Hastings clearing up
  |  First Published: January 2010

The February spring tides – when the highs are higher and the lows lower – should help clear the last of the fresh from the Hastings River after all that rain in late December.

Bream, whiting and flathead have all been in good numbers, with bait and lures accounting for equal numbers of fish.

This month we should see some nice size flathead show up. They’ve been a little scarce in recent months due to lots of fresh water but if further flooding rain holds off, things should really fire up.

So when you find that patch of male fish around the 35cm to 40cm long, look out for the bigger female fish lurking nearby.

To snare a feed of flathead this month, work shallow areas near drop-offs. These areas will be most productive, with the weed edge at Big Bay opposite Settlement Point road, the edges of the sand flats at Blackmans Point and the mangrove edges on the eastern side of Rawdon Island excellent spots for flathead this month.

Whiting will continue to be on the chew this month and the bait fishos will do best with live beach worms, yabbies and peeled prawns.

Blackmans Point on the Hastings River and the sand flats in Limeburners Creek should be good spots. Early morning and late evening will be the best times as once the sun hits the water they will tend to drop off the shallows and move to deeper water.

If you’re luring for whiting then the same principle applies. Whiting have been regularly caught on lures and, surprisingly, a few on soft plastics.

The Squidgy Wriggler and the Atomic Guzzlerz Prong have worked well on the flats, rigged very lightly and fished in erratic movements on long casts.

If you’re chasing bream, the upper reaches are the go.

On the Camden Haven River best starting point will be from Ross Glenn to Kendall. Drive out to Kendall (west of Kew on the Pacific Highway), put the boat in and head back down the river to the Highway bridges. You’ll find snags, shallows and holes all the way, making for a great day’s fishing enjoying the summer sun and listening to the cricket on the radio.


Offshore action has been great with plenty of snapper still on offer, with pearl perch rounding off some lucky anglers’ bags.

This month we should see some nice mahi mahi show up along with kingfish, cobia and tuna. The northern reefs are the best places to start for the pelagic species.

The bait schools have been amazing and with water temps on the rise, there could be the start of a beautiful food chain.

Chris Blanch, James Ison and I had a great session chasing snapper on soft plastics, proving again that it’s not a cold weather technique, catching reds to 2.8kg.

The fish preferred natural-coloured 7” Berkley Jerk Shads. My favourite colours were salt and pepper or smelt, rigged on 3/8oz 3/0 jig head for starters.

If the current is not very strong we then drop the weight back down to 1/4oz.

We fished off Nobbies Headland in around 40m of water. Reefs in this depth stretch pretty much all the Way from Nobbies Headland down to Miners Beach, check out any chart of Port Macquarie and you’ll see what I mean.

Beach and rock fishing should greatly improve this month, with Lighthouse Beach and around Bonny Hills definitely improving.

This month whiting will more than likely be the dominant species to target and beach worms and prawns will be the prime baits.

School mulloway should also be a viable option along with the odd salmon. Try the northern beaches or down around Dunbogan Beach.

The rocks have been very slow with not many tailor around and just the odd bream and luderick showing up.

Around dark and at first light will prove to be the best times to catch some fish off the stones.

If you fancy trying after dark then spend plenty of time scoping the area you would like to fish and plan your trip.

With big tides, some spots that look dry might not be when the tide reaches its full height’ And always remember to let someone know where you’re going and what time you intend to return.

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