Cooler weather at last
  |  First Published: March 2009

Plenty of local fishos will be glad when March comes, not the least because nobody likes fishing when the thermometer is over 35°.

Evening sessions at the beach or river fish are the best way to survive the heat. Warm currents have finally reached this part of the coast but standing around in the middle of the day has been like being in a furnace,

The nor’-easters blow the umbrella down the beach a kilometre or so and the sand blasting you get isn’t comfortable but with all that said, the fish are there in droves. Whiting and bream are cruising the gutters in close and some great catches have been reported.

Stockton, Horseshoe and all the way down to Belmont Beach has been holding whiting as thick as your arm along with a smattering of school jewfish and flathead.

Tailor are showing up but a few more weeks into the latter part of March and you should be seeing big greenbacks hanging around.

The estuaries, after some downpours from afternoon storms, have been really the place to be.

Lures. either soft plastics or hardbodies, have been picking up quality flathead from Hexham and Sandgate, all the way up to Tomago.


One place that fishes really well at this time of year is the series of holes at the back of the Ash Island model aircraft field. You can drive in there, it’s a rough old track with holes a car could winch itself out of, but the fishing can be fantastic. The best way is to shoot up from the Tomago boat ramp.

Mud crabs, flathead and some oversize jewfish as well as plenty of bream have come from this area and over the years I have encountered strange fish there.

Tailor make their way up there, as do bronze whaler sharks which I mistake for a fast-running jewfish every time I hook one.

The baitfish and prawns and hordes of mullet hang around the river here and bass love this area. I got a 15kg carp there about eight years ago in the brackish water there.


Offshore is going crazy for marlin, kingfish, mahi mahi, bonito and striped tuna for those trolling live baits or Christmas tree skirts.

Reefs such as the Dumping Ground are producing snapper, mostly just legal (30cm), but reefs closer in are holding good-sized bream.

I saw a lovely esky full of very big bream caught from some close reef at the back of the Newcastle saltwater baths. I didn’t learn the exact spot but berley around there in close and I really think you should be able to find them.

The 40m mark off the Newcastle Hospital is always a great place to drift for some flathead. If you use mullet slabs, you usually will get a feed.

On the way back, troll just outside Big Ben Reef, where small to just legal (65cm) kingfish, tailor, and the odd salmon too lazy to head south for the Summer might take a liking to your lure.

This is the last couple of months to chase crabs, both blue swimmers and muddies, so if you missed out on the major run of big blues in December, don’t despair.

Mud crabs come on now until late May and Easter is one of the best times for blue swimmers. They disappear or are empty after this.

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