Some surprises in the lake
  |  First Published: October 2006

The phone fell out of my hands when I heard reports of a white shark swimming in Lake Macquarie. That and stories of a few snapper around 2kg and a hammerhead that was caught at the power station outlet really got me thinking about the lake.

There have been a few sharks sighted in the lake including that white shark, around 2m, spotted around Pulbah Island by an angler who knew exactly what he was seeing. About six months ago a white shark of this size was caught in a pro net in Tuggerah lakes so the lake Macquarie sighting wasn’t that unlikely, especially when combined with the landing of a hammerhead at the power station outlet and my son and I spotting a small bronze whaler on the surface while we fished the Telstra Trench.

Yes, the lack of commercial netting certainly seems to have boosted life in the lake.

Around Coal Point a few anglers have been getting some very decent squire, bordering on snapper up to 2kg and a number of good bream. Bets are on that across the cockle beds in Belmont, a few more will show up over the next few months.

Around Newcastle and the Hunter River the reports haven’t been great but should change by the time you read this.

Blue swimmer crabs were the focus of many anglers through September and this month they should become thicker. Through the whole of Winter the flathead just haven’t left and you should also be aware of the numbers of bream up around the Fullerton Cove.

The jewfish season starts to fire from October although lack of rain has made the fish hard to find over the past year or so. Most anglers had to really work the moons and tides to be successful, especially when all livebait grounds were covered in sweep and leatherjackets, making it hard to get yellowtail for the night sessions.

The offshore story hasn’t that great, either. The reefs off Newcastle have been covered in snapper but as Kelvin Oldham and Barry Gamer found, the massive schools showing on the sounder were all under size fish. The reefs off Merewether were the same so the lads trolled pink skirts around North Reef and had some fun with the rat kingfish.

The Farm Reef has been holding some decent squire, some very big leatherjackets but once again a lot of sweep, sergeant bakers and rock cod. Calling into a tackle shop for the freshest reports is probably the best way go because this month can produce hit-and-miss fishing.


I call the October long weekend the start of the proper freshwater fishing throughout the Hunter region. Raymond Terrace through to Morpeth, along with the junction of the Williams up to the weir at Seaham, are worth a try for bass. Troll the reeds or flick lures to the snags but don’t forget flathead, school jew, tailor, bream and whiting move right up into these areas when seasons are as dry as this. High salinity levels can make fish stray a long way.

I have spent a lot of time on the beaches lately as they seem to be the best option. Looking back over my diary, I can say October can really fire. Early whiting can be large and the returning bream can get big, too.

In a quick session on Redhead Beach a few weeks ago my first and third casts with a large white Raider lure took good salmon. After this my shoulder wore out but just up the beach anglers were getting five to 10 fish each. They told me they preferred to catch something rather than nothing.

I have heard whispers from prominent fishermen that it could be time to let the pros get into the salmon with nets again. Let’s not jump the gun – with these schools are bream, tailor, whiting and jewfish, all travelling with them. Nets don’t discriminate and will take all those fish.

Maybe the increasing salmon schools show that when fish are left alone their numbers do grow to amazing levels. Salmon and kingfish are becoming species all can easily go and catch these days.

But the huge numbers of salmon have me thinking about the proliferation of sharks again.

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