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Reap all round
  |  First Published: February 2009



One down and eleven to go! Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking towards the year ending, just another eleven months of good fishing! The summer season has got off to a cracker with good fish all round, from the beaches to offshore, in the creeks to up the rivers, fishing has been great.

BEACH

Off the beaches whiting should be hitting their straps, and if the action in the rivers is duplicated in the washes then some nice feeds of whiting should be on the cards. The gun bait will be live worms rigged on a suitable longshank hook with a running red bead and a 30cm leader.

This time of year can see the odd mulloway turn up on the beaches and they also have a soft spot for worms. If you’re looking for a good place to wet a line on the beaches then plan your outing and do a few scouting sessions to find the best gutters. A visit at low tide and high tide a few days out from a session will get you into the feel of how the beach is working.

If you’ve got access to a 4WD then make sure you’ve got a beach access pass and you’ll be able to spend time up and down the beaches looking for the best gutters. Lighthouse Beach and North Beach will be the best starting points and both have good access points.

When you’re searching for a good gutter look for one with some depth and not too long, around 50-60m is good. One end should have a deeper section and I’d always start here and then work towards the other end. Best times will be the last of the run in and the start of the run out.

estuary

Estuary action this month should be white hot! If water temps stay up then the whiting fishing should just get better and better.

Bait fishing for whiting has been good in the deeper sand drop-off areas around the Maria River mouth and west of Dennis Bridge in the Hastings River. If you’re chasing them on surface lures then head for sand or mud flats with scattered weed edges.

Best lures this summer have been the Bassday Sugarpen, Rebel Popper and the Smith Crystal live prawn. The retrieve for whiting is pretty simple: rod up and crank, giving the rod a short sharp twitching action. If you’re switched on then you’ll see the fish track in and follow the lure. If this happens then keep cranking and twitching, if you back off now it’s all over. The fish will do the work and smash the lure, if it doesn’t then cast again in the same area. Be persistent when you get one follower you’ll more than likely yield the results.

My wife Robyn, who’s originally from Tasmania, wasn’t really up to date with the culinary delights of whiting, but now she’ll happily feast on fresh whiting fillets. I like to run the fillets off and flip them over and strip off the skin, and de-bone ready for the pan. Lightly fried in butter with a sprinkling of mixed herbs and a dash of lemon juice, served with a light salad – it’s a great summer dish. Just make sure you follow the bag limits or, better still, only take what you need not your limit.

If you’re into some good estuary action then I’d be heading up river. In the Hastings River that means above Dennis Bridge or up the Maria River or on the up river side of the North Shore Bridge in Limeburners Creek. Flathead will be in good numbers and if you weed through the smaller fish some good quality fish will be on hand. Look for areas with good water flow, run in or run out it doesn’t really matter.

Good baits will be whitebait, herring and mullet strips. Drift them through the areas with a change of water depth and remember, no run no fun.

Bream will be well and truly fired up this month, and will be easy prey after dark with well presented unweighted prawns. Again look for water flow and changes in depth, small variations in depth are just as good as big ones. At night or around sunrise and dusk they’ll be in the shallows looking for prawns.

If you’re a lure tosser then the early morning and evening sessions will be the best options for bream. Small surface lures will be the best starting point; black, green and gold colours produce. Basically these colours imitate cicadas.

Offshore

From all accounts, offshore action has have been a bit hit and miss depending on the weather. If Mother Nature is nice to us then some nice kingfish should be lurking about. Yellowfin tuna will be on the cards and some fish have been spotted up north and, with favourable conditions and some good water temps, there could be some good action.

Mahi Mahi should be in good numbers and the FAD would be the best place to begin looking. Look for the bubbles and you’ll be in with a show. Some nicely cubed baits sent down as berley will keep them on the bite when you find them.

freshwater

Freshwater action is also gearing up, with the Hastings River getting some good rain and the flow is up, making bass a good proposition.

Anywhere up river from Koree Island this month will see the bass lurking in the pools. Morning or afternoon sessions are the best time, I prefer the afternoon as you can then fish on into the night using surface lures.

Hartys Plains should really be firing with some good Hastings River bass. They’re not as big as Macleay or Manning River bass but they are a whole lot of fun, and in some pretty spectacular country. Just grab some mates and some canoes and get into it!

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