King tides, swell time

The tide is high and the fishing is easy, according to Jason “One For” Nunn, from Fishermans Warehouse at Marks Point.

FISH OF THE WEEK: Ryan Thoroughgood wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this snapper hooked off Swansea this week.

FISH OF THE WEEK: Ryan Thoroughgood wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this snapper hooked off Swansea this week.

The January “super moon” saw tides peak in Lake Macquarie at 2.11 metres on Wednesday.

Each day this week tides up and down the coast have pushed huge amounts of water in and out of estuaries.bearing out the old adage “no fun without the run’’.

”There has been an incredible volume of water moving and that fires up our estuaries,” Jason said.

“These big tides always coincide with the full moon.

“It’s no different to the big tides in June and July except maybe no one but the fishos noticed them because they were all asleep in bed.”

Flathead feature

Anglers have been catching, and hopefully releasing a lot of big flathead in the lake.

It’s a critical time of the breeding cycle with females typically “nesting” with upwards of half a dozen males this time of year and fully roe-ed up.

“Lake Macquarie is a designated Flathead Trophy Fishing Area and the program is getting a lot of momentum,” Jason said, referring to the Fisheries intiative.

“It’s important to protect the big females at this time of year as they are laying millions of eggs.

“As part of the Trophy Flathead program, anglers are encouraged to release all flathead over 70cm  and if they catch one that has been tagged (pink tag on the second dorsal fin), to record the tag number, measure the fish, note the location and pass on the information to fisheries.”

Go shallow

The big tides have been inundating areas not used to water (including a few cafes up Tea Gardens way, and the odd boat ramp car park). As a result, bream and flathead have been pushing up into shallower areas usually inaccessible chasing food.

“There have been some magnificent bream caught on high tide in these areas,” Jason said.

“Similarly lots of whiting getting caught on worms and surface lures, and flathead responding to  surface lures too, as they push up into shallow waters chasing poddy mullet

“It’s been impressive.

“We’ve seen good numbers of  mulloway up to 80cm and 90cm caught on this moon cycle too and we’re starting to see patches of squid turn up.”

Prawn talk

As the moon subsides attention will turn to the next prawn run, which typically triggers seven to 10 days after the full moon.

December’s run was poor due to lack of rain, but with time running out for the prawns to make a move, hopes are high for January.

Current affairs

Water movement is the talk offshore too, with an unusual east-west current bucking the normal “downhill” north-to-south trajectory.  

“Anglers fishing The Farm this week reported casting east and sinkers pulling due west,” Jason said.

“The upshot is   warmer water of exceptional clarity being pushed in close.

“The water is very clear because we’ve had no rain and so there’s been no run-off.”.

“This clarity can hinder shallow water fishing as the fish will tend to shut down during the day so best to hit it early and late, or head out wider.

“There is no surer sign that summer is hear than lots of trag,” Jason said.

“It indicates water temps are consistent top to bottom in close.

“There are heaps of souries on The farm, lots of flying fishing on inshore reefs, bonito, trag, reds, flathead and few kings.” 

“It won’t be long before we see black marlin about.

“There are already reports of blacks up at South West Rocks and Port Macquarie.

“We’ve already seen a few stripes and blues, and some really good dolphin fish from the The Farm out to the Shelf.

“Last year all the stripes got pushed south by the current and we missed out.

“This year it is really augering well in the lead-up to the traditional gamefishing tournaments of late January and February.”

Darting about

Beaches are firing for whiting and dart and strangely enough, there’s still a few salmon about and a very nice run of tailor.  

“Anglers have been getting the whiting off the sand and along the breakwaters,” Jason said.

“The dart have been good size, as have the tailor which have pushed into the lake as well – fighting fish up to 55cm.”

Rules are rules

Holiday makers chasing crabs should be mindful that regulations vary from waterway to waterway.

For example, in Lake Macquarie you can only use witches hats, whereas in Port Stephens, witches hats are illegal.

If unsure, contact local fisheries to verify the rules.

You’d hate the sweet taste of blue swimmers for lunch being tainted by a fine.