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A cracker month ahead
  |  First Published: May 2006



Mullet schools have been moving into the river, hotting up the action around the walls and nearby beaches and if water temps stay pretty much the same, we’re in for a cracker month.

School mulloway should be on offer with the odd salmon hanging around. North Shore and Lighthouse beaches should be the pick spots with worms or live baits the best options. Don’t forget to give the stretches of beach adjacent to the entrance of Lake Cathie a try.

Bream will start moving around on the beaches and some quality fish should show up along with the odd whiting. Those inclined to toss some pilchards or slabs of flashy metal for tailor will find the walls an option if there is any dirty water around or they can try any of the rock locations, with the pick spots The Pyramid at Tacking Point Lighthouse or Grants Head at Bonny Hills.

Offshore action should be great if you’re looking to chase snapper; some good fish have been caught already this season and if conditions allow this should continue. Baitfish have still been in good numbers and the kingfish should still be hanging around if the water temperature is good.

Pearl perch and morwong should also be willing on the wider reefs. Make sure you check the weather conditions and the bar before heading out and stay safe.

The estuary systems have been very productive for good numbers of flathead, bream and whiting. This month luderick should join the list. The most favoured luderick spot is the bend in the South Wall, which provides easy access. If you have a boat then venture into areas where there are patches of weed and slight variations in depth and you should have a lot of fun. The pick location would be the weed and little channels at the mouth of the Maria River.

RIVER REWARDS

It’s been four years now since the Hastings River and its associated waterways was made a recreational fishing area and closed to commercial fishing. I think it is just starting to bounce back.

We’re seeing larger numbers of baitfish in the river, the weed beds have healthy growth and the fishing is improving. As an indication, on two of my recent outings the guys with me have each caught protected estuary cod. Both were relatively small fish but with excellent marking and impressive teeth and were caught while chasing bream. Each fish was quickly photographed and released unharmed.

Fish of this quality reflect a healthy system, and if you encounter one of these beautiful fish then please handle it with extreme care and make sure it is safely returned to the water.

Surface fishing is still worthwhile on the Hastings with my records showing the largest bream I’ve caught on a surface lure came in May. Early in Summer bream readily take surface lures, then in late Autumn seem to sense that this valuable food source is running short and are quick to snaffle a lure.

After the first BASS Pro event of the year ABT tournament director Simon Goldsmith and I had a session on the Hastings. With a making tide and the likelihood of nasty weather we decided the canals would be a good option.

Using the ‘pink grubbing’ technique described in a recent issue of NSWFM and the odd small diving minnow, we had a cracker session. We got a fair number of fish before the rain got serious and when it became torrential we continued to catch quality fish at a good rate, notching up more than 30.

Thinking outside the square got us the results. On a day when anyone with any sense would have stayed at home or gone home as soon as the first downpour came, we kept at it and gave the fish something we were sure they would never have seen in these conditions.

The usual spots in the canals gave results but the less likely abandoned and barren areas were the key to our success. It just goes to show that a little patience and willingness to try something different in the most unlikely situation and conditions can produce outstanding results and a bloody good time.

Lastly Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there. Guys, don’t forget to do something special for your Mum. Give her some peace and quiet and take the kids fishing or take the whole family on an outing.

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