Whiting, flathead on the bite
  |  First Published: November 2004

Whiting and flathead have taken up residence throughout the Hunter River and Lake Macquarie.

Soft plastic fanatics will be pleased to hear that flathead have shown up in good numbers and the whiting are also filling into the river and lake.

There are also great reports on the numbers of jewfish coming from Newcastle Harbour. West End Tackle customer Mike Whittle, along with a helper, landed a 23.5kg jewfish right up beside the pylons around the Lee Wharf area. The soft plastic lure fell out of its mouth but they still managed to land the fish by jumping on it. Some people go to great lengths to catch that trophy fish.

Whiting are filling Swansea Channel and a number of locals have been catching them on small red or pink single-tail soft plastics.

A few blokes mentioned that they have driven over the top of some huge flathead over the last few weeks but in the strong current had little chance of catching them.

Since most of the channel is around five to eight metres deep, you could use deep-diving minnows or heavier jig heads rigged with soft plastics. If you see the lazing on the bottom, drift over them without the motor going.

Remember, where there are a few flathead there are usually more in the same area. Another way of pinning these deeper fish is to bounce chrome jigs along the bottom and stir up the sand.

A few of the Stockton locals tell me that it’s a great month to live-bait off the walls at the Hunter River mouth. You need to use a fair amount of lead, though, as the tidal run at times is very strong. About 30g of lead is the norm and although this does sound a lot, the river isn’t very wide and at times throughout the moon the tides can run very fast.

Jewie anglers encounter a lot of large flathead while live-baiting through November. The big lizards move into the river to feed and take up residence in the harbour.

The biggest flathead I have seen, around 7kg, snatched a live yellowtail meant for a jewfish just on sunset.

Blue swimmer crabs are showing up and if we all play our part in letting go not just all females carrying eggs, as required by law, but all the small females, the population of these delicious crustaceans will be a lot better.

The jennies are easy to recognise. They are smaller and a brownish colour, whereas the big bucks are nearly fluorescent blue in parts. The flap on the lower body is also squared off, where the buck’s is pointed.

The foreshore in Newcastle is getting a very diverse place, with industry on one side and the booming residential development on the other. Although they don’t really complement each other, there are a lot of places that have been opened up to fish from. On the other side of the coin, we have also lost a lot of ground – call it progress.

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