Anglers in this area have seen some excellent fishing over the past three months and the only worry is the current that is screaming south at a rate of knots.
In some reef areas 60g of lead can’t hold bottom. When the anchored boat is creating a wake, you know the water is passing you very quickly.
But there are ways to fish and still do very well. Jigging very heavy chrome lures, some jazzed up with a soft plastic dangling around the hooks, will find snapper, kingfish, mahi mahi and most pelagics that will chase up a lure.
If you can get down to the bottom, be prepared for cod, jewfish and trag. I know they’re way out of season but trevally have been around as well.
Slow your drift across reefs with a sea anchor or sturdy bucket hanging out the back, or do what most fishos have been doing – get in closer to the coast in 12m to 20m and drift with heavy gear for the large sand flathead that have been around.
The closer grounds have been fishing well for squire, especially around the Dumping Ground, The Granites, North Reef and the Merewether reefs.
A good berley trail is needed and a bit of patience. The schools will move to you if you keep a stream of berley going.
And on the long run from the harbour down to these reefs, it’s a good idea to troll skirts or diving lures for bonito, salmon, kingfish and mahi mahi.
The estuaries have been great, especially for flathead, with some anglers bagging out on the Hunter River.
Most fish have been taken on drifting baits in the deeper areas.
The wall around the cricket grounds has been turning up some on lures and you can walk this bank and flick your heart out, it isn’t very snaggy. White and yellow Mister Twister-type lures have been best.
The Stockton Pub is a great place to cool off and hear all the fishing goss and the locals have been going out almost straight across the road on the small wharfs and getting some mega bream. Lures and local prawns have been the best bet.
It’s a great idea when clubs and pubs get involved in fishing. A well-organised fishing club can be a great way to meet other fishos and to find new fishing places and techniques.
Some of the clubs put on barbecues for members and most encourage you to bring along the wife and kids.
Warners at the Bay have accompanied Terrace Boating in putting up a great little boat for a raffle. With a 15hp Yamaha on its tail it would be a great first boat for anybody. They are also in the process of putting a new fishing club together, so if you’re looking at getting more involved in the club scene, this is a great way to start out.
In the Hunter from Raymond Terrace down to Hexham, the crabs have been moving around. The prawn trawlers are, too, so give them a wide berth, they get a bit cranky if they have to alter course to avoid you and it isn’t easy with a net out the back.
A good trick is to deep-troll bright lures after the trawlers have passed by and stirred up everything. A lot of large flathead have been taken this way.
And remember to sit your crab pots close to the bank drop-off close to the mangroves so they’re out of the way of passing boats.
It’s a shame the Hexham boat ramp is in such poor condition. Both bridges fish well at night for huge bream and jewfish, as well as flathead and at times bass and estuary perch make their way down this far.
Carp to 10kg turn up at times and a lot of anglers have hooked up to a ‘jewfish’ until they see them.
The beaches are fishing about the same as in previous months.
I have still not heard of any great jewfish captures for a while, which is a bit of a worry. Usually this time of year more are being taken, especially along Stockton Beach and the mouth of the Hunter.
But don’t despair, bream, whiting, flathead, flounder, salmon and tailor are all being caught.
If the warm water keeps coming down at the coast at the rate it is now, we may get dart along the beaches like we did a few years ago. Going by the water temp now, it’s looking good for Christmas.
Don’t forget the pre-Christmas letterbox drops from all the tackle shops with all the new gear and the specials.
You could always give Dad a prawn net for Christmas; the Hunter has many access points for prawning.
Try Kooragang Island, Hexham, Raymond Terrace around the bridge, in the Southern Channel behind the wind turbine, the list goes on.
Squid are often found like this as well, along with blue swimmers. To go with the net, get some good plastic sandals and some wetsuit booties and you'll be the best-dressed prawner out there.Reads: 9840