Lake improves markedly
  |  First Published: December 2003

LAKE MACQUARIE has been free of commercial netting for over 12 months now and I think the fishing has improved out of sight.

More schools of tailor than ever I’ve seen for a long time are cruising the lake and legal-size squire and quality bream are becoming common.

Blue swimmer crabs are plentiful and well worth the trouble to catch a feed. Witches’-hat nets are a popular way to catch the blueys but for me they have become too much trouble. I have scrapped all my witches’ hats and made open hoop nets from the rings. The open nets save a lot of trouble where jennies in berry are concerned; they can be released with no damage to you or the crab. If you have ever tried getting jennies in roe out of a witch’s-hat net with a howling southerly blowing, you will get my point.

The best way to operate the open nets is to check them every half-hour or so, and use a mesh bait pouch to stop the crabs from eating the bait. The open drop nets will handle mud crabs if there are any around.

The breakwalls of Swansea Channel have been firing with tailor, bream and jewies turning up in numbers, so get out on the walls and give it a go. This run should continue through this month and the remainder of the Summer.

January is an excellent month for chasing flathead in the channel but they cop a hell of a hiding through the school holidays, so dodging boats can become the name of the game.

The weather for the past few months has been out of season with a lot of wind, rain and cold southerlies. This weather pattern is not good for beach fishing, but a few bream, tailor and flathead have been turning up off Blacksmiths Beach on the calmer mornings and evenings.

The prawns have been running and I’m predicting this month to be a ripper. For those who don’t own a boat, a torch and a scoop net is all that’s needed to wade the shallow shores of Lake Macquarie to catch a feed of prawns. The dark of the moon with a falling tide is best.


For the boat angler, drifting the channel for flathead, bream and flounder will produce a feed but if the traffic is a bit thick, there are plenty of options out in the lake. Drifting baits or tossing lures along the drop-overs into the deeper waters of the lake is one of my favourite pastimes.

For the land-based anglers, the breakwalls and the many groynes along the Swansea Channel offer excellent fishing, and there is another option. On the southern side of the channel below the Coast Guard station, the rock platforms are a good bet for flathead, bream and drummer when the weather is right.

No 1.

A handy bait pouch for open crab nets or witches’ hats can be made from plastic gutter guard. The pouches do get chewed and will need to be replaced from time to time.

No 2.

Fishing the groynes along the Swansea Channel is popular with land-based anglers. This one near the aerodrome is a popular black fish spot when the striped critters are about.

No 3.

The rock platforms on the southern side of Swansea Channel below the Coast Guard station offer some interesting fishing options when the weather permits.

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