Masses getting busy

To say fishing has been busy  over the Christmas break would be the understatement of the year, according to Brent “Hammer” Hancock from Tackle World Port Stephens. 

FISH OF THE WEEK: Todd Graham wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 119cm, 15kg jew caught off Stockton Beach this week.

FISH OF THE WEEK: Todd Graham wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 119cm, 15kg jew caught off Stockton Beach this week.

The holiday masses are in full swing along Hunter waters and Brent says they’ve been enjoying the best of weather and catches.

“We’ve been run off our feet, but there’s been really good reports,”  said Hammer, who reportedly fell asleep on the in-laws couch on Christmas Day.

(Experts are still trying to determine if that was because he’d been working to hard, or had eaten too much turkey.)

“In the bay we’ve seen plenty of bonito and tailor turn up, especially on the incoming tide, anywhere from the Anchorage to the breakwall at Nelson Bay marina.

“Plenty of surface activity, with fish really responding to small metal lures.

“Bread and butter species like whiting and bream are about in abundance on the sandflats and along the beaches.

“We can’t keep enough tube worms in stock. 

“Been a few blue swimmers about too, which has been good.”

Branching out

One of Hammer’s hitmen at Tackle World Port Stephens, Paul “Ringo” Lennon, has ventured out into the fishing charter business.

His operation is called Fish Port Stephens Estuary Charter Services and has been booked solid over the Christmas New Year period as anglers cash in on Paul’s local knowledge to track down among other species, some big kingies.

Visit www.fishportstephensestuarycharters.com for more info.

Meanwhile, Brad, from Pacific Charters, has been putting customers onto some great snapper, jew and trag around the local reefs like The V, and 21.

Big jew

Speaking of jew, a young Turk Hammer used to live next door to speared a 37kg mulloway last week on Broughton Island.

“It was a monster,” Hammer said. “He’s 19 years old now. Apparently he was diving for lobster and had the gun there when this fish turned up – got lucky I guess.”

Wide hopes

Out wide there have a been a few striped and black marlin spotted  and reports of a couple of big dolphin fish.

“Water has been a bit hit and miss but the good news is there is no current belting down the coast,” Hammer said.

“I’d almost call this a normal season.

“The last couple of years we’ve had that current raging south and impacting on game fishing, but this year, with no current, it’s reasonable to expect that as soon as the water temps get up, the bait will stack and it will be on.”

Beach bounty

Local beaches are firing for whiting, jew and bream.

Places like Birubi have been producing great sessions on  live tube worms.

“Fish early and fish late for best holiday results,” Hammer advised.

Happy New Year

The fishing forecast for the New Year weekend is looking reasonably promising with a few showers predicted but hardly any wind.

“Mostly 10 knots all weekend,” Hammer noted.

“Saturday is shaping up well with a slight southerly change Sunday and then New Years Day looks great.”

Dad strikes back

It’s been a bumper year for the Graham family.

Nine-year-old Zander featured on this page in November, having shown up his dad Todd by catching two jew in one cast off Stocko. It led to a lament from dad along the lines of “took me 20 years to get my first jew and he gets two at once at age 9, the little bugger. LOL.”

As the Fish of the Week photo shows, the empire struck back this week, or rather big daddy Todd did, landing a 15kg bigger daddy mulloway off the beach.

“I caught this one on Tuesday night up Stockton beach. 15kg even and 119cm long  (so close to 120cm though it's not funny!),” he reported.

Holiday joy

Five year old Harper Dryden landed a shovel nose shark at Nelson Bay that was nearly bigger than Dryden while fishing with grandad Paul Rowett. Young Dryden was pretty chuffed.

Lexi Bower of Bolton Point caught her first fish on the brand new fishing rod she got for Christmas – a beautiful 44cm flathead.

Papers please

Just a reminder that when fishing, Recreational Fishing Licences are a must and can be purchased online at www.onegov.nsw.gov.au; ​over the phone on 1300 369 365; via  Touch Corp agents who sell fishing fee receipts via EFTPOS, or at over 600 agent shop fronts including tackle shops and most Kmart stores.

To receive a plastic card (1 and 3 year fishing fees receipts only), you need to purchase or renew your fishing receipt via one of the electronic payment channels identified above. A list of all our current agents can be found on our website:https://goo.gl/HvBNyw.