WINTER hit hard and fast around here this year.
In late June and it was still warm, then overnight it went straight down single figures overnight and I think the shivering on the line is scaring the fish. A set rod with your hands in your pockets might be a good way to fish this month.
Last month I was pretty damn honest and said the fishing was well under the average for this time of year. This is normally the time we experience a crossover effect from Winter and Summer species some really great mixed bags but not so this year.
But all is not lost. A drive along Kooragang Island and the track along Stockton Beach showed a vast amount of bait around – whitebait and small poddy mullet, along with a lot of squid. This is usually a sign the fish will be back and this month is when it could happen.
Further north, there have been some great captures of kingfish out on the reefs and also some great bream south of us, so this month should be a bit better. Newcastle Harbour is full of bait and I’m certain that sooner or later the big bream and tailor will show up.
Large schools of salmon are already here, crunching bait right along the beach. The cartwheeling birds will show you where they are.
Arnold from Freddy’s Fishing World tells me there are a few nice bream around but anglers have had to work hard for them. There are blackfish around the two main harbour walls and huge schools of salmon on Stockton Beach.
Stockton jew fishos have reported just two larger fish, around 15kg, taken over the past few weeks, but a number of 5kg to 7kg jew have been taking live yellowtail, tailor and squid.
If you haven’t caught a jew yet, this is the last chance to try for a while. In August the big fish usually shut down but at times you can take the schoolies up-river around Hexham and Tomago, where the water is a little warmer.
Under the Hexham bridge and beside the wreck has been fishing well for flathead and even a few unseasonable flounder.
The reefs in close should hold a good number of big leatherjackets by now as well as a lot of small bream and squire, with the occasional bigger red. Kingfish are gaining in numbers and hopefully will be scanning the reefs. Tailor should show up any day now and travel with the salmon schools, so the beach could be the place to be.
If you are inshore on the close, flat water out of the westerly wind targeting the kelp for leatherjackets, don’t forget to take a few crabs. One or two big bruiser blue groper lurk around those same places. Remember, there’s a bag limit of two on these.
Although not the norm at this time of year, a few flathead have been coming in from the inner estuary waters.
Steve Nepia and Chris Jelfs were happy with their catch of school jew. August is the last chance for them throughout the Hunter region for a while.Reads: 1249