If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em
  |  First Published: August 2006

It is most rewarding to hear of some good catches as results of my recommendations about gear and location in previous issues.

It is obvious that those of us who really are keen anglers will apply the time and effort regardless of whatever time of year it may be.

Those numbers of leatherjackets offshore certainly don’t look like going away in a hurry and if you can get ‘through’ them to the more favoured species such as snapper and perch, at least the jackets are there for the taking. Last month I advocated the use of soft wire as a jacket-resistant trace and many readers took up the challenge with success.

This wire is constructed of miniature strands of stainless steel and is extremely flexible, kink-resistant and ideal for presenting bait at any depth. It is available in breaking strains from 10kg to 25 kg and retails around $12 for a 5m spool.

Give it a try, avoid the frustration of bite-offs and enjoy your fishing time offshore. Those jackets eat pretty well and some excellent catches of snapper and perch were reported in late July by anglers who managed to get through the hungry hordes.

Locals Jason Nunn and John Frith can attest to the numbers of bream and tailor in Lake Macquarie. Jason has seldom come home empty-handed from his many trolling expeditions.

He favours deep-diving lures such as Killalures, RMGs and River 2 Sea models. They need to have big bibs to achieve the required depth of 5m to 7m. Keep them free from weedif necessary, use a 2oz to 3oz bean sinker about 3m to 4m back from the lure behind a swivel.

Tailor of 2 plus kg will hover over the lake bottom, so the deeper the better. Reports of 3kg to 7kg tailor have been received along with stories of numerous flathead to 3kg falling prey to the same lures.

Green Point was one of the hot spots in July and there is easy access for land-based anglers on the Green Point wharf.

John Frith and Jan Mikula have been enjoying the cool evenings chasing bream, with bag-limit results. Most of the fish have been averaging 700g to 1.2kg and the best baits to use have been fresh mullet and fine strips of garlic-marinated chicken breast fillet.

So August won’t be much different, with the exception of the sometimes fierce westerly winds which can create uncomfortable conditions offshore and on the lake. So pick the best days to approach both stretches of water and the results will be there. The current offshore will normally be minimal.


These same offshore winds can benefit rock and beach anglers by flattening the ocean swells and allowing a closer approach to the ocean rocks. August is a time when Winter rock species are abundant and July reports of solid black drummer, luderick and salmon should improve further.

All the usual locations, such as Catherine Hill Bay south to Moonee, will serve you well.

There are two main entry points, the first from Catherine Hill Bay. Just alongside the jetty is a locked gate where you can leave your car and walk the rest of the way.

And about 1km north of the Catherine Hill Bay turn-off on the eastern side is a sealed road that leads into the bush, again to a locked gate. The only unfortunate part is that your car will be in jeopardy of being damaged by vandals so be conscious of this if you decide to leave your car there.


Part of my job as president of Newcastle ECO Fishers is to inform anglers of the long-term effect of the proposed sanctuary zones. There are many other options apart from closing large tracts of much-cherished fishing areas. Most anglers I’ve spoken to agree that the bag limits and fish sizes should be revised to accommodate the increasing recreational activity.

The return deadline for the Port Stephens Marine Park submission forms has been extended to September 23. Three thousand blank forms were printed and a mere 700 have been returned – not enough to get our message across, so it is imperative that all of us have our say.

Try this soft wire to reduce the frustration of leatherjackets while fishing deep offshore reefs

Local tailor king Stan Goffett with some typical Lake Macquarie models.

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