The winter chill has done nothing to ease the heat as local waters bubble with opportunity.
Jeff “Kanga” Ruse, from Freddys Fishing World at Broadmeadow, reports estuaries are boiling with salmon, tailor, bream, flathead and jew.
“They have been performing really well all winter,” Geoff said.
“The Hunter River has been producing jew, not massive but good sizes, and the bream and flathead have been great.”
Kanga is a true lure man and recommends anglers target these species with the trusty Vibelicious models.
“Particularly in the thumper style,” Kanga said.
“I like to pro-cure the front half in aniseed and the back half in mullet scent.’
Kanga reckons these scents are a real game changer.
“They stay on a good 45 minutes and really work,” he said.
“I call it the KFC factor – it really gets fish on the chew in periods of the tide cycle where you normally mightn’t get much action.
“It nearly makes consideration of what the tide’s up to irrelevant.
“Like the other day I was catching flathead on these lures, but no bream. I put some scent on and I had fish every cast.
“I recommend the Vibes in the 10g range if you’re fishing the harbour for bream.
“Guys in the lake tend to use 20g because there’s more jew.
“The dedicated jew hunters in the harbour will even go the 30g.
“Again you can mix the scent up on all those.”
There’s been some great tailor and salmon being caught about the estuaries.
Tailor have been responding to Pacemaker lures from Samaki or the Rapala X-Raps.
“Salmon respond to small clear plastic lures, doesn’t seem to matter what model,” Kanga said.
“Just try and keep them on the surface and work the edges.
“Don’t drive through them because you just shut them down.”
Heaps of luderick off the breakwalls everywhere.
“Getting weed and having your float weighted correctly are very important,” Kanga said.
“And it’s necessary to use floating line.
“Guys use to vaseline the lines but you don’t need to these days.
“With the floats, you need to get one that’s really responsive and weight it right.”
Inland rivers have fired up this winter, attracting a lot of interest from Hunter-based anglers.
“The murray cod at Copetoun Dam and the New England rivers have been phenomenal,” Kanga said.
“We can’t keep up with the swim baits.
“We sell these Gigantral lures, $80 a lure, and we’ve sold out – we can’t keep the stock up.
“A lot of fish getting caught are over a metre, which is absolutely monstrous given how thick these fish get at that size.”
Swim baits are a fish lure, multi-jointed and hard-bodied.
“The Jackal Chibitarel and Mikeys have been really popular,” Kanga said
“There’s another one from Jackal called the Hideprima, a little jointed surface walker with propellor on the back.
“It’s a good mid size crossover lure from cod to bass.
“We’ve also got a whole mass of mirco Pompadours which has been brought out for bass and they are awesome, but I also reckon they are going to kill it on the bream too.”
Snapper and kingfish beckon if you can get outside.
Fish of the Week winner Rhys Berger got 13 fishing with his dad Troy south of FIngal Bay recently.
It was a golden day for the gang as they also brought home four legal-size crays.
Talk about seafood banquet.
The other big lure further south, off Norah Heads, is kingfish.
“It’s a brilliant time of year to go jigging,” Kanga said.
“They tend to school up and when they’re on, it’s lioke a fish per drop.
“You just need a decent jigging rod – you don’t want to go too heavy.
“You’ll also want a decent reel with 50lb braid, about 80lb to 100lb leader depending on the person, and a 250g jig. If someone want to give it a go, come into the shop and I’ll show you how to do it.”
The bass closure in operation on NSW rivers at the moment, finishes up next weekend.
In the meantime, dams have been fishing well with bass responding to blades and plastics around the edges.
“The ideal thing is very small blades and ice jigs – Smak, Moebix, Jackal,” Kanga said. “Any of those brands, a couple of different types and colours, and some blades are perfect for bass. I like these particular brands because they have a really good vibration and the colour range is excellent.”