THE LAST month or two have not exactly been a fishing writer’s dreamtime.
At the time of writing the rain has not tumbled down and the whole of the Lake Macquarie catchment area is as dry as a chip. No rain means no stir-up of the bait chain, which means most of the fish are looking somewhere else for a feed.
So the format this month is to look at a few new locations that will hopefully fire up when conditions improve.
When we live in an area for a long time, there is an old saying that sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, and coastal dwellers are no exception to the rule. We tend to have our favourite fishing spots, and centre our reports around them.
In our defence, if the fish are biting in these spots we are laughing but when things get tough, it’s time to take a broader look at the local scene.
The area south from the Swansea Channel to Catherine Hill Bay can turn on a variety of interesting fishing.
Working the rocky ledges and the beaches can really test your skills. There are several excellent locations that I have been to and others that you can explore for yourself.
The rock platforms at the entrance to Swansea Heads on the southern side are a good place to start. There are a lot of underwater caves in this area and the fish there will take most baits.
The channels between the rocks here often come up with good flathead and bream.
Next in line, Caves Beach can fish well in the early morning and late evening. Local beach worms are the best baits to target bream and flathead but don’t be surprised if other species turn up – there are not to many salt water fish that will knock back a juicy beach worm.
Further south from the Caves Beach area there is a rock wall built out onto the sea called Spoon Rocks. These rocks are an abandoned coal-loading project that was never completed and they offer good access to anglers who prefer fishing breakwalls.
Finneys Beach and the Shark Hole are a couple of interesting locations between Spoon Rocks and Catherine Hill Bay, but I am short of information here.
‘Catho’ offers excellent beach and rock fishing areas and is an interesting place to visit. The historical coal-mining village is heritage-listed and offers a unique look back into the past. Coal mining has ceased in the area but the village still boasts a bowling club and a pub, and is fast becoming a major tourist attraction.
Offshore from Catho is a popular spot when things are not happening at other offshore locations. Species most likely to turn up in this area are flathead, snapper, bream and flounder. Kingfish, sharks and tailor also prowl the coastline from Swansea to Catho.
The rock platforms along the coast from Swansea to Catho are too numerous to mention. I don’t fish much from the rocks, so I am by no means an authority on this form of angling, but the dedicated rockhoppers come up with some excellent bags of drummer, bream, morwong and tailor from their favourite spots.
If rock fishing is your go, then take all precautions as there are too many people losing their lives every year from the rocks.
Just about every year we have someone washed off the rocks in the Catherine Hill Bay area and this year is no exception, but the locals assure me it is no more dangerous than any other location.
This report is only a rough guide to a few different fishing options in the Lake Macquarie area and I will supply more detail of the locations mentioned as they come to hand.
Just when we thought it was safe to put our feet in the water, a bronze whaler shark estimated to be in the three metre class was captured on video cruising the waters south of Pulbah Island. That’s something to think about when you’re washing the hands or the bait board over the side of the boat!
The rocky area around Swansea Heads with Moon Island in the background. Target flathead and bream in the channels between the rocks when conditions are right.
The popular Caves Beach looking south. Good fishing early morning and late afternoon. Best baits are beach worms to target bream and any other species that might be on the bite.
Spoon Rocks, an abandoned coal-loading project, offers good access to land-based anglers chasing most species.
A couple of brave anglers fishing their special rock. At least they may be safe from that freak wave up so high but the trouble might come when they try to land something a little larger than expected.
Middle Camp Beach at Catherine Hill Bay is an excellent fishing location. The rocky point in the background is also popular but can be dangerous.
The abandoned coal loader in Catherine Hill Bay. Offshore from Catho is a popular location for boat anglers.Reads: 4604