Cold mornings, cool days and chilly evenings all add up to lots of great Winter fishing opportunities, from chasing big bream on the estuaries to taming tailor on the beaches.
If you’re looking for estuary action during the day this month, two main species will see you through.
Luderick require specific techniques and specialised equipment. Cabbage weed, prawns and nippers will be the best baits.
During the run-in tide in clearer water, weed will be the go. In murkier, darker water the prawns and nippers will prove to be prime baits.
If you’re looking for a land-based option then Henry Kendall Reserve on Stingray Creek at Laurieton will be a prime spot, as will the southern breakwall on the Hastings River right in the heart of Port Macquarie.
The other target species in daylight hours is much simpler and possibly a whole lot easier – the good old flathead.
Best baits will be prawns, whitebait and flesh baits, fished with enough weight to reach the bottom. Soft plastics will also prove productive.
Best spots will be areas with shallow water with lots of weed with scattered sand.
If you’re on the Camden Haven River then the eastern bank upstream of the Dunbogan Bridge will prove productive. Best areas in the Hastings River will be around the mouth of the Maria River and Blackmans Point.
If you’re into night fishing then bream will be your primary target.
Best baits will be fresh mullet, prawns and whitebait.
Berley will bring fish around but once you start getting some, I’d recommend stopping the berley – continuing will just bring in a whole lot of undersize fish. The less berley will give you the best opportunity to catch bigger bream.
Best spots in the Camden Haven and Hastings rivers will be along the walls, either from the wall itself or from a boat. Just remember to take what you need not your limit.
Lure-tossers targeting bream this month will move to the lower reaches, targeting fish in deeper water. Deep-diving lures run parallel to the bank will work well, along with any of the metal vibes.
Best plastics will be 2” and 3” soft stickbaits, depending on the size of baitfish in the area.
Beach fishing should really hot up this month with bream, mulloway, tailor and salmon on the cards.
Early morning, late afternoon and after dark will be the best times to catch quality fish. Salmon are less fussy than the others about time of the day.
Lures will be the best option for the salmon and the tailor, with the latter also prone to gang-hooked pilchards.
Bream and mulloway will also take whole pilchards but fresh worms are hard to beat when targeting these. Best locations will be Lighthouse Beach, North Beach (north of Port Macquarie) Dunbogan Beach and Grants Beach between Bonny Hills and North Haven.
If you’re heading offshore then the fun should really start kicking into gear this month.
Some nice longtail tuna have been caught around Point Perpendicular and Tacking Point Lighthouse and if conditions stay similar they should persist. Trolling will be a good option, keep a lookout for bait boils and birds working.
Those hunting snapper will do well starting over the shallow reefs just off Bonny Hills with whole squid, pilchards and the good old Berkley 7” Jerk Shad rigged on 3/8oz or 1/4oz jig head, depending on the current.
Those venturing further to deeper water will be chasing pearl perch, morwong and nannygai, with cubed baits, bonito and pilchards the prime offerings.
Just remember that fishing is about enjoying the experience. Get your gear organised, find a location, enjoy that location and test your skill against the fish. Above all, have fun.Reads: 2585