HOLY smoke, the fishing was hot over Easter.
Local waters are teeming with winter species such as luderick, bream, flathead and salmon. And many anglers took the opportunity over the religious and Anzac Day breaks to pay respects to another religion of sorts, fishing.
All the signs suggest the bite will remain hot this weekend, but anglers would be advised to stay inshore as big seas are predicted.
A Jory good time
RETIRED Newcastle Herald journalist Peter ‘‘PJ’’ Jory didn’t get the girl but he sure got the fish after learning it’s better to stand and deliver when fighting bream.
PJ, along with a flotilla of other like-minded anglers, was patrolling Lucy’s Wall in Swansea Channel on Good Friday, looking for a feed.
Using light gear and peeled prawns, Pete duelled with a powerful bream early in his session but the good lord must have frowned on Pete’s relaxed approach because this fish busted him off on the rocks.
‘‘I miscalculated the size of the fish and foolishly played it sitting down,’’ Pete reported.
A local luderick fisho, who’d bagged 10 that morning which he intended to share with his elderly mum, happened to be cleaning his catch nearby and gave Pete some fresh meat to use for bait.
It wasn’t long before PJ’s rod was bent in half again.
‘‘This time I was better prepared,’’ PJ said. ‘‘I got off my backside and played the fish longer in deeper water.’’
Desperate for a helping hand, Pete looked around for someone to lend him a landing net, but to no avail.
‘‘There was no one except for a blonde teenager sunning herself on the rocks,’’ PJ recounted.
‘‘She gave me a helpless giggle as my rod strained against the weight of the fish.’’
No doubt inspired to put on a fishing display, PJ expertly guided the fish in and landed the beast on the concrete pathway.
‘‘The small hook was hanging by a thread,’’ he said. ‘‘I was lucky to land it. But it made my day. A 28-centimetre bream, not bad by my standards.’’
JEWFISH are biting heavily up and down the coast, and judging by our fish of the week, I do mean heavily.
Thirteen-year-old Harry Macansh got four on Easter Sunday up at Forster using soft plastics off the breakwall. Sounds like he had a heavy encounter too: he lost the first one after snapping his reel pulling it in.
Flatties feed the family
JESUS Christ might have died on the cross for our sins, but a fair few flathead made the ultimate sacrifice over Easter too.
Fourteen-year-old Mitchell Doyle, of Thornton, got an 80-centimetre lizard weighing six kilograms off Newcastle on Good Friday that fed the whole family.
Three-year-old Baily Whittaker, from Balmoral, got a 3.9-kilogram flattie at Dora Creek on the same day.
‘‘He hooked the fish by himself and even reeled it in by himself,’’ his proud and jealous (their words) parents reported.
Rhonda McLeay, from East Maitland, hooked a beauty on the Stockton side of Newcastle Harbour.
Mighty crab haul
GARY Hogan, Tony Dudely and Keith Tindal have been harvesting upwards of 20 crabs each week for the past couple of weeks, but outdid themselves off Speers Point last Thursday, finishing with 45 between them, plus one coral crab and another of unknown variety with three black spots on its back.
‘‘We got a shock when we pulled a crab pot and it began to swim away,’’ Gary reported. ‘‘It had an 80-centimetre flathead in it.’’
Boy beats salmon
ANOTHER species in high supply over the Easter break has been salmon.
Five-year-old Harrison O’Neile, from Holmesville, got up early to go beach fishing at Redhead with his father, Heath, and older brother Rowan (8) on Good Friday. Like a lot of people, they were looking for a family feed, and as the saying goes, seek and ye shall find. Or in this case, fish and ye shall catch.
Harrison managed to land a 66-centimetre, 2.2-kilogram Australian salmon, followed by another at 57centimetres.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Dylan Lock got a 55-centimetre fishcake in Swansea Channel on Tuesday.
A FEW local anglers tried their luck in distant waters over the school hols.
Nine-year-old Declan Murphy, from East Maitland, got an eight-kilogram mangrove jack stalking the estuaries of Port Douglas, while Matthew Robertson, from Louth Park, nailed his biggest-ever snapper at Corindi fishing with the old man.