The unsettled, unpredictable weather has played havoc with anglers’ minds and results for over a month.
However, some of the keener anglers who took their chances with the weather came back with some and outstanding catches.
Swansea veteran Alf Gray had one golden day on Salts Bay when every cast was a fish, not many were under 30cm and some were 1.5kg. He and his mate were using lake prawns they caught themselves rigged on long leaders below ball sinkers.
Another diehard, Christian McInerny, had a similar run on the Salts Bay bream on soft plastics. “You didn’t have to wait long,” Chris said. “As the lure sank, the bream grabbed it and screamed off.” He was using Berkley Gulp 2.5” Minnows in the mouldy cheese colour.
Squid in Swansea Channel are keeping many happy and there are plenty of big flathead being caught from Marks Point and the western side of Swansea flats.
There have been plenty of whiting through the shallows of Lake Macquarie and jewfish to 8kg have been reported from the western side of the lake and some of the deeper holes of the southern parts.
The next prawn run will start around February 4. During the January run, Fisheries officers were checking the handle length of prawn scoops. The legal length is 1.2m. Verbal warnings were being given and fines up to $500 will be issued for further offences.
Average catches have been around a kilo to 2kg, not bad considering the numbers of people participating.
Kingfish at Swansea Bridge this month won’t disappoint those keen on losing some gear to the bigger fish. Squid are also in good numbers throughout the channel and are the best live bait for the kings and lake jewfish.
Whiting to 53cm and averaging 35cm have been caught along Blacksmiths Beach, particularly just north of the outlet. Beach worms are the outstanding bait.
Those wanting to chase jewfish will be well advised to spend some time out there on the local beaches for fish averaging 10kg.
This should be a hot month offshore after January turned out a bit of a fizzer. At 25°, the water was too warm for most of our sought-after pelagics while colder water down deep made the going tough for bottom-bashers.
The shallow reefs off Catherine Hill Bay and Moonee in 20m to 25m should fish well for snapper, kingfish and other bottom fish. Try to devote time to trolling skirted and bibbed lures near the whitewater off these headlands for kingfish, bonito and cobia. Some nice tailor also can be caught like this.
A whole live squid suspended underneath a float and drifted back to the deeper drop-offs close to these rocks and those from Redhead to Merewether will often be attacked by bigger kingfish or cobia.
Out in 80m to 110m areas such as the Shark Fin, Farms 1, 2 and 3 and south to Norah Head Wide should produce snapper, kingfish and mahi mahi.
Would you believe the leatherjackets were still about in numbers last month?
Class bream are quite prevalent in Lake Macquarie.Reads: 3349