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The fish are nervous!
  |  First Published: December 2006



Remember when you were at school and sports day seemed like a relaxing, laid-back time? I reckon that December has the same feel.

With the combination of daylight saving, warm temperatures, prawn runs and school holidays, we all have an exciting month to enjoy around Lake Macquarie and the fish are nervous!

The lead-up to December has been exciting and the most prominent reports were from the local beaches, where on some occasions it was standing room only at favourite spots.

Jewfish have been taken consistently along Redhead, Jewells and Belmont beaches. Fish of 7kg to 13kg were more prevalent than the bigger, landmark fish although some jewfish to 23kg were captured. So beach fishos should be treated to some exciting sessions.

You can try the rising or falling tide, it didn’t seem to matter too much last month, The main point to consider is to be patient and stay for at least four or five hours in the evening or early morning. There are a few choices for bait. Firstly there’s the ever-reliable squid which you can rig on three 5/0 to 7/0 ganged hooks; or try a fillet of mullet or a tailor head or flank. You might even be bold enough to highlight the baits with an attractant such as Big John’s Prawn Mix, which is a spray on type –very smelly but works a treat.

KIDS’ STUFF

This is the time when the kids will have plenty of time to go fishing and with Mum and Dad on holidays, there’s no excuse. During the last couple of kids’ fishing clinics I held in November , it was rewarding to see so many youngsters take part in fishing for their very first time and equally rewarding to see them catch their first fish. It’s an apprenticeship that most of us went through, we needed to be shown how to cast, tie on and bait up a hook, use the drag and many other fundamentals. The kids need to be shown it all and then they will most likely catch more fish than you.

The lake is alive at the moment with undersize fish and baitfish so it’s a great idea to pick a spot in the shallows, berley up and simply teach the kids how to catch the smaller fish and, most importantly, how to release the undersized ones.

I’ve found the easiest way to illustrate the basics to a first-timer is to make use of a float and a smaller hook, maybe a No 6 or No 8 long-shank with a smaller bait. This way they can make a visual contact with the bite and calculate when to strike.

In the most recent clinic, two of the younger kids, age 3 and 5, caught a 65cm flathead and a metre-long long tom which tested out the small reels’ drags reels and made their eyes open up to the size of dinner plates when they saw these monsters appear.

It was extremely rewarding to be part of their first fish-catching experience.

If you have a boat, try the artificial reefs just off Galgabba Point , Swansea – the Fisheries divers tell me they are alive with fish.

Squidding can also be fun for the kids and Swansea Channel is a good place to start. Don’t be afraid to purchase quality squid jigs because they will catch more than the cheaper ones. Pay up to $25 and the results will show.

MARINE PARKS

With the Government releasing a statement that it will not be creating any marine parks in the Hawkesbury Shelf Bioregion it is imperative that we keep them honest.

I am told that some of the public have not received a response receipt for their Port Stephens Marine Park submission and if this is the case with you, call me on 02 4945 8922 because it seems that many people are in the same boat.

If many submissions have not been recognised, there is surely a serious flaw in the public consultation process.

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