THE NEW season is finally here, and as you read this it should be right in the middle of your plans for the upcoming long weekend. Many anglers know this weekend is the start of the better bass fishing throughout the rivers and streams, along with inshore fishing for snapper and kingfish.
The estuaries, rivers and close reefs should live up to their reputation as Spring is one of the best times to target snapper. They come in close over the gravel patches and are easy to target from trailerboats that can venture outside. Headlands and river mouths are great places to fish for them as well. The only downfall can be a screaming current pushing out from the front of these areas down from the north, but there are times when the current slows and this is the time to target them.
I prefer to fish for snapper with pilchards on gang hooks or a large squid head on a 3/0 or 5/0 if the bigger fish are around. Berleying is essential to attract and keep the bigger fish interested. A typical scenario over gravel or reef will usually amount to a catch of a few rock cod, sergeant baker and a few other not so edible fish before the snapper turn up.
The reefs off Bar Beach and Merewether all hold plenty of snapper during Spring. North Reef has a good reputation but the pick of all the Newcastle areas is the Dumping Ground or, if you have a larger boat, Farm Reef. This area produces some good snapper, morwong and kingfish.
Fisheries has just announced that the Hunter River is to get a number of fish houses. The authorities plan to put structure in the upper sections to create a better habitat for bass and other freshwater fish. It’s a great idea and here’s hoping they can hold up to the floods we get now and then. Most locals know how the Hunter is affected by vast amounts of water so it will be a real eye-opener to see how Fisheries goes with this project.
Arnold Joseph from Freddy’s and a few mates have been tossing soft plastics around the main harbour walls. They have been connecting with bream to a kilo and have taken a few school jewfish up from the woodchip piles. This is a great spot to anchor and livebait for jewfish also.
Squid have been holding up along Nobbys Wall from Horseshoe Beach to the Big Ben Reef. This is what I would use in the harbour at the moment if chasing jewfish.
The beaches have been fishing well with a lot of bream coming from around the Signa. Most anglers are fishing late evenings. When daylight savings starts we’ll get more time to fish through the week after work, but most anglers can’t wait until then!
The hole behind Stockton soccer ground has been really crowded lately as a lot of tailor have been caught. Most of them are a little on the small side though.
A great technique is to fish a stinger. A stinger is a treble hook dancing off the bottom of a pilchard gang hook rig. It can be fished for all sorts of species and can be fished in many different applications and places. See the diagram for a full explanation.
Here’s wishing everyone a great new season and full bags of fish.
A treble stinger added to a gang hook set-up is a good option when fishing shallow reefs, where there are a lot of thieving squid. Over the years my stingers have taken squid, bream and tailor which otherwise wouldn’t have been caught.