Worth getting up for
  |  First Published: July 2006

It’s difficult enough getting out of bed in the early hours to go fishing without having to brave the cold. Sliding out from doona requires plenty of willpower and sitting on the loo is like having a branding iron on your bum! Luckily there is no better motivation than good fishing to get you going and this is the order this month.

The direction of the fishing has changed from previous months with more focus on the coastal washes and lower areas of the lake and breakwalls. There have been heaps of slimy mackerel, pike, yellowtail and glassies streaming around the rocks along the breakwalls and it is no surprise to see anglers lining up on the Forster and Tuncurry sides.

School jew, and some better fish, have been falling to live baits and the odd big plastic thrown from the walls. Fish from 6kg to 20kg are plenty big enough for most anglers for a feed. Robby Thorlington snagged a jewie of 25kg not long ago on a big Storm lure.

The abundance of bait along the wall has draw in a swag of predators like the jew, big tailor and the odd mack tuna. The fickle nature of the bait schools could turn and their visit may be short-lived so check out the bottom of the tide along the break walls for some action.

The bream should be gathering in the lower lake with plans to head out and travel. A bit of rain will encourage aggregation and in the mean time you can see plenty of fish in The Paddock area. Rain will also put a little colour in the water because it has been so clear you can see to the bottom in nine metres and it is making lure fishing very difficult, even with very light leaders.

Night sessions with bait around the leases will give good results but the cold night air will be a factor. Mullet gut and yabbies are gun baits for bream but a Gulp worm in a natural colour has been very effective, too.

I have noticed a good number of big blackfish in the lake around the leases and weed beds. The capture of blackfish on plastics is a good indication they are hungry so anyone drifting weed over these areas should do OK on the luderick this month.


Perhaps one of the main focuses for this time of year is the drummer. The Summer hordes of bait pickers, toads and butterfish, have generally thinned out along the ocean rocks and have given the pigs an opportunity at a bait. You will still have to contend with the kelpies and wirrahs but they are a part of rock-fishing life.

Keeping with and environmental theme and the impending no-take zones of the marine park the best bait for the rock blackfish is fresh bread. This eliminates the need to cut cunjevoi from the rocks and reduces the risk of getting wet and freezing.

Abalone gut stinks and is becoming expensive so fresh bread gets my vote. A mate and I are planning a fish-off to see which bait, bread or ab gut, catches the most. I’ll keep you posted.

There are some huge tailor along the coast along with plenty of pan-sized fish. One report from a reliable source described two tailor around 6kg being landed along with some kilo fish. Travelling bream have also turned up along the beaches and rock washes and are willing to take strip baits, pilchard pieces and worms.

Offshore fishing around the full moon could get you into the trag on the closer reefs as well as heap of flatties, the odd snapper and nannygai. Don’t expect to set record catches but you should be confident of a decent feed.

On a personal note I would like to express my sadness at the passing of Forster local Nigel Pringle, whose love of fishing was unquestioned. He will be deeply missed by all that knew him and fished with him. His generous nature, his life experience and his enthusiasm for fishing were refreshing. To Nigel’s family, we share your loss.

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