A good time to be out there
  |  First Published: March 2005

This is one of the better months to be out there seeking fish and reports indicate this March looks as if it will live up to its reputation.

As I write this there are whispers of marlin and mahi mahi offshore and lots of tailor, bream and whiting in close.

The rock platforms from Swansea Heads to Merewether have been the scenes of plenty of captures of good-sized tailor. On the afternoons when the nor’-easters have blowing the smaller boats in Swansea Channel have had some great fishing trolling chrome lures just inside the break.

At high tide around Lucys Wall and Moon Island, tailor of 2kg have been taken and the usual rat kings have joined in. A lot of keen afternoon fishos have been busted up on the kings.

Whiting are spread throughout the channel and Lake Macquarie. By far the best bait is bloodworms, followed by live beach worms. Add some red to your rig, such as a red bead or bit of wool, and the whiting go mad.

Along Redhead Beach some large bream have been taken, along with some sizable whiting. The rising tide in the afternoon is best. Find a gutter or anywhere a flow of water channeling back out into the depths and you should find some fish. The ends of deep gutters on a rising tide will usually fit this description – great places for all sorts of beach species.

The drop-over into the lake is producing whiting and flathead, although not all are huge. I had a trip with the kids for some fun and turned up four flounder of good size, two whiting and about 60 small bream and squire, but this is typical of the area.

In the lake itself, especially around Eraring and Myuna Bay, the tailor and bream have been of good size and numbers. It’s a shame that there are large numbers of people who obviously haven’t been in this country long who persist in keeping undersize fish. One angler even told me the tiny bream were tarwhine, so they only had to be 20cm. I won’t repeat what I said to him, I wish an inspector had come down as the whole family were keeping undersized fish. My daughter and I left disgusted.

The hot water outlet rock wall at Stingaree Point will become off-limits to fishing from 6pm to 6am from May until August. It is signposted fairly well, warning of hefty fines.

There have been reports of a lot of flathead up around The Basin area with one keen angler telling me he had a 3kg lizard thrashing on the surface until it cut through his line. The ferry wharf and behind the new Honeysuckle area have been the pick of spots for the flathead.


The jewfish in the Hunter have slowed again with sparse reports of a couple of fish around 5kg to 7kg but, on the bright side, the offshore scene is heating up with good squire and snapper coming from the Dumping Grounds and the Granites.

The Mud Hole is fishing well for flathead and travelling tailor in the late evenings. School sharks have shown up and the Stockton wall has had a number of small hammerheads and small bronze whalers busting up those looking for jewfish.

Marlin have been spotted offshore. They showed earlier in the season and were patchy but it looks as if they’re here now. The trap markers in Stockton Bight have been holding mahi mahi although they’re very wide out and only the bigger boats are making the best of it.

Squid have been in plagues and all the early-morning live-baiters on North Reef have been complaining that these cephalopods have been killing their livies. I would gladly spend the day next to them just targeting these tasty little suckers.

A couple of the young guys from Compass Pools have let on that in the evenings just off Big Ben Reef they have been getting plate-size snapper on floating half-pilchards drifted out a berley trail. This area is hazardous for those not in the know but it also produces a lot of good fish. Trolling around the reef on a calm day can pay with some very big tailor, especially this month.

Get the big guns out and start trolling. March has a great reputation for offshore lure-munching fish. A teaser and a skirt or live bait and you should be in with a chance.

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