Great times ahead
  |  First Published: December 2008

Does it get any better? Balmy nights, warm water, rising barometer and fish willing to succumb to the angler.

There’s the possibility of some afternoon storms and rain but if you plan wisely you’ll have some great sessions in the New Year.

There’s a huge amount of choice in out estuaries, from the Hastings River to the Maria River, Limeburners Creek, Lake Cathie or the Camden Haven River.

With a choice like that your biggest worry is selection; there’s just too much good water to get your head around.

If you’re chasing a feed you can’t go past some whiting fillets and a few flathead tails and the lower reaches are going to be your best starting points.

Look for weed beds with adjacent sand or mud flats. Prawns will be the top bait because they will be the primary food for both species.

Lightly weighted or unweighted prawns wafted over these areas will get you some action. Worms with red beads rigged above the hook will also have you tangling with some elbow-slapper whiting.

If you’re into lure fishing, you can’t go past soft plastics for the flathead. I’d be searching the weed edges using a 3” or 4” plastic, starting with a 4” Gulp Minnow or a 3” Atomic Prong on a 1/8oz jig head. If I’m over the weed, a Hidden Weight system hook will help waft the bait to imitate a fleeing prawn.

Estuary excitement this month doesn’t get any better than surface-luring for bream and it’s already been a cracker season. With more cicadas hatching out the bream will be really switched on to feeding on the top.

Best options early in the morning or in the evening are the weed beds. Look for weed close to the bank where there is some decent flow. Then set up for a drift and cast your arm off.

The best lures are those that cover as much water as possible and good-sized poppers and pencils do this well and give you the opportunity to present long casts to work the water.

When the sun is up, head for the shade of the trees. Look for banks with large lengths of shade but don’t dismiss small sections.

On a recent outing Wayne Bale and I successfully targeted areas like this with lures cast hard against the bank and left in small pockets of shade.

Recent standouts have been pencil-style lures, like the Bassday Sugapen or Lucky Craft Sammy.


Offshore action has been great and things are looking good for a productive pelagic season. At the time of writing we have yet to see any real good bait schools but it should be a good season for marlin, tuna, kingfish, cobia and mahi mahi.

The NSW Fisheries FAD will be a good starting point at 30°50.534S 153°11.803E.

Snapper have stayed on the chew and the plastic fanatics are still pulling fish to around 6kg. My mates Paul and Mark love to chase flathead offshore and got nailed recently by some kicker reds and brought home a nice feed. So it pays to watch the sounder and if you see fish stacked up get the plastics out.

Rock and beach fishing has been a little slow but everyone hopes that will change this month, so check out the gutters and keep plugging away.

Salmon have been prevalent and depending on what you’re doing, either fun or damn frustrating. For some light-tackle fun you can’t go past casting metal slugs at these speed demons.

So no matter what sort of fish you prefer, make sure you get on the water this month. Remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap and stay out of the sun during the middle of the day.

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