Top times ahead
  |  First Published: December 2004

It’s shaping up to be a great fishing year.

Huge bream and whiting are cruising most of our beaches and although not at their peak yet, flathead have taken up residence in the Newcastle Harbour and Swansea Channel.

Lure-tossers will be very happy with some huge bream around the Carrington Basin area and drifting Throsby Creek has turned up flounder and plate-sized flathead.

On a trip through the Harbour not long back I talked to a few guys building a boat in the shipyard at Throsby. They told me they throw bread crusts around at lunchtimes and at times have seen some very large bream, a couple of huge luderick and some long tom eat their offerings. Food for thought isn’t it? A quill float and some fresh bread makes for a cheap way to fish but you can be very successful this way.

On the same trip I had a great conversation with some Newcastle helicopter pilots who told me that on most flights up the coast over the past few months they had seen huge schools of fish, mostly salmon and tailor, along with some very big sharks in Stockton Bight. That should make for some great beach fishing – just remember if you get busted up they could be those sharks.

Boats venturing outside have been cleaning up on plate-size snapper and the odd kingfish. Although they’re not thick, the kings are definitely worth targeting. Redhead and the Merewether reefs are by far the best spots.

The tides around the full and new moon are working well for jewfish and a few locals have been live-baiting for them just off Big Ben Reef, the Mud Hole and Granites. The school jew are averaging 8kg to 15kg.

From now until March is great for the Stockton breakwall fishos and with a lot of big jew and sharks.


Around Swansea the fishing has been quite good with large whiting being taken on the drift in the channel on worms and yabbies. Some really fresh prawns, either peeled or beheaded, are the next-best bet.

Bream are being caught around the bridge and Lucy’s Wall, while Black Ned’s Bay has nice flathead and the drop-over for some just legal squire. Target the drop-over at night and you may get a few surprises: A number of bream around 1.5kg have been taken, mainly on the dark of the moon on floating prawn baits.

In Lake Macquarie the prawns are making a run, with Swan Bay and the shallows down from the Belmont Sixteen-Footers productive for waders with scoop nets and lanterns or torches. Our family and friends got 3kg of prime prawns alongside the track next to Pelican Airport in Swan Bay recently and had a lot of fun in the process.

Don’t forget, with so many prawns moving around you never know what might take one set out on a hook.

This is when I usually hear the crabs are out in force and there were heaps a couple of months ago but lately few have been caught. Black Ned’s Bay is usually reliable if you want to drop witches’ hats somewhere.

While you’re in Swansea, head over to the pub in the centre of town and check out the stuffed bream that was caught in the late 1950s. If it didn’t reach nearly 4kg I will eat my fishing cap. This monster was taken directly across the road.

A huge bream taken on a Storm soft plastic next to Forjac’s Floating Dock. The cropped tail indicates it may have been released from a prior fishing comp somewhere.

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