bream and tailor over the next three month. Increasing numbers of groper are also a chance on the deeper reefs with crab baits, turban snails and cunjevoi. They aren’t just a shallow-water fish and you could be in for a tremendous battle if you hook a good one. Remember the bag limit is only two.

A berley trail of crushed sea urchins is the best method I have come across to get them going. Most fish go mental for sea urchins crushed and put in an old onion sack with a brick to get the berley down deep over the reef . Don’t just feed it from a bucket on the boat which lets it drift away from the target area.

I have spied the first luderick fishermen of the season walk past our house in the past week so the ‘vege fish’, as I call them, must be around. I can’t seem to bring myself to fish for them yet, it’s a stigma of age like taking up lawn bowls!

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