Hitting the spot
  |  First Published: April 2003

I know a lot of offshore fishermen and some have discovered great places to fish. A few are pretty secretive about their favourite spots and others don’t mind giving a few up for others to try.

Technology and fishing are going ahead in great leaps and bounds. State-of-the-art sounders and GPS units are really up their when it comes time to find a small offshore reef. But even with the best equipment, things can still go wrong. You need be only five metres away from a waypoint and if you head in the wrong direction, you may not see anything on the sounder for miles, wasting time and expensive fuel.

A co-ordinate punched into a GPS isn’t always on the dot and if you’ve been given the mark by a friend, ask for depths and changes in the area. Along with the numbers and the depth a mud map or a rough drawing of the landmarks should give you a better chance to find the ground.

And when you’re sure you’re really close, don’t run too far away from the marks in any one direction. Do small circles a few metres wider every time. Friends and I have found that some of the time the GPS numbers will be out anything from five to 15 metres but that’s not bad when out in the big blue yonder.

A friend went to do his Master Class V licence in Sydney because the local Newcastle TAFE campus didn’t have enough students for a class. Sitting in the room were fishermen from all parts of the east coast. Not being shy, he announced he’d shout a carton of beer for some co-ordinates for all the areas these fishos were from. They couldn’t blurt them out fast enough and when the amber fluid flowed a little more, loose lips were the norm.

Fishing this month is usually pretty good, We can have days when no wind comes up and sitting on a glassy sea over a reef is comfortable. April weather can also turn on you, especially with afternoon storms, so keep an eye out for changes after lunch.

Headland bream

Bream fishing is usually good this month around headlands with a little wash. Don’t be surprised if the brutal drummer are mixed in with them. It’s a very hard call to fish for both species at the same time. Bream take lightly weighted prawns, as do the drummer, but the heavier the gear, the more the bream won’t co-operate. On light gear you can forget the drummer – they will bury you every time.

Squid are great targets in the calm bays and estuary mouths. Some specimens that you could cut into hula hoops can be taken One of my favourite side dishes, I put a little time and effort into chasing them. Stockton breakwall near the Adolf wreck holds a good number of squid on calmer afternoons. From a boat, you can’t beat North Reef or around the old sailing boat in front of the Stockton Surf Club.


No 1,

Newcastle angler Dennis Gray took this flathead on a prawn drifting under Stockton Bridge.

No 2,

Sharni Davis with a nice flounder taken on the drift on a prawn bait.

No 3,

Squid are a great target throughout April – easy to catch and absolutely great on the plate.

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