Traditionally August is the time for those howling westerlies that rumble down the Bay, day in and day out.
Fishing options can be limited but if you keep an open mind, there’s still some great action to be had.
Offshore winds often turn the ocean clear and calm, making for some excellent beach and rock conditions and some fantastic boat fishing in close.
The beaches are probably the most accessible around Port Stephens and a variety of species will be on offer this month from the sand.
One species that has copped of lot of attention over the years is the Aussie salmon. Sure, they’re in plague proportions and their table quality is not as high as others, but they are one of the top winter sport fish and can be targeted on light threadline outfits and fly tackle.
Time spent searching the gutters along Birubi Beach (Stockton) looking for telltale signs of a moving black mass will soon give up their location. Small metal lures or even blades cast to the leading edge of the school and retrieved at a reasonable pace will see half a dozen fish peel off to engulf your lure.
Blistering runs and spectacular aerobatics are what you can expect when hooked up to a salmon.
Plenty of bream will also show up along the beaches and it’s worth an early morning or evening soaking baits, especially fresh mullet strips.
Any of the beaches from Hawks Nest, Fingal Spit, and One Mile to Stockton will be worth a go.
Rockhoppers will find plenty of options at the moment with drummer and luderick numbers excellent.
Potholing after dark on a high tide or when the swell is large seems to be the most productive method but is a high-risk occupation, especially if you don’t know the terrain or the weather.
When the swell is up I find nothing better then floating bread or prawn baits amid the churning shallow water. Luderick are the main targets but the odd drummer and bream often join in on the action.
On a recent potholing trip a mate managed to catch something a little different. On closer inspection it was revealed that he had captured a juvenile black cod. After a few quick snaps, the protected cod was released.
Launching a boat from beach locations such as the corner of Fingal Bay, Boat Harbour or Fishermans Bay will mean avoiding treacherous conditions inside the Bay, especially when those big westerlies spring up from nowhere.
Launching from the beach can also mean that you’re within minutes of your favourite spots.
Some really big snapper have been turning up in the shallows over the past month and they should continue through to early spring.
Of course, soft plastics have been the standout and 5” and 7” Gulp Jerk Shads are deadly.
Fishing the washes from a boat is also a great way to find a feed with black drummer and bream the main targets, but don’t be surprised if a blue groper decides to join in the fun – they, too, have an appetite for fresh cunjevoi and green prawns.
Out wide there has been some limited action on the yellowfin tuna when the weather allows.
Most crews are trolling a spread of skirted or diving lures, such as the new Rapalas or those ever-reliable Halco Laser Pros. Covering ground and finding bait or a temperature break is the key.
Estuary fishing will be tough this month but don’t despair: pick your day, time and tide and you should be able to bag a feed.
Luderick still remain the highlight and it’s been shoulder to shoulder on many of the rock walls through out the Bay.
Try areas such as the breakwall at both the Anchorage and Nelson Bay, and the wharfs at Little Beach. Bream can also be caught in the same locations.
Flathead should be well up river by now and basking in the sun on the shallow flats.
As the month progresses, catches of duskies will become more frequent, especially on warmer days. Tilligerry Creek and the Karuah River will be the pick.Reads: 3041