It gets no better than this
  |  First Published: March 2008

It doesn’t get any better than this and this game season out of Swansea is shaping up to be one of the best on record.

With the water temperatures on the continental shelf hovering between 21° and 24°, the area has provided a perfect haven for all the baitfish and the pelagic game fish that eat them.

Late January to mid-February was the perfect period and boy, were there some fish caught.

Lake Macquarie game boat Rocket captured the first marlin for the season in mid-January and consistent catch reports have been filtering through since then.

Running Bear, Time Out and Calypso got among the fish. Running Bear had a blinder one Sunday with six fish tagged and there were reports of regular triple hook-ups from the frenzied marlin.

Mid-week specialists Time Out could hardly miss out, coming home with results nearly every trip.

March will be a month to look forward to for all boaters and fishos as the warmer water settles in and filters through to the estuaries.

The most unfortunate part of February was that the unsettled weather patterns and sloppy seas kept the offshore fishing opportunities to a minimum.

Some of the best spots where the game fish were found were on the Middle Canyons, the Norah Head canyons, east of Swansea and the Newcastle Canyons.

Inshore fishos in March and should score snapper, jewfish, kingfish, cobia and many other reef species.

The closer reefs such as the Fruit Shed, Redhead Close, Dudley Close, The Doctors and all the washes around Catherine Hill Bay and Frazer Park will provide excellent territory as the warmer water and settled conditions become consistent.

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The Lake Macquarie coastline offers some most excellent beach and rock fishing locations, especially now that the larger pelagic fish are on offer.

The rock platforms at Catherine Hill Bay, Pinny Beach and further south to Frazer Park/Moonee are a hive of activity when the weather is kind. Starring among the catches will be kingfish and snapper with jewfish on the bite on night high tides.

Nor should Redhead and Dudley rock platforms be discounted for most rock species.

A north-easterly wind can make the afternoon fishing a little rough but these winds normally drop off at dark, when some of the better fish are caught.

Blacksmiths and Belmont beaches have also been hot for those chasing jewfish. Use fresh bait like squid, mullet or pike fillets for best results.

On Blacksmiths breakwall it has been hard to find a spot to fish of an evening because of the great action on jewfish to 15kg and some nice tailor. Whiting anglers should try any of the gutters along Blacksmiths Beach with live worms or pipis on a rising tide.

Live squid have been readily available in Swansea Channel for boaters and land-based anglers. Best drifts from the boat are from Swansea bridge to Blacksmiths boat ramp while land-based fishos should try Belmont Wharf or along the channel breakwall.

Finally, I’ve had some encouraging reports from those fishing the artificial reefs in Lake Macquarie. Bream to 1.3kg and plenty of flathead have been the main targets with early mornings more productive. Floating baits and soft plastics are the go.

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