Estuaries, offshore fire up
  |  First Published: December 2007

With regular rain and some nice tides this month, if you’re visiting the region you’ll be ready to tap into a variety of different fishing options.

If you’re heading offshore you should have plenty of options, from bouncing the bottom for lizards to jigging soft plastics for snapper. Some good snapper have been falling to plastics in around 10m to 20m while other species are rolling in on the warmer currents.

Mahi mahi have already showed up and this month good numbers should be on hand with yellowfin and a few marlin.

The beaches and headlands have been a little disappointing but will pick up this month with whiting be a good option on the southern beaches and school mulloway after dark and late in the afternoon. Beach worms will be the best choice for both species.

This time of year I really enjoy our estuaries, where my motto is ‘up early, home early’. Get on the water and fish hard until the sun gets too hot, then race home before you get baked. When I head out for an afternoon session, stay out until late and make the most of daylight saving.

Those wanting a feed of flathead will be easily pleased, with the fish moving off the flats and into deeper water as the sun gets up. Focus on the weed beds early in the morning and work towards the drop-offs as the sun gets up.

The weed around the mouth of the Maria will be a good place to start. Fish the start of the run-out tide and you’ll do extremely well. Live poddy mullet will have you tangling with the big girls and 4” to 6” plastics or hard minnows will have you cheering with the hook-ups.


Whiting have been going off their rockers. Recently in one session on different parts of the Hastings I caught them on the following lures: Ecogear SX40, Berkley Gulp Shrimp, Rebel Popper, Smith Pencil and Koolabung 35mm Rack Raider.

The one on the shrimp came from deep on the walls. I’ve written about these fish going mad for poppers and I think as long as the prawns keep hatching they’ll continue to be.

I think the popper action is not so much the lure action but the small spray of water that draws their attention. They see it, think ‘fleeing prawn’ and simply hunt it down.

Bream will be all over our systems with the better fish in the mid to upper regions of the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers. Early morning and late evening sessions will yield the best results.

Those bait fishing will do best with unweighted fresh prawns over the weed beds and flats. If you want to have some spectacular fun, grab some fizzers and work them around the banks with rocks and nearby trees. You’ll get a lot of visual excitement and some good fish to keep you interested.

Once that sun gets up the bite will get harder but look for the shadowy pockets and you’ll find fish. Break out the bucket and do some practice casting in the backyard.

To complete the full-house hand, the freshwater fishing for bass will come into its own this month. With good recent rain the upper Hastings is flowing well and some good fish are showing up around Long Flat. Look for deeper pools and use diving lures during the day and as the sun starts to fade and the dappled light hits the water, switch to the surface. Earplugs might be a good idea because the cicadas will be deafening.

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