Fresh and salt fishing well
  |  First Published: October 2008

The saltwater and freshwater are fishing well so I hope good weather and a lack of wind serve you well over the long weekend, letting you nail a few fish.

I call this time of the year my freshwater time. From now until the end of March I do a lot of river and dam fishing, chasing bass, golden and silver perch.

At night I keep the kids entertained catching large catfish.

This year the cost of fuel to tow boats to some distant location will hinder a lot of us. Fuel for the car and boat on any journey is a real concern, especially when towing, and you can bet your best rod and reel that a day or two before the holiday weekend the fuel price will soar.

So if you decide to travel, grab your fuel well into the previous week; it won’t go stale, just make sure no water can enter your fuel tanks.

It’s no wonder using electric motors and casting around smaller areas is becoming more popular than trolling for long distances with the petrol motor. Electric motors are seemingly becoming fixtures on most boats.

A lot of the older club anglers are getting pretty annoyed with having to foot half their pension on a day out fishing and when the president announces an out-of-town fishing comp against a club two or three hours up the coast.

The majority of clubbies just can’t afford to go or have to all fish from one boat, and car-pool to be able to go at all.

I am sure most readers feel the same, it’s all well to read reports of good fish and great destinations but locked-up marine parks and the cost of everything is taking its toll. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realise that it’s fast becoming an expensive exercise.

Now that I’ve had a whine, I better try to help you catch some fish and, thankfully, the local action has been pretty good.


The freshwater scene is hotting up and the Hunter River is fishing well in the upper and lower parts.

Bass are showing up around Raymond Terrace with bream, flathead and flounder down around the bridges at Hexham.

A few early risers targeting bream and bass on soft plastics have been taking school jewfish around the front of the old Oak factory and all the way up to the junction of the Williams and Hunter rivers.

Drifting down towards Sandgate, a few flathead have been caught and you can expect them to be thicker as the water warms this month. Barry Latham and a few others have been getting some very large flathead Stockton on peeled prawns and strips of mullet.

An unusual number of large plate size flounder have been taken on the drifts around the Stockton bridge on the Kooragang Island side and we can expect the whiting to join in, too. When drifting pilchards or mullet strips on the falling tide for larger flathead, have a long-shank hook on for those flounder.

My son and I managed two trips on Lake Macquarie for tailor and bream. We got a few tailor trolling and casting around the moored boats around Toronto.

Just on dark the NSW Maritime officers started inspections for proper lighting on all vessels so be aware they are serious about this. For $20 you can buy lights with a suction cup that just stick on the boat when needed; there is no need for fancy wiring and switch panels.


The small boat ramp across from the Belmont Caravan Park about five hundred metres south from the Belmont Sixteen Footers Sailing Club is to be removed. This will upset a lot of people because it’s a good little out-of-the-way ramp and can be used in a powering nor’-easter.

A lot of the tenants from the caravan park across the road as well as other locals will now have to travel some distance to either Croudace Bay or Valentine.

While on the subject of locked-down waterways, the southern channel of the Hunter River is getting a new coal-loading facility. The cyclone wire fence goes all the way along the shore from the turbine windmill to the roundabout that goes to Kooragang Island.

A sand feature where you could once stroll and cast lures for flathead, bream and great whiting is no more. About 1000 tonnes of granite has been dumped there and the area is now off limits.


The beaches can fish very well in October, especially if we get a few nor’-easters punching some warmer water our way.

The first of the whiting that hit this region last year were the biggest of the lot so a few worms on smaller gear may pay off.

Bream are also great fun on the light gear and if you hook up to anything bigger on an open beach you can have some great fun trying to wrestle in a big fish – your only problem is being spooled.

The offshore reefs show their true colours through October off the Hunter Coast. I was a deckhand on a local charter boat for over eight years and recall that if jew and teraglin show up early we will have a good Summer fish; if trevally, morwong and leatherjackets are around we will have to wait closer to Christmas, so pray for some nor’-easters early in this month.

There are still kingfish in small schools as well as leatherjackets, squire are getting thicker as they move in closer so don’t forget to have a few floaters out the back.

I have heard nothing from any of my rockhopper mates.

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