Offshore a pearler
  |  First Published: June 2009

Being the skeptic I am, I sometimes think that the powers that be always overstate and dramatise the state of affairs with things like global warming, polar ice melting and the expectation of harsh droughts that will extend for decades.

My skepticism has been shaken since the beginning of the year and the amount of water that has been dumped on the coast from the border down. Two major flood incidents up the coast this year and wild seas that moved rocks on the sea wall here at Forster have me wondering if I was perhaps a bit hasty dismissing much of their warning as little more than a Chicken Little ranting.

The good news is, from all reports that the offshore is fishing well with pearl perch, snapper and the odd big kingfish haunting the reefs. Big trag, too, have been hitting the decks and some have been almost 1m long.

With a bit of luck the leatherjackets won’t be a thick as they were last year. They were a nuisance at times, but they were also a welcome catch for many that were fishing for the table.

Tailor are easy to troll up on your way to your selected fishing spot and I’m told slimies are easy to come by off Middle Head.


The flushing the rivers have had has stirred the bream up in the lower parts of the lake and around Coomba Park way. One angler was lucky enough to land a 2.2kg bream on a Chubby around the area of The Cut and I suspect there are plenty more like it to be had. I was talking to a professional trapper the other day and he told me he had been seeing a lot of big bream for his efforts.

The oyster racks at the mouth of the Wallamba River have been fishing particularly well with many lures being sacrificed to the resident big bream. For those with the patience to bait fish, especially after dark, the bream are very willing and some great catches are available.

Flathead are as you would expect, a little quiet, but they are still around for those who want to fish deep and slow. Patience is the key during winter and the dusky flathead are often black from living on the muddy bottom further back up the lake. A lot of pan sized flathead are caught as by catch while lure fishing for bream so I would suggest to anyone that if you want a feed of flathead concentrate your efforts around a bit of structure and oyster racks. The racks provide cover for baitfish and other food sources so the flathead will be hanging around.

Blackfish are and should be moving back in off the coast into the lake and they are fat and health too. The run of blackfish along the rocks has been good and the rough weather has protected the schools somewhat from the beach haulers and land based anglers.


The rough seas do wonders for the fishing along the coastal rocks. It scours out the sand and rips at the growth on the rocks, which in turn encourages the fish like a big berley trail. It is certainly shaping up to be another great year for the rock anglers, with reports of 6kg tailor coming in from the Seal Rocks area and pigs in the 3 to 3.5kg size common. There are fish you won’t stop either and plenty of good eating pigs in the 1.5 to 2kg range.

Bream are and will be available along the beaches and rocks for a few months yet and if you can bear the cold a late afternoon and into the evening, a fish at spots like Janie’s Corner will produce bream, tailor and salmon. Flesh offerings like mullet fillets or gar and pilchards are top baits.

The presence of school jew is always a possibility but finding a consistently productive location is difficult. It’s pot luck I’m afraid.

Another advantage with the wind and big seas is it tends to drive the squid and spawning cuttlefish closer to the rocks and with it the snapper. I did hear unconfirmed reports of a 4kg fish being taken off the rocks at Charlotte’s and I wasn’t surprised when I was told.

In spite of the cold weather and sometimes dismal conditions, there are some exciting options for August. The rock fishing is (as it was last month) my pick for the best success.

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