Make time to go fishing
  |  First Published: December 2003

ANOTHER YEAR has begun and it’s time to put in place a few strategic moves to make sure you really enjoy the fishing we are having at the moment.

Too many people I know have absolutely no time to pursue the things they love – fishing, camping and travelling. It seems that having to work from sunup to sundown is becoming the norm for most families and just to have one day a week to do something you love is asking too much. The New Year is without doubt the time to think ahead and plan for a little enjoyment. You know the old saying, ‘Too much work and no play…’

So spare a few thoughts on how this next year can be better for you. Fishing is a great anti-stress activity so use it for fun, food or sport or pure relaxation. The benefits of just being out there sometimes outweigh the real demands of life – we only live once and the fun and enjoyment we get from what we love can be good for our well-being and can extend our lifespan.

January fishing right along the Hunter Coast is at its peak. From now until April is the best time to chase fish on the beaches, in the estuary, and certainly offshore. And freshwater fishing also comes alive now.

Catches have been coming in thick and fast. Whiting have invaded all the estuaries. Best methods are drifting with beach worms or bloodworms, especially from the Kooragang Island point past Stockton Bridge to the start of the mangroves.

Bream are also featuring in most catches and can be caught on baits of crab, royal red prawns, yabbies, bread or small unweighted strips of mullet or slimy mackerel. Try the deep drop-overs near the Stockton Wrecks, Nobby’s and Stockton breakwalls, the Soldiers Pool and on the rocks at the Newcastle sea baths. All these places will produce bream, especially in the evening.

Outside fishing is picking up. North Reef and the outer edges of Big Ben Reef have some nice squire to a kilo and this month both these areas also have a lot of flathead. Just off the reefs you’ll take bream and whiting if you hang over the sandy edges.

All sorts of surface fish run through these two major reef systems so trolling chrome lures, small skirts or poppers may see a few kingfish attack. Striped tuna, big bonito and tailor crash lures and bait at times around here, so you may hook anything. Live-baiting is the best option. As well as those surface fish, some large jewfish and sharks stalk these two areas, especially at night.

If you want to learn more about game fishing, I believe trolling guru Peter Pakula will visit Freddy’s Fishing World in Newcastle around the middle of this month. Check radio stations and local newspapers for the exact date. Peter always puts on a very informative session and you will gain a lot from his experience.

No 1,

A couple of chubby little whiting taken on the drift. This month these sweet fish are abundant throughout the Newcastle region – try beach or blood worms for best results.

No 2,

Although not a place for the inexperienced, water such as this can fish well for bream. Brewing Summer afternoon storms and wild wave action stir up the bottom and fish react to it.

No 3

Do what you can to get on the water but get there – this is the peak time for good fishing.

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