Looks like a reasonable weekend to fish if you can tear yourself away from the Supercars.
The weather is warm, not much rain about and the only annoyance being a feisty east-nor-easter blowing Saturday and Sunday.
A high around 1.30pm to 2pm Saturday and Sunday will be worth a shot if you’re not prepared to work the wee hours of the morning.
A great feature of all estuaries at the moment is the rise in whiting activity.
Anglers have been bagging out in the bay, on the beach and throughout the lake as these summer specials come on line.
Accompanying them we’re continuing to see great catches of bream.
As our Fish of the Week winner suggests, there’s some big jew on the move, not only in the Harbour, but up around Karuah near the bridge and throughout Lake Macquarie.
Expect to see flathead move out of the deeper water as the water temps increase.
It’s been an excellent season so far for blue swimmers and mud crabs with consistent catches coming out of most catchments.
Beaches have been throwing up a mix of whiting, flathead, chopper tailor and salmon.
Outside there’s been some excellent snapper, kingfish and flatties taken, mixed in with bonito, trag and unfortunately lots of pesky barracouta.
Mark “Wilba” Williams, co-ordinator for the Lake Macquarie Trophy Flathead Fishery Program, rang in this week with an update on the tagging program.
His trusty team of ‘flathead whisperers’ have been given the task of tagging flathead in the lake as part of a DPI-Fisheries backed initiative.
The purpose is to research and look into the state of dusky flathead in Lake Macquarie, particularly the large fish.
Information on movements and growth rates is being recorded to inform future long term management of this trophy fishery.
“Five weeks in and we’ve had a further five fish tagged, bringing the total to 12,” Wilba reported.
“Steve Norris tagged an 82cm fish through the week and Dan Guilfoyle from Charlestown Anglers has tagged three up to 85cm.”
Mark “Wilba” Williams got his first fish too, a 90cm PB on a lure a week ago.
“Fish have now been tagged all over the lake, from the top end as far down as Murray’s Beach,” Wilba said.
“Pretty soon we’re going to see recaptures which will start to give us an idea where the flathead are moving.”
To assist in that regard it’s vitally important that if you catch a big flathead and it has the tell-tale pink tag next to its second dorsal fin that you do a couple of things.
“Most important, get the tag number off the tag,” Wilba said.
“We’re encouraging that if you have a mobile phone handy, take a photo.
“Then get an accurate length, note the location where it was caught and preferably release the fish.
“Then contact Fisheries with the information.
“We want to keep putting it out there that this Trophy Flathead Fishery research is underway in the lake, particularly as the school holidays approach and the fishing traffic increases.
“Chances are with more fishing, there’ll be more recaptures, and thus more opportunity to gather this important research.”
One of the flathead whisperers caught a 66cm snapper in the lake this week.
“It’s the biggest confirmed snapper in the lake I’ve every heard of and it says plenty about how good a fishery the lake is becoming,” Wilba said.
“I reckon it’s all part of an evolutionary improvement since cessation of commercial netting.
“It’s not unusual to see keepers up around the 50cm mark these days.”
Wilba notes a similar thing with kingfish.
“You see them in the channel, but not so much inside,” Wilba said.
“I was fishing for flathead on a lure just past the Drop Over this week, and got weeded up so I was reeling it in quick, and this kingie zoned in on it. Very exciting.”
Todd Graham reports he’s reared a budding fishing champion in the shape of nine-year-old son Zander.
“He had his first go at fishing from the beach at Stockton last weekend and and caught two mulloway at once!,” Todd said of the double hook-up.
“Took me 20+ years for my first and he got his at 9. The little bugger! Lol.”
In other news, 10-year-old Jackson King of Singleton got a 56cm flatty drifting a prawn in the Karuah River last weekend. And Ryan Thoroughgood caught a nice blue grouper and a spankgle emperor off the island at Swansea Heads last Sunday.
Applications to the the Recreational Fishing Trust for funding for 2018/19 close today, Friday, November 24.
If you've got an idea to improve recreational fishing in your area you can apply.
That includes fishing organisations, universities, councils, community groups etc.
Many different projects receive funding each year, including for recreational fishing education, fishing access and facilities (fishing platforms, cleaning tables), enhancing fishing (fish stocking) and access, improving fish habitat, fisheries research and so on.
Hundreds of projects have been completed using funds from the Trusts and another 200 projects are currently underway.