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A good feed offshore
  |  First Published: April 2009



This month there should be a lot more action offshore for table fish.

There will be leatherjackets out there but the inshore reefs from Newcastle south to Bird Island in 20m to 30m would be the better spots to fish.

The Fruit Shed, off Jewels Beach, should fish well for tarwhine and small snapper with some flathead mixed in. A similar situation should apply to the close reefs off Merewether and ‘The 48’ east of Newcastle.

There should be a few kingies there as well, if you are lucky.

Other spots to give the flathead a go would be the Gravel Patches and south in close to Wybung Head.

Off Newcastle, good catches of trag, tailor and squire have been coming in from the Dumping Ground, while the Dudley/Redhead area has been producing squire, bream and thumping big tarwhine on the broken ground in close.

For those venturing south, trag, trevally, bonito, morwong and flathead in good numbers are there for the taking from Catherine Hill Bay to Bird Island.

There will be yellowfin tuna moving up and down the coast but they will be out wide in about 250 fathoms. There also might still be a few marlin hanging around out there.

There will definitely be leatherjackets out there but if you do find them (and don't want them), stop fishing for a bit because they might move on – or just move yourself.

ROCKS, BEACHES

In closer, the beaches and rocks will have plenty of fish for shore-based anglers.

Trevally will be plentiful at North Catherine Hill Bay and the Graveyard, and these same areas will fish well for salmon and the odd large tailor.

There should be the odd cobia and kingfish off Catho and Fraser Park.

Swansea Heads will have drummer and for those wanting some fun on light gear, try spinning for frigate mackerel there and off Blacksmiths Breakwall.

You will also be getting plenty of salmon here as well as on Blacksmiths Beach. With this light gear they are always great fun to catch.

Some tailor are likely off the end of the wall using a blue pilchard suspended under a float and a glow stick on dusk and at night.

The gutters at Blackies should also have some large whiting so get some live worms and head down to get yourself a nice feed.

Bream are also to be found here and my pick of baits for them would be mullet strips. There should be a few mullet left if the pros haven't taken the lot, so it is definitely worth throwing out a rigged mullet at night because the jewies will be around feeding off the mullet that are moving about.

LAKE ACTION

Lake Macquarie still has a lot to offer over coming months.

Luderick will be showing up at Lucys Breakwall for those that have itching to get back into sitting on a rock, talking for hours and watching a float moving along. Well, that's if the fish aren't on, but if they are you will be kept busy.

Salts Bay should also have some bream, especially if we get a few days of southerlies.

The bridge will have kingies and some big flathead on plastics and live poddy mullet.

Into the lake itself, try around Coal Point and Wangi Wangi for flathead on the same gear. Tailor will also be found here so don't forget to pack your trolling gear.

There are plenty of big whiting about the sand flats and they should still be taking lures for those that don't like touching bait.

Soft plastics, as well as poppers and the like, will be worthwhile trying, otherwise use live worms or fresh peeled prawns.

Bream might not be thick up near the channel so head down towards the southern end of the lake, where there should be plenty of fish down. I'd expect them to be only schoolie size but you might find a few thumpers down there.

The drop-over has plenty of undersized squire but there is the odd keeper there. Don't be surprised if you get smoked by some larger kingies and the odd cobia there, this time last year many boats had some fun chasing them.

There might be the odd blue swimmer crab about so try Belmont Bay or head down to Murrays Beach, where they could be out in the deeper water.

HARBOUR JEW

Newcastle Harbour has plenty of jewfish about because there will still be mullet hanging around – use these as bait or try a large soft plastic lure worked near the surface.

The jewies are tending to hunt for food in the topwater. There is no point throwing out a big bait weighed down with a large sinker to sit on the bottom if the fish are feeding on the surface.

Stockton bridge, the western basin and the pilot station near Horse Shoe Beach will also have jewies lurking around.

SAFETY FIRST

There once was a bloke (for argument’s sake, lets call him Jason) who gave a speech to a young fella (let’s call the lad Chriso) about safety in small boats and about how not to get a treble hook stuck in your finger (check the picture of Chriso in the April issue).

The speech went on and on and on... Funny thing happened to this ‘Jason’ bloke the other day in a 42’ game boat – he kicked a knife on the deck that went straight through his foot and when he looked down, all that could be seen was the handle of the knife sticking out of his shoe.

It might seem like I am making light of a serious matter, but that is my point: Safety should be paramount on every boat, no matter how big, and we should all pay attention no matter how furiously the fish might be biting.

A few seconds picking up a knife or lure off the deck could save you a lot of hurt. Getting a first aid ticket might seem like a pain in the butt but if something does go wrong, I would want someone on board who would know what to do. It’s definitely worth thinking about.

After this little effort, I expect to have something happen to me!

Have a good month and remember, there is nothing more important than safety out on the water, so look after yourselves as well as those in your boat.

With conditions right, catches of cobia like this are possible.

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