Hastings struggles to clear
  |  First Published: April 2009

With regular rain and rather small tides, the Hastings River is struggling to clear the dirty water that continues to flow down.

With an already soaked land, more rain will mean more dirty water pushing down the river so here’s hoping the clouds head west to where they are truly needed.

But there is an up side: The beaches have been firing and conditions offshore have been kind.

Bream and whiting have been in good numbers on the beaches with those venturing out after dark reaping the best results.

With some cooler weather on the way this is likely to continue this month. Mullet schools are building and look like they’ll make an early run to the beaches, meaning bigger predators will be on the hunt.

Mulloway have been in good numbers with lots of school fish being caught. With an increase of baitfish this month, quality jewfish should be taken.

Best options will be the northern beaches and, to the south, Dunbogan Beach. Live mullet and yakkas will be best baits although beach worms will also prove a viable option. Please be mindful of the jewfish bag limits of five fish over 45cm, only two of which can be over 70cm. Keep only what you need, not your limit.

Estuary action should be improving. I’ll be focusing some of my attention on the Camden Haven River, which seems to have fared better than the Hastings.

Without further downpours fishing will hopefully get back to some normality.

Those chasing luderick recently have had some success and things should really hot up this month, the only real obstacle being the availability of weed. Unweighted yabbies have been working well on the flats and hopefully, like last year, we’ll see some blackfish taking lures.

Bream number should be good this month as they get ready to spawn and already good fish are being caught along the coal walls, especially on the start of the run-out tide.

It’s almost like they know it’s time to feed up before the dirty water comes along, with its lurking dangers.

I hooked what I thought was a decent bream, which turned into a nice bream as it took a run up the wall, then bolted. All I felt was a strange pull and vibration and I’d lost the fish.

It’s a strong possibility this fish fell prey to a bull shark but I’ll never know because I was fishing 2lb fluorocarbon and got nothing back.

Best options for some XOS bream will be at dusk and after dark. Lures will get you in the mix but baits will have you bending your rod.

Over the Summer, Lake Cathie has been a contentious issue with locals and anglers as the council refused to open it to the sea and give it a good flush. Water quality was very poor and the regular whiting was not as good as it could have been.

But the recent rain has opened up the lake and it shouldn’t be long before we get reports of quality, flathead, bream and whiting.

I’m sure even the weed-soakers will have some fun as the luderick move in; it will be shoulder room only on the bridge and nearby rocks.

Obviously the run-in tide will be good for the luderick, while better bream, flathead and whiting should come on the chew on the start of the run out.


Offshore action has been consistent and even good in recent months, with mahi mahi still about in good numbers but no real big ones reported.

The FAD off Port Macquarie has proven to be a popular starting point for the mahi mahi. Trap floats and any drifting debris should also be fished hard.

Snapper have been consistent and should be even better this month, when the inshore reefs should start to hot up. Already boats are being spotted fishing the close reefs off Bonny Hills.

The reefs off Shelly and Lighthouse will also prove viable hunting grounds, let’s just hope we don’t get an early run of leatherjackets. Last year they made some snapper trips be very costly, with plenty of plastics and jigs among the casualties.

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