Festival of the fish
  |  First Published: September 2009

Octoberfest could well and truly be in order this month and I’m not talking about beer –this month should provide a festival of fishing.

With bream returning to the rivers en masse, flathead schooling ready to breed and school mulloway and luderick available, hopefully whiting will kick into gear and complete the Octoberfest of fishing on the Hastings.

If water temps continue to rise then on the first dark the prawns should really be on the run. I’ve already caught quite a few flathead swollen with prawns so this month we should see some good action.

The prawns I’ve found on the sounder lately have had schools of flathead, mulloway and the odd bream nearby.

The bream may have spawned late on account of the extensive freshes we’ve seen in the river this year but hopefully this month they’ll be back in the river ready to feed up.

Offshore fishing has been most Rewarding with snapper kicking into gear on the inshore reefs, pearl perch and morwong on the outer reefs and flathead in plague proportions straight off the river bar.

Leatherjackets have been causing their usual grief but I’ve seen some, let’s say ‘elderly gentlemen’ cashing in and coming back with some decent feeds of jackets. It just goes to show one man’s pest is another mans prize.

Hopefully with some warmer water we should see kingfish and mahi mahi move in along the coast.


At the moment, Port Macquarie’s No 1 boat ramp, at Westport Park, is in need of some desperate help.

With all the freshes in the river the area adjacent to the ramp has experienced some major sand movement. The western end of the ramp is inundated with sand and if something isn’t done soon, the pontoon will be high and dry.

And the eastern side is barren of sand, exposing huge rocks, some of which are directly behind the end of the ramp. I know a few boats have been damaged on them at low tide while being retrieved or launched.

So if you’re using this very popular ramp, take extreme caution. We could be waiting some time for the problem to be rectified.

River action this month should be good. It’s a real transition time with the Winter species still hanging on and the warmer species starting to kick into gear.

We should see some big flathead caught. Let’s just hope those who catch them respect these big female fish and return them to the water to keep populating our river.

If you’re looking for a feed then target fish in slightly deeper water and you should find table fish around 40cm.

Best spots will be the deep holes near the mouth of the Maria River, around the Dennis Bridge and ‘The Ripples’ on the Camden Haven, up-river from the Dunbogan bridge just past the first channel marker. On the run-out tide the water comes off the flats into deeper water.

Live baits, white bait and an array of soft plastics will serve you well.


Bream fishing will be a hive of activity this month, as the sixth Port Macquarie BREAM Classic is on October 18 and 19.

So I’m sure there will be lots of boats out and about early in the month, putting time on the water to find the best bream patterns. This time of year it will be hard to pick any single good pattern because the fish will be in deep water, on the flats and in the racks, not to mention upstream on the mudflats chasing prawns.

If you’re into chasing bream on lures, I think your best starting point this month would be to fish lightly weighted plastics on the flats and edges of drop-offs. Good starting lures would be a Berkley Shrimp on a TT Hidden Weight head, an Atomic Guzzlerz Prong on a Gamakatsu leadbelly and a Squidgy Lobby on a resin head.

Make sure you fish each slowly with a long, wafting action with the odd flick to make it look like a fleeing or wounded prawn. You will also pick up flathead and the odd luderick so this can be a deadly style of fishing this time of year.

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