Bream highlight catches
  |  First Published: March 2004

SWANSEA Channel and Lake Macquarie have been providing steady fishing with excellent catches of quality bream turning up on occasions.

The hard slog fishos are the blokes that get the rewards and some of them have been braving the elements all night for their bag. Flathead are still the mainstay of the boat anglers drifting the channel. Despite the hell of a hiding they take each year, they still keep turning up.

Tailor and whiting have been taken from the breakwalls and there have been a few reports of jewies to 15kg captured. The warm currents were slow moving in again this year, so the water temperature should stay up at least through the Autumn months. Warm water usually means good fishing in our area.


This month I have included a recipe for a mickey-mouse berley designed to empty the cupboard of all those eats that have passed their use-by dates. This mix is not recommended for human consumption – unless chilli sauce is added!

Commercial berley is great if you don’t have the time or the inclination to make your own. However, I have had excellent results with my own concoction. Ten minutes is all that it takes and there is enough for 10 super-powerful bombs.

In a large bucket mix the following;

1 packet of bread crumbs

Half a loaf of white bread, crumbled.

500g of chicken pellets.

One packet of breakfast biscuits, Weetbix or Vita Brits.

Half a packet of dried soup mix.

One small packet of rice.

Half a packet of dog food rings.

A large handful of rolled oats.

Add enough water to make into a firm but sloshy consistency, then add two cans of cheap sardines in oil, which have been mashed with two tablespoons of tomato sauce and half a cup of tuna oil. Mix until all ingredients are combined.

Pack into freezer bags or takeaway containers and freeze until required. Usually by the time you leave home and launch the boat, your bombs will start to thaw out. Attach an onion bag to a long line with your bomb safely inside and sink to the bottom. Remember, no plastic bags into the water.

The last time we used this berley mix I forgot to pull up the bag and 200 bream followed us back to the boat ramp and right into the carpark. Now I’m a fisherman, so you know I would not tell a lie!


With the good fishing of Autumn upon us, and I decided it was time to upgrade some of my storage of fishing gear. The tackle box was my main concern, so it was the first item to get the boot. With all those pretty squiggly things and fancy lures on display in the tackle shops and department stores that you simply must have, the tackle box becomes a little bit crowded. But some of the gear, I’m sure catches more anglers than fish, me included.

I have a box full of lures but out of all of them I keep reaching for just a few that I know will catch fish. So the question is, do we need all those lures? Of course we do. After all, the tackle box is a kind of status symbol. I never let a chance go by to open the tackle box and show off a few hard-bodied lures that have fishy teethmarks in the paint work, or some softies with bite marks, or tails bit off.

The range of boxes available can be quite daunting but where there are many choices there is a better chance of coming up with the article that suits you best.

My final selection was a Plano three-tray version. The box is of solid design with plenty of room for lures and all the other gear we try to cram into a box for a day’s fishing. This handy tackle box retails for around $70 and for a bloke not into buying expensive gear, it represented good value for the money.


During the Christmas break a mate went for a late evening fishing jaunt on Lake Macquarie. Just on dark, the battery in his boat died and all efforts to rope-start the motor failed. No help was at hand and a brisk southerly blew him a hell of a long away from where he wanted to be.

The same thing almost happened to me. Returning from a morning’s fishing, I hooked up the rabbit ears to flush the motor and, you guessed it, the battery was dead.

The next day I replaced the battery and bought $200 worth of insurance in the form of a 24-amp-hour Jumpstart. These Jumpstarts are portable and easy to store and if they accidentally get tipped over it won’t damage the dry cell battery. The Jumpstart is now part of the gear list that’s loaded in the boat before each outing.

These little units will jump-start almost anything except heavy diesel motors. Great insurance for the outlay.

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