Prime time at the Port
  |  First Published: February 2004

SUMMER is breezing along nicely. Already we have experienced a fabulous run of whiting along the beaches, followed closely by giant jewfish eager to swallow hooks baited with beach worms.

The kingfish are also starting to show in numbers around deep rocky headlands and the marlin season is in full swing. What else could you wish for?


One Mile, Samurai, Zenith, Box and Wreck beaches are all producing excellent catches of whiting and Stockton Beach has been firing unbelievably well. Jack and Don Wilson have been bagging nice feeds regularly on their preferred big beach worms on two-hook (No 4 Mustad 4190) paternoster rigs. They have been using this rig for decades and reckon the original style is still the best.

With all the fresh water late last year good numbers of jewfish have been making their way out of the estuaries and haunting the beach breaks. With recent attitudes changing towards fishing with lures for these powerful sport fish, I’m hoping to target them this year from the beach with large soft plastics.


This is when game anglers flock to Port Stephens to take advantage of our thriving marlin fishery. The warm water streaming south past our coastline can be a hit-and-miss affair with irregularities in the seasons, but all reports indicate a bumper season for the Port. Marlin fishing is one of the exciting forms of fishing. It’s the battle between humans with all their technology against one of the most splendid, acrobatic, stubborn fighting fish the ocean has to offer. Trolling live baits is one of the most popular techniques at Port Stephens, although lures work extremely well when covering large distances.


With boat traffic abating after the holiday season, the estuary system will settle back to its normal breeding and feeding ground for predators and prey. If you’re a bait angler interested in bagging a feed of flathead, get your hands on some frogmouth pilchards and drift the mudflats. Prawns are the flavor of the month for bream and an unweighted prawn drifted back into any oyster rack with decent current flow should be snaffled by bream. Early in the morning with a rising tide is the best time.

By now all the Christmas present witches’ hat crab nets should be worn out and the serious crabber can safely navigate the estuary without fear of entanglement. A day’s crabbing is always a good way to unwind.

*Picture 1:

Blue swimmer crabs are a Summer treat. Most are captured in witch’s hat nets.

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