Seasonal species overlap
  |  First Published: September 2009

The fishing has been really funny, with Summer and Winter species combining to make for some red-hot fishing.

The snapper have started a little earlier so as you read this they should be in full swing. They move in for their spawning run at this time of year so it’s a great idea to let a few go if you can see they’re fat and full of roe.

The close gravel patches and reefs have had some nice table fish of around 2kg to 4kg, with a few bigger females as well.

Pilchards have been the best baits with reports of pest fish such as sergeant bakers and rock cod biting first, creating a trail for the snapper to move in on.

Pilchards are great for this because the small fish chew at them and the berley sends a message across the sea floor.

In no time, better fish such as squire and the bigger snapper turn up.

When you have them on the bite, soft plastics and chrome jigs will also snag a few.

So it’s wise to add a few chopped pilchards to the berley trail you set out from the boat always.

Whiting haven’t left this year on this part of the coast.

Geoff Allen from Tackle Power and a lot of other anglers have been getting pretty solid whiting with baits of prawns and worms their downfall.

In Stockton Bight, it isn’t hard to see that the salmon are around. Dipping and diving birds are the telltale signs: Troll or cast lures to the outside of the schools and you shouldn’t miss.

There are huge patches in some areas and they’re great sport. Don’t forget that more edible tailor travel with them, so a deep run after a hook-up could let you know you have one instead of a surface-leaping salmon.

Try the Dumping Ground and just out from Big Ben Reef. Start by trolling where you see a few birds, then head out to the reefs and see if the fish are schooling above the harder ground. If so, change to bait and hang on.

As I said, we are experiencing an intermingling of Winter and Summer fish and those bait fishing North Reef for bream and morwong have also been catching silver trevally more common in colder water.

With healthy numbers of all these fish, this is one of the best times to get out and have a go.


I know a lot of anglers aren’t too happy about losing the whole southern section of Kooragang Island to more shipping facilities. The sand flats were a great place to flick lures, drift dillies and drop witches’ hats for blue swimmer crabs, especially in Summer.

The whole area has been fenced off, from the wind turbine to the roundabout onto Stockton bridge, and security guards are posted along its length at times.

Anglers, especially land-based fishers around Newcastle, are losing a lot of fishable water.

In the pipeline is a plan to build a huge resort-style wining and dining restaurant out on Nobbys Head. I am sure if this goes ahead it will be a loss to fishermen also, with strict entry policies and the tourists not wanting fishermen near where they’re eating.

I have seen the plan and will keep you posted on this one.

The beaches have been fishing quite well and should be going great guns as you read this. Bream, tailor, a smattering of whiting and a few nice flathead have been reported.

Stockton Beach is by far the best. I haven’t heard of many jewfish but I’m sure this will change as the warmer water hits this area closer to Christmas.

And don’t forget that the freshwater scene starts to hot up now and the upper reaches of the rivers have bass and perch to target.

Because we have had such little rain lately, you can expect the flathead to be high up in the systems along with bream and tailor. All these species travel quite far inland if the salinity levels are high.

A lot of really large bream and flathead lurk try around Hexham, the southernmost channels, casting to all structure. There are plenty of small bridges and walls that criss-cross this area.

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