Karma and tailor striking fast
  |  First Published: May 2009

You’d think I would have learnt my lesson by now about making fun of the boss. I mentioned last report how he managed to kick a knife through his foot on a game boat and karma must be a wonderful thing, because I was barefoot in my rod-building room a few nights later and managed to get a razor blade embedded all the way into my heel and it didn’t tickle!

I guess I should have said to be careful anywhere, not just on a boat. Suffice to say, Jason had quite a laugh over that one. Anyway, on with the report.

Tailor are going to be the pick species to target this month.

Throughout June, they will be thick at times around Swansea bridge, especially on the run-in tide.

Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of last year when non-locals were travelling here, catching and exceeding their bag limit of fish and then heading off.

It’s frustrating because Fisheries are understaffed with only two officers in the area and it’s around this time that they are policing the western side of the lake at the power station hot water outlet, enforcing the 6pm to 6am fishing curfew there.

The same occurs at Blacksmiths breakwall, usually on Friday and Saturday nights, with visitors taking more than they are allowed and leaving all their garbage out on the wall.


There are plenty of tailor here but if Fisheries can’t patrol these areas, unscrupulous individuals will obviously take more than they should and will keep coming back doing the same thing.

There has to be a point where enough is enough and something is done about it because far too many undersized fish are being kept.

Blacksmiths Beach is probably a better choice for a more family-orientated outing because it is cleaner, quieter and not as crowded as the breakwall.

The best times are dawn and dusk and the weapons of choice are pilchards rigged on ganged hooks or metal ‘chromies’.

You will also encounter some of the many salmon that are around at this time of year.

Other fish to try for will include bream, the odd large whiting and flathead in the gutters that have been formed with the larger seas. Best baits for these are live beach worms, mullet strips and large Hawkesbury prawns.

Don’t forget to take some bigger gear with you because there will jewies about, so a fresh slab bait thrown out after dark could result in a nice fish.


Lake Macquarie will be firing for some excellent tailor. Trolling deep-diving hard minnows or feather lures or casting to rising schools will be your options.

Rapala deep-divers in the hot tiger colour were very popular lures last year for trolling and they should be again.

For trolling, the Drop-over, Wangi, Coal Point and the southern side of Pulbah Island are places of interest.

For bait fishing, the Drop-over will have fish coming through and will also give you the chance to fish for squire, the odd flathead, bream, kingies and the occasional cobia that could still be hanging around.

Still in the lake, there should be a good number of bream about, especially down the southern end.

Try near the warmer water because this time of year produces some stud fish. Most will be just legal but there are a few kilo-plus bream among them.

Night fishing is the better option for the larger fish, with mullet strips one of the best baits to use.

For those flicking lures, try Salts Bay and the channel, where there will be squire and flathead as well as good numbers of bream. Whiting will be about, with some thumpers coming through.

I’m still in the process of fitting out my boat so I am shore-based for the time being.

If you’re chasing whiting with bait, live worms are the go, as well as peeled prawns. If using lures, Smith Crystal Shrimp and Smith Towadis are worth using.

Berkley 2” Shrimps in the banana prawn colour are deadly on whiting as well as bream, so you should definitely have a few of these in your tackle box.

Blue swimmer crabs are about still so set the witches’-hat nets in Belmont Bay down towards Murrays Beach.

Off the rocks around Catherine Hill Bay, tailor, kingies and drummer are about with the odd cobia. Fresh squid is a must, otherwise try nice slab baits for the jewies that are about at night.


Off Newcastle, good catches of trag, tailor and squire are being taken from the Dumping Ground, while the Dudley/Redhead area should be producing squire, bream and thumping big tarwhine on the broken ground in close.

The best baits by far are Hawkesbury prawns. For those venturing south, from Catherine Hill Bay to Bird Island trag, trevally, bonito, morwong and flathead could be taken in good numbers.

Pilchards and live bait are the goods for the trag. Don’t forget a bag limit of five per person applies to these fish, as well as a minimum size of 38cm.

Trag numbers have been the best for quite some time, so overfishing them will be detrimental to us in the future – stick to your limits.

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