April is a good time to fish around here, particularly in Lake Macquarie and offshore.
The best targets now are bream and whiting. When you first start using soft plastics for these fish, it can be very frustrating but if you persist and stay determined, the rewards will come.
You can target these fish with soft plastics or hard-bodied lures. The ‘gun’ lure at the moment is the Berkley 2” Shrimp in banana prawn colour and the best hard lure is the Rebel Pop R surface lure in the clear colour.
The shallows around Coon Island Caravan Park down towards Murrays Beach are best and are fairly easy to fish if you’re just starting out.
Other areas are the channel, Salts Bay (particularly if there has been a southerly blowing for a few days), Swan Bay and any of the moored boats near marinas.
Bait fishers can try the shallows at night near Coil Point, Green Point and the Drop Over with mullet gut, mullet strips and fresh prawns. Live blood and tube worms will bring in plenty of whiting.
For quick results with soft plastics, flathead should be your target. This month they should be around the Drop Over, Coil Point, the channel and the southern side of Pulbah Island.
We have been finding them in water deeper than 8m so 5” and 7” plastics with 3/8oz to 1/2oz jig heads work best. Slow up your retrieve in the deeper water and results should come.
The same spots will also produce with fresh squid, strip baits and live poddy mullet.
Jewfish and kingies will be about in the lake with the majority of jewies at night with live or fresh squid or fresh strip baits. The Trench, Tank Traps, the Drop Over and down towards Wangi are good starting points.
Most fish have been caught around the change of tide, with the bottom of the run in the pick. This is particularly true when trying for jewies with soft plastics or larger poppers for kingies.
The Drop Over would be the place to try early in the morning and late afternoon/evening. It also helps if there is a bit of cloud cover about.
Kingies have also been seen around the shallow water markers at Coil Point, Wangi, near Coon Island and obviously Swansea Bridge and Moon Island.
Tailor will be moving about the lake this month and there should be some good-sized fish after they have been gorging themselves over the past several months on masses of baitfish.
You can troll deep-divers but the brown slime around the lake might foul up hooks quickly. Try throwing smaller chromies to surface schools.
The beaches and breakwalls should be holding some decent tailor with early mornings and late afternoons best times to be throwing pilchards on ganged hooks or small to mid-sized chromies.
There will also be bream, whiting and flathead in beach gutters with Blacksmiths Beach a good spot.
Offshore, Swansea FAD will have plenty of mahi mahi and the odd small marlin.
There are snapper and perch at the deeper Farm reefs and down south off Norah Head.
Out towards the continental shelf there should be yellowfin tuna.
Someone once told me, ‘Not all lures catch fish but all lures do catch fishermen’ and after sorting out all my tackle boxes and gear the other day, these words were ringing true in my head.
I couldn’t believe how much I had. I won’t call it junk, as my wife reads this from time to time and knows how much I have spent on gear over the years and I value my life!
But there are purchases I probably could have stayed clear of. I’ve decided to cut back on what I get and minimise the amount of gear I take out with me.
I’m mentioning this because we have had a lot of people coming into the shop lately who want to get into lure fishing but don’t know which way to go.
Keeping it simple is probably a good way to go. One or two good outfits are all that’s needed, a 1kg to 3kg outfit for bream/whiting and possibly another of 2kg to 5kg for flathead, jewies and smaller kingies.
Some of the more affordable choices include Berkley Diablo, Shimano Jewel and Daiwa Exceler rods and Shimano, Berkley and Daiwa have excellent, affordable reels.
If chasing bream and whiting, 2” to 3” soft plastics with jig heads 1/16oz to 1/4oz work well and for a 2kg to 5kg outfit, 4” to 7” plastics with jig heads of 1/4oz to 1/2oz are the go.
Braid of around 6lb to 8lb is a good starting point and use a quality 6lb to 10lb fluorocarbon leader to start with and then drop down to say 2lb to 4lb once you have the hang of it.Reads: 2636