It’s that time of the year when thoughts turn towards land-based game action and Port Stephens is spoilt for choice when it comes to LBG ledges.
One of those more famous spots, and one of the best, is Tomaree Headland.
Its proximity to the entrance of Port Stephens means that plenty of baitfish gather around the rocks to attract species such as longtail tuna, mackerel tuna, cobia and sharks.
Already most of these species have been hooked, caught or lost recently, with the majority being longtails from 12kg to18kg.
However, you must arrive early because when the season is in full swing, Tomaree can get crowded.
If you don’t like crowds then I suggest you pull on the hiking boots and explore the coastline to the south.
One of my favourite locations is One Mile Point, which is ideal for spinning, especially with large metal lures and pencil poppers.
As with many LBG areas, bait gathering can be a problem but most rock ledges will have a bait supply and at this time of the season garfish gather in sheltered bays and can be easily caught with a constant berley trail of bread and chicken pellets.
Offshore fishing continues to be outstanding, with plenty of striped marlin on the shelf.
Hopefully this will continue for at least another month and if last year is any indication, could continue through winter.
Local charter boat skipper Tim Dean had a phenomenal bite on striped marlin in July 2008, tagging six big stripes each well over 100kg in a single day.
Inshore around the islands, cobia and kingies will be eager to consume live baits such as slimy mackerel, bonito and tailor.
Don’t be afraid to rig big baits – the bigger the better in my books. A live bonito bridled and slowly trolled around the washes is a meal ticket for any hoodlum king or cobia.
Snapper fishing has been better, with quality reds now showing up in the shallows. Areas such as the Sisters, Mungo and Cod Rock will always produce snapper and are best fished early morning or late afternoon.
The front of Fingal Island and Fishermans Bay are also worth floating a bait or throwing a soft plastic.
The washes have seen some great tailor catches with most fish averaging a kilo or better. Fresh garfish on ganged hooks will always encourage a bite.
Bream and drummer will be found in the same locations; float a large green prawn or a lump of cunje in the wash is the best bet to ensure a feed.
The estuary has had one big flush over the past couple of months.
After abundant rain, the bay has resembled a lovely looking cup of coffee.
Flathead numbers have been incredible through the lower half of the bay with dozens of fish caught from Soldiers Point to Shoal Bay. Substantial duskies to 5kg have been lying in ambush in places such as the Corlette groynes, Little Beach and Shoal Bay.
By far the most effective way of targeting these fish is to slow-roll ganged pilchards or whitebait just above the bottom or you can try using soft plastics such as the Berkley 4” Hollow Belly.
Bream are preparing to spawn and are gathered in big numbers along the rock walls, oyster racks and weed beds.
It can be a great time of year to target them on lures such as soft plastics, hardbodies and those little vibrating blades.
Locations such as the expansive rock walls surrounding Soldiers Point, the breakwall at Nelson Bay and the Boulders at Yacaaba Headland will all have concentrations of bream over the next couple of months.
The beaches have already seen some thumper pre-spawn bream.
Stockton Beach is by far the most productive for bream. It has plenty of gutters with most holding travelling bream during the season.
You will find that fresh cut baits such as mullet or tailor fillets will work the best.
Early morning and after dark, chopper tailor to 2kg have returned to the surf. Samurai, One Mile, Stockton and Fingal are all renowned for tailor and you can’t beat fresh garfish or pilchards for bait.
So make the most of the fishing over the next month or so before Winter sets in and we revert to the more common species such as snapper, bream, drummer and luderick that will be the mainstay for the next few months.Reads: 3543