A great time to be out
  |  First Published: December 2009

The next three months comprise the best time to fish this area, with the still, blue mornings the greatest times to be out on the water.

With the north-easterly wind picking up around lunchtime, there’s nothing better than having it push you along as you return home from offshore reefs.

We have experienced some very harsh, hot weather around lately and it isn’t that far from the truth to say you could fry an egg on the bare aluminium seat of your average tinny.

But the fishing has also been great. There has been much insect and animal activity along the rivers and an old-time fisherman once told me if you’re driving around and there are large numbers of native animals active, the fishing is usually also great

The ‘stills’, as I call that time just before a storm blows in, can be some of the hottest times to be on the water. Insects leave drains and gutters; they seem to know there is rain coming.

Fish sense it, also and can feed very actively just before a storm or rain hits and even in the first hour in the rain. Insects crash-land in the water and fish hit the surface to scoff them down with gusto.

At last we are hearing of some nice table snapper coming from most reefs, especially those off Bar Beach and Merewether and all the way down to Redhead.

Most anglers haven’t had a problem reaching their bag limits. Most are fishing with bait but they also flick lures around and its not only snapper that have snatched them.

Some nice bream have been caught recently right behind Newcastle Baths in about 9m of water on soft plastics as anglers sit berleying for squire and larger snapper. As the afternoon wears on, tailor can also be taken in the same spot.


It’s not taken long to fill the live-bait tanks at either the sailing boat wreck off Stockton Surf Club or at the back of the Adolph wreck.

Yellowtail, slimy mackerel and huge numbers of herring have been available and these have been put to good effect early mornings, taking kingfish and jewfish on North Reef as well as some nice teraglin. The tide running up to the top change has been the best.

The Hunter River is fishing very well down along the Stockton wall. A few locals have been live-baiting around there for jewfish to 15kg.

In the harbour its been hard going. Bream and flathead have been the best bets but they seem to spread out and moving all over the place.

Blue swimmer crabs have been taken along the river at Sandgate just above the rail bridge.

Fullerton Cove is fishing well for a few big bream chasing lures in the deeper parts.

Mosquito Creek and the small creeks around this area have been producing flathead, which haven’t been huge but there have been plenty of them.

At the mouth of the harbour it’s hard not to get a feed of whiting as they move in over the sandy areas to feed. Try drifting out the front of Horseshoe Beach and along Nobbys Wall with either a peeled prawn or a worm bait, the whiting are quite thick in areas so if you get onto them, turn around and drift the same place again.


The beaches have been firing, with larger whiting than in the harbour.

A great place to start is at the back of the Stockton Soccer Ground where the beach dips down, and then move northwards up to the drainpipes as the day gets on.

Some nice tailor have been taken near this structure in the evenings.

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