For Fish of the Week winner Chriss Gallagher, the jewfish she plucked from the river at Crescent Head last Tuesday was a super surprise.
“For a granny who goes fishing once in a blue moon this was excitement,” she reported. “Using my friend’s Defiance rod with a braid line (so I’m told) I hooked this jewfish using chicken breast soaked in garlic and Parmesan cheese on a 20lb line at Crescent Head on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes as I thought I must have caught a little shark or something – it sure put up a fight! But was delicious!!! It was around 80cm long and weighed 4kg. Hope you agree it was an awesome catch for an old girl!”
Obviously Chriss is milking the Granny card, and you have to feel for Daniel McDowell from Newcastle who would have figured strongly for Fish of the Week with his similar sized jewfish hooked in Newcastle Harbour last Sunday.
“I had to put up with the wind and rain but it was all definitely worth it,” Daniel said of the two fish he caught, one measuring 91cm, the other 85cm.
“Both were taken on live bait and during daylight hours.”
It was a similar story for Reed Sweetnam, from Vacy, who sent in a pic of a super bass caught and released in the Paterson River last week, and Riley Fitzsimmons, of Singleton, who landed a 71cm flathead in Lake Macquarie.
All were worthy Fish of the Week entries, but ultimately, in the interests of diversity, unusualness and just plain feel good factor, the super excited granny got the chocolates.
Lee “Lazzo” Stevenson took out the Newcastle District Anglers Association freshwater competion held at Lake St Clair last weekend.
A strong contingent of 41 anglers competed and for the first time as club spokesman Craig Oaten can remember Lazzo managed to catch the maximum 17 fish.
“The last couple of years the yellowbelly and silvers have been hard to get but he managed to get five of each, along with five catfish and two bass,” Craig said.
“Most of the yellowbelly were around the 40cm mark. His 17 fish weighed in at a winning 16.85kg.”
Lazzo hails from Burwood Bowling Club and it was the first NDAA comp he’s ever won and to say he was chuffed would be an understatement.
‘He’s always been competing, and had a few second and thirds,” Craid noted.
Mick “Mountain” Price was runner-up with 15 fish, for 15.3kg.
“All competitors got a lot of fish this year, with the average about 10 fish each,” Craig said. “Seventy per cent of the yellowbellies were caught trolling deep divers.”
Light rain, wind and stillness oscillated over the weekend, with the fish on the bite during the stillness.
Serena Downie tied with Jan Jeffs in the ladies division. Veteran champion was Bob Hodges, Les Jeffs claimed super veterans honours while sub-junior champ was Mia Downie.
Matthew Small got the largest bass – 1.15kg; Matt Finn got the biggest catfish – 2.16kg; Mel Watfield got the biggest golden perch – 2.12kg; and Steve Hector got the largest silver – 0.99kg.
The next NDAA comp is the estuary event in February.
Jumpin’ Johnny Frith from Fisherman’s Warehouse reports consistent catches of flathead, bream and jew in Lake Macquarie, and even the odd orca spotted about out wide.
“Corey [workmate Corey Reid] was out yesterday and got 14 flathead in the shallows and a few nice flounder,” John said.
“Some nice meaty blue swimmers on the march at the moment and I have been getting some nice bream in Swansea channel. A lot of schoolies biting on prawns.”
Speaking of prawns, the next prawn run is due Tuesday, November 14.
They usually move 10 days after the full moon which was last Saturday.
“It might sound obvious, but when they’re running, prawns are the best bait to use in the lake,” John said.
“The last prawn run, I caught all my bream on prawns even though I had mullet and chicken breast baits out at the same time, but they weren’t biting on those. It makes you wonder. It’s not like I was fishing in the channel where there are heaps of prawns, but they just seemed to favour the prawns.”
The barracouta are still about in plague proportions off the coast, causing anglers no end of frustration.
“Never seen it like this,” John said.
“Plenty of bonito about but they’re pretty small. A few kings responding to jigs in close and a few marlin have been switch baited out wide.
“There’s even been a few killer whales spotted frolliicking about which is pretty unusual in these waters, but not unheard of.”