Holidaymakers are in full swing, which means an increased number of people on the water but don’t despair – Port Stephens is a big waterway and you can usually find a quiet location away from the crowds.
There has been plenty of action in the estuary, which is probably one of the better options for a quick early morning or late afternoon fish.
The water is warm, which means most species such as bream, flathead and whiting are aggressive and a variety of methods will ensure a feed.
You can’t go past surface lures at this time of year and I have had ball over the past couple of months fishing the flats around Jimmys Beach for bream and whiting.
A lot has been said about surface lures lately so I’m not going to repeat detail. If you have given it a go, you will know what I mean. For those of you that haven’t, I suggest you spend invest in some new surface lures.
The Lucky Craft 65mm Sammy has been an outstanding lure for me lately and big whiting have been crawling all over it.
Flathead have progressed farther downstream with plenty of action around the Corrie Island short cut, Jimmys Beach, Corlette Groynes and Shoal Bay. Bait and lures have been working well.
But the big news in the estuary is the jewfish and kingfish action.
Plenty of jewies have been caught throughout the bay with some monsters among them, one weighing 29kg and another 30kg. The larger fish was caught on a soft plastic with the lucky angler telling me that he actually saw the fish attacking mullet on the surface before he made his cast.
If you enjoy a tussle with a hoodlum kingfish then head down to the breakwall at Nelson Bay Marina.
Over recent months increasing number of kingies have taken up residence along the wall, where fishos have been busted up by kings over 20kg. The fish can be firing one minute and shut down the next.
Larger unweighted plastics, big poppers such as the Halco Rooster popper and live baits have been the best techniques to encourage a bite.
Beach fishing has gone in a regular rhythm now that the water has warmed. Good catches of whiting have been along nearly all beaches, with the northern end of Birubi, Kingsley and Fingal consistent.
Make sure you have live worms and your catch rate will improve tenfold. The odd bream and flathead have also been in the same locations so it’s always worth a go with fresh cut baits and whole pilchards.
This is when our offshore waters really begin to fire. Already plenty of marlin have been caught and released on the edge of the continental shelf, mainly stripes and a few blacks although a few good blues to 200kg have surprised some anglers.
The usual areas along the shelf such as the Carpark and further to the north at Allmark Mountain have produced the bites.
The odd mahi mahi has also been around for those trolling skirted lures and live baits.
Inshore around the islands there’s been plenty of action.
Hordes of rat kingies have been keeping anglers entertained. Wether on fresh baits, live baits or lures, the kingies seem to react and places such as Fingal Island and Little Island have been the pick.
Further north towards Broughton Island, the odd trag and jewie has been found after dark, especially around The 21 and The V reefs. Smaller live baits have been the key to success so take the time gather some fresh slimy mackerel.
Snapper quietened a little, especially in the shallows, so some switched-on local anglers have been working plastics in water up to 60m where fish of over 6kg have been caught regularly. The only down side is that it’s very hard to release a large snapper that’s come up from deep water.
This is shaping up to be a great Summer!Reads: 3328