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  |  First Published: October 2003

A bit of sunny warmth and a long weekend with some good company can make for some great fishing this month. I call it a free-for-all as most species of fish can show up anywhere at any time! In October the water temps climb slowly until we hit a warm margin of around 18 to 21 degrees in the estuaries. Offshore it can stay a little cooler than that, but some great fishing can be had if the water warms quickly. Hopefully it will trigger an early run of flathead and whiting as we saw last year.

An overlap of drummer, groper, bream and tailor along the coastal rocks also contribute to the better quality fishing through October, and the beaches also produce the odd whiting. If warm water is pushed down to us the quality of the early running whiting can be excellent. The ever-present salmon is always a good back-up along the beaches too.

Newcastle Harbour’s usual run of school jewfish starts at around this time of year, and hopefully this season will be a better one than last year. Although some great captures were recorded in 2002, we didn’t get the sheer numbers we expected. Hopefully some rain will drive the jewfish into feeding mode into the lower harbour areas this month.

Squid, some big leatherjackets and trevally are out on the reefs with the odd squire showing up. Big Ben Reef and the small gravel patches off Merewether Baths are the best spots, especially in the afternoons with floating squid tentacles and peeled royal red prawns. Bream have shown up along here also. I am sure they’ll stick around this month as well.

Many anglers have started thinking about campsites and places to fish during the long weekend. If you’re considering the Myall Lakes National Parks, bear in mind that they’re still in a very unorganised state. Most areas where we used to be able to stay have been completely fenced off and some access tracks to the beaches have also been shut down. Be sure to make a phone call to the National Parks office if you’re heading into this area.


The freshwater should start to produce bass between Raymond Terrace and Morpeth on the Hunter River and also up around Seaham on the Williams River. Try trolling near the larger of the rock walls with smaller divers in close to the rocks and deeper divers on the outer edges of the drop-offs. Don’t be surprised by what you hook – some good school jewfish have been taken this way over the years.

Casey from Freddy's Fishing World in Newcastle reports that the Maitland shop has relocated to the larger Greenhills Shopping Complex at East Maitland, with a larger range of gear. The Freddy’s Fishing World boys provide expert advice so it’s a good idea to stop here if you’re making your way up to the Hunter dams and rivers.

1) Beach fishing can be a great way to spend a day. Scan the beach from a high vantage point to locate good gutters and sandbanks, and use local beach worms or pipis for the best results.

2) In October flathead show up in most estuaries and will readily take a well-presented lure cast past their nose.

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