Winter anglers looking to chill out this weekend will find a cool range of options on the table, according to Ross Duffy, from Duffs Bait and Tackle at Salamander Bay.
Weather forecasts suggests we may get a few showers and a bit of wind, but nothing too extreme.
Therefore all areas are go – offshore, beaches, rocks estuaries and fresh.
‘‘Luderick are sucking up weed around local breakwalls in the Nelson Bay area,’’ Ross said yesterday. ‘‘Good fish up and over the 1kg mark.’’
Sweet tasting trumpeter whiting are prevalent throughout the port up to 30cm in size.
‘‘Guys have been getting them drifting over sandflats,’’ Ross said. ‘‘The soft plastic worms have been going all right.’’
Stockton Beach is fishing well for salmon, whiting, bream and the odd tailor.
‘‘Nathan McGrah got 17 sand whiting and a couple of nice bream in one session during the week – all reasonable size,’’ Ross said.
Snapper have died down during the week, but it’s still been good.
‘‘Paul Dodds got a 4.5kg snapper off the rocks at Fingal Heads,’’ Ross said.
He also bagged out on some smaller squire.
‘‘There were some good fish caught last weekend.
Shane Peters got multiple reds to 7.5kg at Edith Breakers.
‘‘Johnny Riley bagged out off Fishermans Bay.’’
Sand flathead have been caught at the back of Mungo and the Gibber on the drift and Gary Morgan got a 10kg jew on Uralla reef off Boat Harbour.
Stripies make the scene
Ken Bowler, creator of KLF lures, reports striped marlin active directly east of Port Stephens.
‘‘I was out last Wednesday with John Robertson on his boat Justnuts,’’ Ken said yesterday.
‘‘We actually headed out in search of yellowfin, but came across all these stripies at the 70-fathom mark. The water temp was around 20.4 degrees, there were birds and dolphins working.
‘‘We hooked three stripies and saw at least another six or seven fish. They were really active.
‘‘We had Phil the rookie working one fish, about 80 to 90kgs, and as he got it to the boat, there were two or three others surfacing nearby.’’
Ken also reports a few trag about in close and good schools of bluefin tuna around Little Island. Further south, leatherjackets and flathead reign between the shore and ships off Newcastle down to Swansea.
Flatties on the alert
Robert Gleghorn, from Baerami, up near Sandy Hollow, reports there’s been some big flathead about on the western side of Lake Macquarie. And that’s bad news for the flatties because Bob’s is developing a revolutionary jighead.
‘‘I hate those jigheads that let the flattie off. I lose about 10 out of every 20 I hook.
‘‘So I’ve invented my own and I’m testing a prototype at the moment.’’
Bob, a fitter and turner by trade, holds or has held numerous world and national gamefishing records over the last 30 years, so the flathead better beware.
Once that patent turns up it will be game on.
Bream in the bag
Winter bream have been keeping anglers busy up and down the coast.
Belmont North angler Isabelle Delaney hooked her first ever bream on Boomerang Beach recently.
Jason Edwards, from Coal Point, brained a 1.5kg fish.
And Craig Murnain, from Maryland, enjoyed similar success in the Hunter River near Stockton last weekend, nailing a 1.6kg cleaned, 44cm bream using mullet for bait.
Sign of salmon times
Former Herald journalist Peter Jory continues to harvest salmon, following up his big fish cake caught in Lake Macquarie last week with a bigger one this week on Blacksmiths Beach.
Whilst out fishing, PJ got chatting to a guy wearing a Manly Sea Eagles cap, so we can’t necessarily trust him.
But the bloke, who was holidaying, reckons the eco-system is changing along our coast.
‘‘He reckons 10 to 15 years ago he could get a good feed of tailor, bream and flathead here [Blacksmiths] but now it’s all salmon,’’ PJ reported.
Brenton Kelly, from Get Reel Tackle, at Morisset, reckons a couple of his older customers have been saying the same thing.
‘‘We’ve never really had salmon down the southern end of the lake, but the last two years they’ve been turning up and these guys reckon they’ve noticed a drop-off in other species caught,’’ Brenton said.
Ross Duffy says its the same up in Nelson Bay.
‘‘They’re [salmon] not being targetted by pros so much,’’ Ross said.
‘‘So they increase in numbers and attack other species, like whiting.
‘‘They’re coming into the bay this year which is unusual. And they seem to be spreading.’’
Belmont pickings good
Brenton reports it’s been a bit of a struggle in the lake this week.
‘‘We’ve had a good run of blackfish at the Eraring outlet,’’ he said.
‘‘We’ve had a sprinkling of bream, flatties and salmon.
‘‘But the water temp’s seems a bit cooler this year, and guys are saying the northern end of the lake, around Belmont, is fishing better.’’