Hoping for current
  |  First Published: December 2002

Hoping for current

As anglers, we are totally dependent on the weather. It governs when we can go fishing and when the fish will be on the bite.

Lately the weather has been downright horrible. Many normal people would beg to differ with that statement, because of the bright sunny days – but they’re usually not anglers.

The fishing has been quiet for the past few months. You could almost say we’re in the middle of a fish drought. But, thanks to the warm current from the north that should be well and truly ripping past our shores, bringing rich blue water and much-needed rain, the fish shouldn’t be far behind.

Dolphin fish usually turn up just that bit before everything else. Its no secret that they like structure – flotsam and jetsam, trap boys and current lines. Although they usually reside from about the 40-fathom mark seaward, ‘dollies’ last year came in close. I heard reports of them being taken in the wash around Cabbage Tree Island.

They can be caught in a few different ways. One of the easiest ways is to troll small lures around any of that structure. Usually the bigger specimens come from trolled or drifted livies but they will fall to larger, well-presented trolling lures.

Out in that blue 21˚-plus water, marlin will be hunting down a feed. So those guys who like to get out and target them will be pleased that there is supposed to be a cracker season approaching. Keen marlin fisho Wes Tolhurst predicted that because of the current El Nino the small blacks will be hot to trot this season. The last time we had this effect was 1998-1999, which was one of the best seasons on record.

The offshore reefs are usually beginning to fire, with jew, trag, snapper and nannygai caught by the bottom-bouncers and charter boats. Any of the reefs will fire at one time or another. The V, The 21, The Tank and Uralla are some of the more recognised reefs which can be easily found with the aid of a Stinker Fishing Map from tackle shops and tourist information centres throughout the port.

Flathead invasion

Inside the port we have been experiencing a flathead invasion. They’re everywhere, right throughout the system. Because of the lack of rain, even the upper reaches of the Myall and Karuah rivers are producing quality fish. The latest craze is soft plastics and, yes, they do work more effectively than anything I’ve ever seen before. Used properly, they will easily outfish bait and that’s not said lightly. A couple of months ago I introduced Wayne Coles to one of the best soft plastics, a Squidgy. In the following month he and his three sons caught and released well over 130 flatties.

Bream and whiting are also spread out. Good catches of bream have been reported from the oyster racks around Corrie Island on the rising tide with bait and on the falling tide with lures and fly. Bream are known to scavenge on the run-in tide and turn into ferocious predators hunting down and hammering live prawns and small fish in the turbid ebbing water.

Whiting are being caught on the drift in the Port and off many beaches on live beach worms. So if you need a feed in a hurry, whiting are one of the best eating fish in the ocean and one of the easiest to catch.

So, with the weather in transit and the fish drought beginning to break, there shouldn’t be a better time to wet a line.



Good catches of bream have been reported from the oyster racks around Corrie Island.


The lizards have invaded Port Stephens, munching everything from live baits to soft plastics and flies.

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