I am glad to report that the beaches along the Hunter Coast are firing with great numbers of tailor and bream, as are all the headlands adjoining the sand.
Some fishos have been experiencing a great run of tailor mixed with the bream, and I am sure this will be the case as you read this.
Bream are among the most sought-after fish this month and there is an array of bait you can use on the beach.
I certainly put worms, especially live worms, as the number one bait for bream, then rate fresh pipis second. After these two come fresh bonito, mullet cubes, prawns, half pilchards and squid.
For beach bream, the most important factor is, as the real estate folks say, location, location, location. You’re looking for deep gutters and holes in close to shore where the fish may lay up.
When fishing at night all sorts of other species are also around. Jewfish, stingrays, and sharks will take these baits.
A lot of anglers will tell you about when they were fishing with bream gear – 2/0 hooks and small baits and then pow! A large jew or shark has started tearing line off the reel.
Most jewfish can be landed because there is usually only sand in front of you so if you take your time, once the fish is in the wash or surf area you can use the wave action in your favour.
Sharks are a different matter. They will snap you off clean unless you’ve got a wire trace and most anglers don’t use these unless they actually want to catch the sharks.
The tailor numbers have been really great on the beaches and on the rocks.
Some keen fishos are using small poppers off the rocks to catch tailor. Long, slow pulls on a long rod seem to be the best to get the popper to the surface and make it dance. Then let it sink a little and repeat the action.
Tailor are fast but they’re not in the group of speedsters like tuna. I think you could definitely get a few bonito off the rocks doing this as well; they have been around in good numbers lately.
Longtail tuna have been about. They seem to come through in schools for, say, a week, then three weeks later they move through again. I’ve always loved February and March to chase them but if water temperatures remain to their liking, there’s no reason we won’t see longtails this month.
May is the last month for the better flathead fishing. I know this is a big call because last year in the Hunter River flatties were taken nearly all year, but fishos are getting a lot more bream than flathead in the estuaries at the moment.
Offshore boats have run into large schools of bonito and tailor and a lot of school jewfish on the inshore reefs. I know the kingfish are on North Reef, as a friend has tangled with them.
The cooler months are good over the closer reefs, where squire, bream, kingfish, jewfish and teraglin can show up along with a multitude of other species.
And calm days drifting over North Reef, the Granites and the Dumping Ground can produce a bucket of squid very quickly. Just rig as you would for snapper but tie on a jig instead of bait.
The best sign that squid are around is a bite hole in any live bait you may have out for jewfish or a kingie. If your livies are being killed off by the squid then you might as well get a tasty feed of calamari to bring home.
Trolling around the reefs with a surface lure or a deeper diver will pick up kingfish, some large tailor and even striped tuna and bonito if the conditions are right. Big fish can turn up over the bait grounds. We anglers go there for bait and so do hungry predators.
A friend told me he was on the bait ground straight out the front of Stockton Surf Club getting slimy mackerel and yellowtail when on the sounder he saw bigger fish. He expected them to be jewfish or kingfish but when he dropped a live bait down he hooked a 9kg yellowfin tuna, a real surprise for such shallow water.
Talking about yellowfin, I heard of a massive fish of around 80kg brought into the Newcastle Fishermen’s Co-op last week. This is a good month to try for them out on the continental shelf if you have a safe boat and a good crew.
The Hunter River is fishing quite well. The luderick are on again so the float-watchers should being filling the rock walls and lining up on the jetties.
Bream have been on and off. Some have been taken along Stockton Wall and they should still be moving around as you read this.
Tailor are hanging around the mouth of the river so it’s best to troll or float a half pilchard on the outgoing tide.
Don’t be shocked if you hook a small hammerhead around the mouth of the river, they certainly have a fascination with this river and a lot of hammer hook-ups are mistaken for jewfish. They seem to love this river and most caught are under 1.6m.
This month I would be heading for the beaches for tailor, jewfish and larger bream or the headlands to toss lures for tailor and the odd bonito.Reads: 4230