Shallows are not to sneeze at

HOOKED: Rory Potter, of Merewether, took this 6kg frigate mackerel while fishing for snapper. Rory was only using 15-pound line at the time and the fish dragged Old Dog (his boat, pictured in the background) around for half an hour.
HOOKED: Rory Potter, of Merewether, took this 6kg frigate mackerel while fishing for snapper. Rory was only using 15-pound line at the time and the fish dragged Old Dog (his boat, pictured in the background) around for half an hour.

Graham ‘‘Duff’’ Duffy, from Salamander Bait and Tackle, was one cool customer yesterday as he reported on the Thredbo-like conditions that have descended on local waters and look set to chill out the fishing scene this weekend.

Duff quickly dismissed suggestions he may have the flu, explaining his hoarseness in terms of ‘‘too many smokes and not enough rum’’.

Nonetheless, he reported a few boys had braved the freezing conditions off Broughton this week and hooked snapper up to 6kg.

Noel Martin was one, who worked local reef Jim’s Leap with success.

‘‘The shallows are fishing pretty good given the conditions,’’ Duff said.

‘‘They’re also getting a few snapper off the rocks around Boat Harbour, and both breakwalls in the bay [the Anchorage and d’Albora Marina].

‘‘The water temp is dropping a bit, and they’re moving in closer to spawn.

‘‘The big ones have come in, especially after the big seas, to chase urchins and things smashed up on the rocks.’’

Worm a way in

WINTER bream are lighting up local beaches and estuaries.

A mate of Duff’s called ‘‘Snowy’’ got eight off Stockton on Wednesday night, and three whiting.

Snowy is old-school, harvesting worms off the beach before chasing his bream, which is not a bad effort given how cold and windy it’s been.

Time to rock it

DUFF reported a few jew still hanging around the Port Stephens estuary, particularly around Middle Island and Soldiers Point, where fish up to 10kg have been caught on livies and Jerk Shads.

‘‘Still a lot of salmon holed up inside the bay too,’’ he added. ‘‘They’ve been getting them on light lures when chasing bream.’’

Rock-hoppers have been getting a few kingfish keepers off perches south of Fingal.

In fact, you could do worse in these conditions than shelter from the cool westerlies on rock shelves this weekend and chase kingies or drummer.

Bream still eager

‘‘JUMPIN’’ Johnny Frith, from Fisherman’s Warehouse, reports that salmon remain rampant in Lake Macquarie and Swansea Channel.

Encouragingly, Johnny had two customers on Wednesday night who caught tailor in ‘‘bag limit proportions’’ to 1.5kg in the lake. The bite came on at dusk and continued for about an hour.

Luderick have been prolific along the breakwalls.

Johnny enjoyed a productive bream session with Tony Lethbridge, who took him to his secret location off Shingle Splitters in the lake.

‘‘For once he didn’t let me down,’’ Johnny said, after bagging 20-plus fish to 900g.

‘‘Salted bonito did the trick.’’

In further evidence of waters brimming with bream, Ben Avis, of Caves Beach, weighed a 1.78kg monster caught off Gwandalan Bowling Club jetty on Monday night.

Flathead fishos are still doing all right.

Tony Bass has been getting four to six fish a trip, with the odd jew and squire thrown in, working areas around Point Wolstoncroft and Pulbah Island.

Johnny marvelled at the number of times he’d heard of guys chasing flathead who’ve ended up with jew lately.

Whiting have been a little quiet in the lake, but the ones they’ve been getting have been big.

Good hunting, kids

LISTENING to Duff discuss his mate Snowy and his preference for getting his own worms reminded me of a conversation I had the other day about ‘‘food chain fishing’’.

It’s not that complicated, in fact it’s pretty time-honoured.

The basic idea is that you source your own bait to catch something bigger, that you then use to catch something bigger still.

It seems pretty obvious, but in these busy modern times, it can get obscured.

Not only is it a great way to catch fish, it’s also a great way to bond with the kids and Mother Nature.

You might drag a bag full of fish head along the beach and catch sand worms.

Or you might do the ‘‘pippy pippy shake’’ on the beach.

Or head down to the sand flats at low tide to pump nippers.

Or set a coke bottle with some bread in it to catch poddy mullet.

Then you use this bait to catch small fish which you then use to go after bigger fish like flathead, jew or tailor.

It’s a great family activity.

Kids love it when you pull something live out of the sand, and they love it even more when you catch something with it.

It’s something my dad did with me and it illustrated brilliantly the concept of ‘‘quality time’’, even if we didn’t always catch something.