That warm feeling
  |  First Published: November 2003

THIS IS a special time for most anglers. The days and nights are warming and the water temperature should be rising in the estuaries and Lake Macquarie.

The warm currents bring the schools of baitfish into the Swansea Channel and Lake Macquarie and with them come every estuary species and a few deep-sea critters, just to keep things interesting. Quality bream have been on the bite through the Winter and the last couple of months of Spring, and they should stay around for quite a while yet.

The ever-faithful flathead should be around their favourite haunts in the channel and the lake from this month on through the warmer weather. The flathead population never ceases to amaze me: They cop a hell of a hiding through the Spring and Summer but still turn up in numbers every year. Remember to release those big female breeders of all species, not only the flathead. Believe me, after you have caught and released a few of these big critters it will create a whole new outlook to your fishing world.

The lure tossing boys have been having a great deal of success working the marinas casting soft plastics close to moored vessels. This method has become popular in our area since the introduction of the soft lures. The big advantage of the softies is they can be cast in close to the boats and allowed to sink to the bottom. The floaters take a while to react to the retrieve and in my opinion are too far away from the target area before the lure action really starts.

The main targets for this style of fishing are bream and flathead. Flounder also love those softies but everyone knows when you come up hard on something while casting lures it could be any of a number of scaly critters. Makes those outings more interesting than soaking baits.

Where to try your hand at this style of lure fishing? Lake Macquarie has a shore line of 273 kilometres with a marina or mooring every few hundred metres on both sides of the lake, so take your pick.

With the commercial netting in the lake finished, I will stick the old neck out and predict a bumper prawn run this season. The dark of the moon and a run-out tide are the best times to catch a feed.

Good news for the health of Lake Macquarie. The battle with the toxic weed Caulerpa taxifolia seems to have been won. All known outbreaks of the weed in the lake have been treated with coarse salt by NSW Fisheries. It is reported that the majority of weed at Mannering Park, Pulbah Island and Wangi Peninsula has been killed. Any new sightings should be phoned to 4982 1232.

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