On the rebound
  |  First Published: March 2010

April is usually a hit-and-miss affair, usually due to the turnaround of currents. It’s about now that the warm water south of us gets a big push straight back up north.

This isn’t always bad – you can get onto some nice fish as they travel back up the coast.

For instance, we have just had a surge of mahi mahi, bonito and some mega-tailor and about the time you read this the cool-water fish will start to show up.

I have always liked April fishing. Some days there can be no wind at all, making it enjoyable for either trolling or anchoring over a reef. With little swell and sea, the April fishing can good for snapper.

This usually is the last month blue swimmer crabs are available in good numbers and they can be found from Stockton Bridge all the way up the northern channel of the Hunter River. Sandgate is a great place to try for them.

Flathead, bream and flounder have been taken in both channels. Up around Fullerton Cove seems to be the better option. You can drift with fresh prawns or pilchards or cast hard or soft lures.

There have been nice numbers of flathead and bream but most are just around the legal size limit, with few big specimens around.

A few big bream have been taken from the beaches, as is typical for this time of year.

Big tailor, well over 2kg, have been big news along Stockton Beach. Afternoons seem to be best, with pilchards and heavy chrome lures both working. More salmon should enter the mix this month but there a few tailor should still be there.

Offshore this is usually the last month to try for marlin, while the reefs in Stockton Bight should have school kingfish, some squire and a stack of squid.


Huge yellowtail are there to be used as either live bait or slabbed. I was told the other day that every bait that went down over North Reef was being scoffed by horse yellowtail but when they were sent back down live, squid were mauling them to death.

Big yakkas make great slab baits for drifting the 40m line for flathead or as sent out live in Newcastle Harbour for jewfish.

The frames are always great for the crab traps or if you’re real keen, a lobster trap. You can buy them at some of the local tackle shops.

Stockton wall is fishing a lot better than Nobbys, but the shallow water off the rocks just after Horse Shoe Beach can produce some nice bream, flathead, whiting and school sharks.

This month a lot of professionals run their lobster pots right along Stockton and Nobbys walls so be aware of them, there’s nothing worse than getting tangled up and losing gear or even worse, a big fish on them.

Off the rocks there should be the first signs of drummer and some bigger luderick.There’s a healthy amount of luderick weed around Merewether baths but share it around.

So this month I would be drifting the flats offshore for sand flathead and flounder, then over to the Dumping Ground for squire and snapper. Troll between these spots for bonito and tailor.

For those without a boat the beaches should fish well for bream and tailor.

You could even run into a jewfish in a good gutter and hopefully the salmon don’t hit as hard as last year.

Or you can try and troll the big billy bonito lures for whales this month as they come through your, you only need a handline – nah, April fool!

No 1,

Although there haven’t been a lot of jewfish around, this one was found travelling with a school of large tailor and took a pilchard. After a quick photo, it was put back in the water off Stockton Wall.

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