Fishos gearing up for the big chill

WINTER westerly winds of change are beginning to blow through the valley, heralding the emergence of cool-climate species like salmon, luderick, drummer and bream on the local fishing target hit list.

Meanwhile big seas pound the coast, making it impractical to get outside.

Conditions are still pretty mild in terms of air and water temperatures, but the prevalence of such fish in local waters indicates it won’t be long before we’re all chillin’.

Glenn Evans from Tacklepower Westend reckons there’s plenty of salmon about in Newcastle Harbour.

‘‘No one’s been able to get outside this week because the swell’s been up,’’ Glenn said yesterday.

‘‘The salmon have been annoying everyone fishing in the harbour.

‘‘Guys have been chasing jew through the no moon with not much luck. Whiting have slowed up on the beaches but the bream have started to turn up.

‘‘It’ll probably be worth a shot round the rocks once the seas settle down for drummer and luderick.’’

And it’s true, but as good as rock fishing can be at this time of year, no fish is worth your life, so be careful.

Swell bites remain

BIG seas have hampered outside fishing this week, nonetheless Greg Plunkett ventured out on Lone Wolf from Port Stephens on Wednesday and got two marlin off three bites – standard stripies, upwards of 80kilograms.

The forecast for this weekend is not that encouraging, though.

Veteran fishing expert Fred Studden ventured out to The Farm on Anzac Day before the swell ramped up and reported a mile of leatherjackets biting off anything that moved.

It will be interesting to see if they’re still around as the bumps abate.

Ringo’s tip is on the bay

PAUL ‘‘Ringo’’ Lennon, from Tackleworld Port Stephens, reports plenty of bream in the bay. The racks around Shoal Bay and Tea Gardens have been firing.

Flathead continue to flourish and salmon are spread throughout.

‘‘Corlette wreck and Salamander Shores wharf have been producing lots of salmon with bonito and tailor mixed in,’’ Ringo said yesterday.

‘‘We’ve been seeing squire up to three kilos inside too. Peter Raymond got some handy ones at Little Beach Wharf.

‘‘Brent [workmate ‘Hammer’ Hancock] got two on Wednesday fishing for bream on soft plastics at Soldiers Point.’’

Ringo and Hammer brained drummer and bream at Boulder Bay earlier this week floating unweighted prawns into holes on high tide.

Meanwhile, Ringo will appear in Steve Starling’s latest media offering. The fishing DVD is due for release in early June.

Steve and Ringo star in a half-hour segment of fishing in the Port Stephens area.

Top End rewards

SOME local fishos have been to the Top End recently to try their luck.

Mick Bourke, from Forster, got some nice diamond trevally up at Darwin over Easter.

Michael Carroll, a regular guest chef on 2NURFM and head chef at Hotrock Events and Catering, bagged barra measuring 97, 96 and 92centimetres on consecutive days fishing Mary River.

Closer to home, seven-year-old Riley Jones hooked two nice snapper fishing up at Tuncurry.

Prawns still on the menu

THE NSW Department of Primary Industries has completed a four-year study on prawning in NSW.

Boffins tagged 21,000 prawns from the Clarence River and closer to home at Wallis Lakes.

‘‘This study has provided the first detailed estimates of growth and mortality for NSW school prawn stocks, and enabled the department to assess the impact of fishing activities on school prawn stocks,’’ wild fisheries principal research scientist Dr Steve Montgomery said.

‘‘Our work has shown that while the school prawn fishery has definitely been heavily exploited, if things remain at current levels, it is sustainable.’’

According to the study, each year commercial fishos take about 2000tonnes and rec fishers 50tonnes.

Ninety-seven per cent of them are kings or schoolies.

‘‘School prawns stay in ocean waters close to the estuary from which they migrated as adolescents, whereas eastern king prawns travel northwards, covering distances of more than 1000kilometres, which is further than any other prawn species in the world,’’ Montgomery said.

The study found king prawns grow to approximately seven centimetres, weigh around 150grams and live up to three years.

Schoolies come in at three to four centimetres, weigh 30grams and live less than two years.

And with that in mind, you could do worse than buy a couple of kilos for your mum to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday.

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