Winter has caught up with us again but the fish are still around and I can’t see any reason why the good fishing should not continue through the cooler months as the water has remained quite warm through Autumn.
We can bet on the luderick and bream to be haunting their usual habitats in the Swansea Channel and Lake Macquarie. Any of the rock groynes or seagrass flats from the mouth of the channel to the drop-over into the lake are great spots to target both these popular species.
Lake Macquarie has been fishing really well and should continue to do so in coming months. The absence of commercial nets in the lake is starting to have the desired effect. Schools of tailor can be found cruising the lake in the early mornings and late afternoons. Trolling with deep-diving lures or weighted line, to get the lure down deep, is the way to go. Any type of lure that’s red, white or wriggles will work on these critters when they are on the bite.
Snapper have been turning up around Belmont Bay and farther north, towards Toronto and Broughton Point. There is almost no tidal influence in these areas, so floating whole pillies on ganged hooks is a good way to start. Mulloway also have a liking for these areas, so if fishing from late afternoon into the night around a full or new moon, be prepared to get slammed and lose a bit of line.
If I have made it sound too easy to catch a feed of your favourite fish, don’t be fooled. There is still a lot of hard work and study between being a casual angler and the dedicated bloke who bags out on most outings. Most of the fishos whom I know that fall into the latter category are back at the cleaning table long before many of us mere mortals are into the first cup of morning coffee.
As I have said many times, local knowledge is golden. When visiting a new area, the best place to start the learning curve is the local bait and tackle shop. These blokes will see you right with bait, gear and what is biting and where. They are not going to have a lend of you for one simple reason – they want you to come back.
The next-best place of knowledge is the local pub. It has never ceased to amaze me what you can find out over a few friendly beers, although with some people, the greater the number of beers, the greater the problem in determining what is truth and what is fiction. Spending a few minutes around cleaning tables and boat ramps can also provide valuable information. Another helpful practice is to keep a diary.
Good maps of the lakes and estuaries are available from the local information centres. So marking the locations fished on the map and keeping notes in the diary makes a lot of sense. Times, tides, barometer readings and, of course, results of the outing make a handy reference for your next visit.
The drop-over into Lake Macquarie at the end of Swansea Channel is a popular fishing spot for large and small boats.
The cleaning table at the Swansea boat ramp is quite popular with the local bird life. No problem getting rid of the scraps.Reads: 790