Rain can lift the fishing
  |  First Published: March 2004

RAIN affects fishing a lot – ask any angler who targets jewfish regularly and they will agree. Bream, flathead and other species are similar; they either fire up in rain-affected water or totally close down.

A number of good storms have hit the Hunter coastline and with them came a lot of rain which profoundly affected our fishing. Some anglers say it was brilliant; other say it was a disaster.

The Stockton breakwall has, for a number of years, hosted a great number of the keenest jewie anglers. They chase this fish with a firm passion that nears insanity for some of them. They get very little sleep over a weekend, spending hours getting set up for a night’s fishing, only to have it pour down rain. But it doesn’t dampen their spirit, it does the opposite – they love it when it rains. Most local jewie anglers agree that the dirty water does things to the fish and most of the rock wall anglers do well on these nights.

March is a month when it may rain for a number of days. We all have heard that as a storm builds, the barometer can rise sharply and before the storm hits, bass and bream can go into a feeding frenzy in that calm before the storm. It has happened to me on a number of occasions.

When insects are around through March they seem to have a sixth sense that it is going to rain and they leave their nests in drains and under bridges to take flight. Fish seem to know this and they start feeding in the upper columns of the water. Bass anglers love March for this reason.

In the saltwater it’s not much different. Jewfish follow dirty water down and up rivers and use it to their advantage. Being able to hide in the discoloured water can mean they can see into the clearer water and strike from behind a curtain.

I am sure most Newcastle anglers have seen the five-mile stain that goes out to sea after rain in the Hunter River. I know a few anglers who troll along the edge of this stain to great effect. Tailor, jewfish and a lot of surface fish use this for cover.

March fishes well for a lot of species and using the rise and fall of a barometer can help in the salt and the fresh.

March is also a top month for crabs, both mud and blue swimmers, in the Hunter. They are pretty easy to catch as they’re in good numbers and a banquet can be had if you also chase squid and fish.

Most of our reefs at the moment are holding trag, jew, squire, morwong, bream and a lot of good-sized tailor. Squid are still hanging over North Reef as well as around Nobby’s Wall. Stockton wall is giving up some jewfish, although not many big ones have shown up at time of writing.

Whiting are all along South Stockton beach, behind the soccer ground, the Soldiers Pool and off the sea baths. Bream have slowed a little although the mangroves near Mosquito Creek have a few, as well as some nice flathead and flounder.

No 1,

Large tailor should be consistent throughout March. Pilchards on ganged hooks off the rocks at sunset is the best bet.


Good numbers of blue swimmer crabs have been taken throughout the Hunter River, this month is a great time to get some yourself.

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