Lake a happy hunting ground
  |  First Published: December 2008

This year I am determined to slow down a bit and enjoy the simple things. It seems we all get too carried away with the pace of life and miss out on the good things.  

This year I am not going to miss out on any more fishing days, because it can so relaxing on your own, with a group of mates or with the family.

Lake Macquarie is going to be my happy hunting ground this year.

There are bream, whiting, flathead, squire and jewfish to be had; the trick is to ‘fish for them’.

This might seem a bit silly to say, but unless you target specific species, then your catch rate won’t be that high.

Take whiting, for example. They are best fished on Lake Macquarie during the run-out tide. It’s a simple thing but people don’t really consider this when going for them.

Blood or tube worms are the baits of choice and when the prawns are running, having a few live prawns caught the night before is deadly.

For those in a boat, try the sand islands or out past the drop-over and even in Salts Bay. Those who are shore based could try in Swan Bay or at Coon Island on the sand flats there.

Another way to fish for them is with soft plastics such as the 2” Berkley worms or prawns or a much more exciting way is with poppers.

To see a whiting making like a freight train towards your surface lure is a great way to add visual thrills to your time on the water.


Bream are another species that are readily available here. Soft plastics and hard-bodied lures are still the in thing and you can be rewarded with a good bag of fish.

Places like Salts Bay and around any of the moored yachts at the marinas around the lake are the go.

Some of the younger readers might be surprised to hear that they can also be caught on bait and, heaven forbid, even at night. Any type of strip bait such as mullet, striped tuna or slimy mackerel will work well, especially in the shallows where bream come at night to feed on all the goodies that show themselves in the dark.

I’ve even heard from our own Johny Frith that mullet gut might be worthwhile trying!

Flathead will be around in numbers this month and again soft plastics are the go. The 5” Berkley Jerk Shads in any of the new chicken colours work and remember to use a correctly-weighted jig head for the conditions.

It’s obviously better to use a 1/4oz -plus jig head in deeper water to get the lure down to where the fish are than to persist with a 1/16oz job, for example. These things aren’t set in stone but it will make your hook-up rate a lot better.

The lake is full of options for everyone and it seems that at this time of year we start getting more and more captures of exotic species that those up north take for granted. The main one is cobia, with several caught last January in Swansea Channel around the bridge and over towards the drop-over.

Anything is possible here, and you wont know unless you are out on the water.

The beaches will have whiting and bream with some of the gutters at Blacksmiths Beach holding some decent whiting which prefer live beach worms.


If you have some of these left at night, consider trying for a jewfish. They love beach worms and we should see some of the larger fish being brought ashore now.

It is hard to say what is going to happen offshore at this time of year.

If the warm water has moved in and brought the bait schools with it, marlin will be about.

Mahi mahi could be found around the FAD and even in close around the ships anchored off Newcastle. Remember, a ship’s anchor is a rather large FAD on its own so don’t be afraid to troll or cast to these when on the way out to chase larger fish at the continental shelf.

With warmer water about, the fishing should be good and those who put the effort in will be rewarded.

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