Warming up on the beaches
  |  First Published: July 2006

This month the howling westerly winds will set in and you have to be pretty keen to get out on the water and have a go at the fish.

I call July a beach fishing month because the dunes shelter your back and the wind blows the seas into a calm lake look-alike.

On the Hunter we are blessed with enough beaches to satisfy everyone and the good thing is most people don’t have to travel far to find an isolated little spot to call their own. Blacksmiths, Redhead, Belmont, the Newcastle surf beaches and, of course, Stockton Beach all are within an hour’s drive no matter where you live in Newcastle and through the colder months they all fish well.

While on the Central Coast a few days ago some fishos said they had never seen as many salmon hanging close to shore off Avoca, along with a few big kingfish and patches of tailor and even a large shark.

I’m not a huge fan of salmon, I think they have their place in the scheme of things as most fish do, but from year to year they are becoming so thick that at times it’s hard to catch any other species along our beaches, even when using bait supposed to be undesirable to them.


A drive down to a famous spot in Stockton showed me the feelings some fishos have for this species. A couple of dozen fish were discarded on the beach and about 10 thrown along the access track. This is not a good look for us anglers and this isn’t the first time. I wrote about this a couple of times last year.

But salmon are great fish to catch for kids and novices and many anglers keep them and make patties or curries of sorts. So next time you get into a heap of them, if you are going to eat them that’s fine but if not, simply let them go. It’s a much better option than stinking up a fishing spot.

We must show we concerned about our environment and mustn’t litter or discard fish. We also have to drive sensibly around the dunes and generally show respect. Most of us realise it’s just a few that make the majority look bad so we need to let the idiots know we aren’t happy if we see this sort of thing happening.

Reports from around Newcastle Harbour are very slim, with even a lot of diehard fishos staying in front of a heater. But the few who are braving the cold are being rewarded with bream, luderick, tailor and the odd school jew.

Geoff Allen from West End Tackle reports a number of anglers taking bream from boats up around Sandgate and towards Hexham on soft plastics.

Stockton locals have been feasting on fresh squid which are holding up around the sea side of Stockton Wall. Salmon are right along the big beach with a few bream showing.

Out on the reefs, trevally have shown up and at the time of writing even some large bonito were taken on the surface around North Reef. Leatherjackets should be worth a try along with morwong.

Don’t forget the shallow reefs in close for groper, morwong and the bigger jackets, anywhere there’s a lot of kelp should hold them.

And remember, the Hunter River is not a great place when the westerly winds are wild, especially when they blow against an incoming tide.

No 1,

This huge whiting was taken a little out of season, just going to show that with a line in the water, anything can turn up.

No 2,

A great selection of bait for offshore fishing. Not many reef fish will resist one or two of these.

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