Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackle World Port Stephens, is a busy man.
Fresh from taking out the Boating, FIshing or Camping category at the Port Stephens Examiner Annual Business Awards on Wednesday night, and then being named Overall Business of the Year, Hammer is preparing to head up to Fraser Island to chase marlin.
“It certainly was a shock,” Brent said, of the overall award.
“We were gunning for the trifecta in the Camping, Boating or Fishing Category, having won that the last two years , but after winning that, to take out the big one – well, we were in shock.”
But time stands still for no man, and come this Sunday, Brent will be hammering up to Hervey Bay with boat in tow.
“We’ll base there and head to Fraser Island each day,” he said.
“I’ll be fishing with a mate for a week and then the Sunday after, my dad and daughter are flying in and hopefully I can catch her her first marlin.”
Fraser is an interesting fisherie where you can catch juvenile marlin right along the beach.
“We actually fly fish for them,” he said. “We tease them up by running a skirt on a lure loaded with tuna belly flaps along the surface.
“That gets the marlin excited and then we throw flies at them.
“They’re only juveniles but it is exciting.”
Another Port Stephens fishing identity, Tim Dean, reports there’s been plenty of 1000-pounder blacks caught off Cairns this year, which indicated they’re breeding.
“With any luck it also means that come a year or two, we’ll see a good run of blacks heading south past our waters,” Brent said.
Nelson Bay is fishing really well this week, Hammer reported, with plenty of good flathead in Tilligerry Creek and Karuah River.
“Soft plastics are the bomb when chasing the lizards,” Brent said.
Lots of good jew about, some up to 20kg, especially around Soldiers Point and the Anchorage Breakwall.
“Tides have been really good this week and guys have been fishing those tide changes early morning and late afternoon with live baits,” Hammer said.
Some great sand whiting on the flats in the bay responding to surface lures
Offshore has been a little hit and miss due in part to fluctuating temps out wide.
There’s been talk of a few striped marlin tagged tagged south of Swanea.
And to the north there has been encouraging reports of blue and striped marlin off Coffs Harbour.
But the biggest problem on the inshore reefs has been the barracouta.
“Essentially that means there’s a bit of cold current about,” Hammer said.
“The guys on Pacific Blue Charters got some nice snapper around 3kg to 4kg fishing up towards the 21 reef last weekend.”
There’s been some really nice kings inside the bay, especially off the breakwall at Nelson Bay.
“We weighed one for customer Harley Price that went 13kg, caught on a squid bait first light off the breakwall,” Hammer said.
“Heaps of guys have been coming in trying to chase them.
“All hell breaks loses with a big fish like that in calm water. Stopping them is the biggest trick.
“Most guys use 50kg to 80kg line, but it is not easy.
“You can use fresh or live squid, stick baits.”
Swansea RSL Fishing Club held it’s monthly BBQ weigh-in on Sunday with plenty of fish across all categories, according to club spokesman Cameron Judd.
“The deep sea Boy’s got plenty of small snapper but were plagued by this years influx of southern barracoutta,” Cameron said.
“Lake and estuary fishos were rewarded for their late nights with a handful of nice jew to around 5kg, and some nice bream and whiting from the shallows.”
Swansea RSL Fishing Club’s season ends at the end of November and will start again on the last weekend in January 2018 with all members for the new year to be paid up before that date.
Jason Nunn will be conducting a tackle talk at Warners at the Bay Tuesday, November 14. Doors open 6.30pm. Anyone keen on honing their skills should come along and learn with a master of the industry who is there to answer all your questions.
Eight "trophy-sized" dusky flathead have so far been tagged as part of the new Lake Maquarie Trophy Flathead Fishery program.
These fish, which were tagged by local flathead whisperers Steve Norris, Steve Gresham and Rodney Austin, now each sport a pink DPI tag with five numbers on it.
If you catch a tagged flathead, record the numbers (a good tip is to photograph the tag), measure the fish and take note of where it was recaptured. Send this info, along with details of the fish's condition, what you caught it on and whether it was re-released (preferably with the tag still in position), to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with St Georges Basin and Tuross Lake, Lake Macquarie is part of a program examining ways to maximise fishing opportunities in Recreational Fishing Havens for trophy sized flathead by encouraging release of all fish over 70cm.
The quality of the general flathead fishery and the socio-economic benefits will also be reviewed as part of this initiative.
The Basin and Tuross trophy fisheries have been operating for more than a year, with over 90 fish to 96cm tagged by local tagging teams as well as many fish documented in the angler diary program.
Stay tuned for more info on trophy fishery signs and info sheets as we head into summer.