Go easy on big flatties
  |  First Published: September 2008

Some warm weather will make fishing outings a tad more pleasurable. Each September on the Hastings we see our run of big female flathead and I’ll start by pleading to anglers to give these fish a break – by all means, catch some but please release them so we can all enjoy the fishing for years to come.

After some extremely cool water in recent months, I’m hoping the change in seasons will mean warmer estuaries and more active fish.

Bream have been consistent but not outstanding. I’m tipping it could be a good Spring, with fish moving back up the rivers to their usual haunts.

Flathead have been keeping a low profile but this month things will surely change. Whiting will start to improve in numbers and become more viable targets and the luderick should still be on the bite.

If you’re looking for a feed of flathead then the best starting points this month, will be the flats at Blackmans Point on the Hastings River and the gravel beds on the Camden Haven River just above Dunbogan Bridge.

Gang-hooked whitebait will be a good start or some nice slab baits and if you’re really keen you can’t beat live poddy mullet or yakkas. Fish the drop-offs or drift over the flats and into deeper water.

If you’re throwing lures, make sure you rig an 8lb to 12lb leader and start with a 1/8oz or 1/4oz jig head rigged with a 3” to 4” soft plastic, Atomic Prongs and Berkley Minnows will be good starting points.

Mix up the colours and see what works best. Try darker colours early and late in the day and brighter colours during the middle of the day.

If you’re looking for some light tackle fun this month then cranking hard minnows over the weed beds will be the go, looking for bream as they start to forage for food after the cold Winter water.

They should be aggressive and a lot of fun. Fish sizes are likely be average to poor but numbers will make up for that.

Luderick should still be on the bite and those who fish from a boat will fare well by targeting the bends and deep stretches of Limeburners Creek. Land-based anglers will find good fish along the breakwalls and coal walls of the Hastings and Camden Haven rivers.


Offshore action has been hot with reports of snapper off Port Macquarie and Laurieton with soft plastics around 5” to 7” on 3/8oz heads accounting for most of the fish.

Some days colour seems to make a difference and on others none at all so take a variety of styles and colours. I recommend starting with Berkley 5” Gulp jerkbaits in any of the chicken colours.

A good sounder and GPS make all the difference. Find the fish, mark them on the GPS, then work out the drift so you can go ahead of the mark then drift back over the fish.

Active snapper will show stacked up in a column off the bottom. If you find them like this there’s a good chance your lures will be snaffled on the drop. Beware of the leatherjackets, though. If you find fish on the sounder and start losing gear then it’s time to move before it becomes too expensive.

Good schools of slimy mackerel have been showing up and with warmer water on the way, it could be a good season for the pelagics. Keep a record of where and when you found the bait schools and plan some trolling and casting outings for tuna, kingfish and salmon.

The Port Macquarie BREAM Classic is not far away and already boats are visiting town to find where the bream are. If you’re interested in joining the bream craze and want to try your hand at tournament fishing, the Port Macquarie BREAM Classic is a great starting point. All the details and entry forms can be found at www.bream.com.au or give me a call on 0401 191 554.

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