Prime time for blackfish
  |  First Published: September 2005

This is a prime month for the luderick angler and lately they are around in numbers all along this coast.

These fish have a lot going for them: They are abundant enough to seek out and catch plenty for a tasty feed; they fight hard on the right tackle and you don’t have to travel far to reach them.

Blackfish can be taken from the ocean rocks, estuary rocks, wharves, jetties – nearly anywhere there is weed growth. All that talk about blackfish just being for the old-timers just isn’t true any more; a number of younger blokes are seeing that these fish are a lot of fun and a good feed and that catching them isn’t really that hard.

If you haven’t fished for these fish before a great way to start is go fishing with one of the older fellows and learn a bit.

Over the years I have found a couple of things that made it easier. For a start, weed isn’t just something you grab off the rocks and fish with. The experts use different sorts and some of it is hard to find/

Strand weed and cabbage are used for different purposes. The cabbage is often for berley weighted with sand and many experts will use strand weed as bait.

It’s important to bleed each fish as soon as it is caught – the taste difference is amazing. If you haven’t fished for luderick before, this is a great time to have a go at them.

Tailor have been around for the past three months but not in huge schools, just smatterings spread out over the whole area from Lake Macquarie to Newcastle.

Boat anglers especially are coming across them and casting into the schools. Loners or small groups of fish up around 2kg have been taken but this time of year the larger schools of choppers are usually everywhere.

I am at a loss to know why they aren’t around in numbers. The tailor are schooling with salmon with plenty of reports of jigs thrown into a salmon feeding frenzy hooking up on tailor.

On the beaches, salmon are everywhere, especially along Redhead Beach and south Stockton. I spied a heap of salmon dumped behind the soccer club at Stockton, which is a tragic waste. They smelt pretty bad as you drove into this very popular spot and it doesn’t give anglers a good name when the locals see this sort of thing. For Heaven’s sake, If you have no use for them, just release them into the water unharmed.

Bream, tailor and the odd jew are coming in from this area, too. The best spot is up around the old pipeline and pylons just to the north of the soccer ground.


In Lake Macquarie the fishing hasn’t been all that great. The warm water running from the power station still has its share of devotees with luderick the main targets along with some just legal bream and tailor. Remember that the closures are in place there now– no fishing after 6pm.

Other parts of the lake have been fishing OK with some resident bream coming from behind Pelican airport. These cruise the deeper marina area and with enough berley you can entice them out from under the boats. Use floating baits such as really fresh bread or peeled prawns and if you don’t pull your hair out first, you will get a few. Some very big fish lurk here but they’re very shy.

Drummer are being taken around the rocks just south of Swansea, as are a few small kingfish. The area is notorious with a number of rescues this year so be careful. It’s much safer to fish in a group.

There have been some very nice bream around Dora Creek at night. The water tunnel on the north side of town is the best spot with peeled prawns and fresh mullet best.

Even though there is a strong current here, lightly weighted baits are best. I find it amazing to watch people fish with 25g to 50g of lead and wonder why they pick up every bit of weed in this place.

A bait wafting in the current just under the surface at night is the best way to go. Bream feed more freely at night and search all depths not just the bottom.


A lot of changes have been taking place within our waterways ,especially Lake Macquarie. I have written on other occasions how what we do to our waterways affects fishing in the long term and that every change we make to the environment leads to other changes somewhere else. I’m not saying that all the changes are bad but what we do around water often changes something somewhere else in that waterway.

When a rock wall or breakwater is constructed it diverts the water flow and affects the depth at the end of the wall, alters channel flow and can even form new sandbanks. Stormwater drains can often have similar effects. Due care needs to be maintained and when things go wrong, there has to be someone who is responsible.

I recently sat down with a council staff member who has been involved in major waterway reconstruction for years. He said that over time he had learnt that every time a new project took place not too far away something would happen, good or bad.

I at once thought, ‘This gentlemen really cares’. I then brought up the subject of responsibility, given that most changes are implemented by a council or Government departments and in one second flat, this man disappeared.

Remember, if something is taking shape around your place, watch it carefully because at times things do go terribly wrong and can affect all of us. We all have a stake in the waters we fish, even if the ruling minority don’t think so.

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