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Flatheads Back on the Menu
  |  First Published: June 2008




The Hastings Region is renowned for many things, delightful dairy products, wonderful wines, a heavenly holiday location complimented with a host of accommodation choices and eateries, and to top this off it’s got some fabulous fishing options.

This month the fishing action should have you grinning from ear to ear with a permanent smile. June has it all in the greater Port Macquarie area, with snapper offshore to garfish in the creeks, luderick on the rocks to bream in the racks. And the fishing is on offer all day.

If the conditions are good then the offshore snapper fishing should be red hot. Live or fresh baits drifted down to fish in around 10-15m of water will have you tangling with some beasts. But don’t forget to give the plastics burl, a 5-7” Berkley Jerk Shad rigged on a 1/4oz jighead on a 3/0 and 5/0 hook respectively will have you in the right direction. Getting the drift right is also vital, so use your sounder and GPS and work out where the fish are and how long it takes to drift over them. Move back past the fish and cast towards them as you drift, giving the lure time to reach them. Then just hold on tight for some white-knuckle action as the fish often nail the plastic on the drop.

Rock and beach fishing this month really kicks into gear with the mullet and bream doing their annual jaunt. Mulloway will also be on the cards as they look for an easy feed. The northern beaches and Dunbogan beach will be the gun spots. And I wouldn’t be surprised to hear reports of good mulloway being caught during the middle of the day. When the good food supply is on offer these often wary customers put caution to the wind and let the natural urge to feed to take over, giving anglers some adrenalin filled session.

Bream will be a popular beach target this month and Lighthouse Beach will more than likely cough up some thumper fish. The best baits will be fresh slabs of mullet or some well salted tailor fillets. These fillets should also be easy to come by with plenty of tailor around. Don’t forget to try some 6” sandworms or some Atomic prongs on the beach; you’ll be surprised at what the bream will take and some of the flathead that will creep onto the beaches this month.

The estuary scene will be good, as long as we don’t get any more rain! Things will be pretty consistent with a variety of options available to all anglers. Those bait fishing for bream will do well after dark along the rock walls, best baits will be fresh mullet slabs and prawns.

If you’re after a feed of garfish, then there’s a host of spots to try this month, I’d start with the back channel behind Pelican Island, the upper reaches of Limeburners Creek, and the vast flats at the mouth of the Maria River. Some peeled prawns fed down a nice burley trail of tuna oil and bread crumbs will have you set an appointment with the rolling pin and cornflour.

In recent months I’ve written about flathead going AWOL, well I’ll official take that back. They are now in good numbers and some nice sizes too. June normally has a good run of average male fish around the 35-40cm mark.

I recently set out with the task of catching flathead and to see how big they would be. I wasn’t disappointed with some nice table fish around the 40cm mark and a honker 80cm model with a head like a shovel. Great fishing and awesome fun.

The flathead will spread throughout the system, moving to the shallows to find warmer water and easy feeds. Work the flats and drift the drop-offs and you’ll be well rewarded for your perseverance. Best baits will be live poddy mullet and yakkas or, take the easy option, throw some 4-6” soft plastics any colour. This should have you tangling with some fish as they won’t be too fussy this month.

As for bream on lures, bring it on! The cold early morning starts can be testing, but the rewards healthy.

The bream this month are building their concentration of numbers in the lower reaches, so it won’t be hard to find them. The challenge will be finding what they’ll eat. In past years this time of the season means hardbodies in the shallows and soft plastics in the deep. From my experience, if the water has some movement on the flats then the fish will be active and feeding freely, making hardbody lures a great option as they cover more territory and draw active fish to their presence.

Different days will mean different lure selection for bream. On over cast days with some colour to the water, look for a lure with as bit of noise, wood lures present this in a subtle fashion but a lure with a rattle can have bream hunting it down and smashing the lure. If the water clears and it’s a blue sky day, then more subtle presentations are the go, like small minnow presentations and little stickbait lures. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and throw a variety of presentations. Then when you’ve cracked a pattern have some fun, find another lure that will do the job challenge yourself and enjoy the sport of luring for bream.

No matter what you like to do in the field of fishing Port Macquarie and the Hastings Area has it all this month, with some good winter temps thrown in for good measure. So get out and enjoy the piscatorial delights on offer.

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