Time to change tactics
  |  First Published: March 2010

As the year rolls on, in our estuaries the target species don’t change too much but the way we target them definitely does.

The water temps will vary greatly this month and if we get more rain the water will wool even faster and could provide some very tough fishing conditions.

The weed beds in the lower Hastings have been really struggling, mainly due to the amount of fresh water we’ve received in recent times.

In some areas it’s almost like a moonscape on the bottom. It almost reminds me of times when the netters used to clear out paddocks of weed when netting fish, before the Hastings became a recreational fishing area.

With the cooler months just around the corner, it could a tough year for our estuarine ecosystem that depends on healthy weed beds.

After a Summer chasing fish on the scattered weed up-river and in shallow gutters and drop-offs, it now will be all about going deep and targeting flowing water around rock bars and gravel beds.


The mullet are already schooling, giving away their location by shimmering the water. These nervous Nellies are already in big schools and that means big bream, mulloway and flathead will be lurking around the schools and taking advantage of the mobile food supply.

If you find these schools of mullet then stick with them and you should be well rewarded.

Best lures will be those that mimic the mullet and fresh baits like mullet, bonito and whitebait will be excellent. Fish light and keep the bait off the bottom to get the good bream and the odd mulloway.

Sticking the bait on the bottom should yield some healthy flathead.

This month we will see luderick really kick into gear and the long rods and long floats will definitely be dusted off. Best spots will be the bend on the South Wall and the Coal Wall in the Hastings. Stingray Creek and Henry Kendall Reserve on the Camden Haven River will be good starting points at the start of the run-in tide.

If you’re looking for some beach and rock action, a few more options are starting to open up this month.

Tailor are already showing up in good numbers off the breakwalls and with the colder weather on its way, the bigger fish should start turning up this month. Ganged pilchards and metals slugs will be your best bet.

Drummer should also start up this month, with Grants Head, Shelly Beach and Point Perpendicular the best options.

A good berley trail and fresh bait will be essential. Cunjevoi is the gun bait but remember to take only what you need, or your limit of 20, which is plenty for a good session.


Offshore should get very interesting this month with a real crossover of seasons yielding anything from kingfish to cobia and snapper to flathead.

Recently some poor conditions have led many boats to turn up at the flathead grounds for an easy feed before heading home ahead of the nasty northerlies we’ve been experiencing.

This month, though, we should see plenty of southerly changes and if the conditions are good, some great snapper fishing. Wide of Shelly Beach and Tacking Point Lighthouse should be the best places to find active fish.

A mix of fresh baits and plastics will have you mixing with some quality fish.

If things are looking a little slow then try anchoring and berleying and then feeding back the plastics for mixed bags of reds, pearl perch and morwong.

So with the change in conditions, look to change your fishing habits and this month you should get some good quality fish.

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