KING tides, cold water and northerly winds have added up to a frustrating time for Hunter anglers over the past week.
However, help – in the form of southerlies on late Friday and through Saturday – is on the way.
Despite some promising signs, game-fishing prospects have been tempered by cold water, as Brent "Hammer" Hancock from Tackle World Port Stephens discovered.
“The offshore fishing over the past week has been very hit and miss because there’s pretty cold water out there at the moment,” Hancock said.
“We had a pretty good marlin bite and then I went out on Sunday and, typical, they were catching them all week and then I go out there and the water was 20 degrees on the shelf.
“We did raise one striped marlin. The boys and girls on a boat called Gunrunner managed to switch a striped marlin.
“The water over the edge of the shelf, at about 1000 fathoms, it looked a little bit better. The current was pushing towards the west, so hopefully that better water is pushed in on the shelf.
“There was plenty of bait there. It’s a ticking time bomb out there, we just need a bit better water and the fish to push in again and it will be on again.”
Jason "One For” Nunn, from Fishermans Warehouse, Marks Point, said hopes were high for better results.
“I think you need to go wider and there’s a few boys keen to get out to the shelf on Sunday and the forecast looks good,” he said. “There’s some warmer water moving down and the reports are there’s a few blues around, and a few were lost on the weekend.
“It’s all moving towards game fishing now, we just need the water to roll over a bit.”
NOT SO SUPER
Monday’s super full moon brought with it consistent high tides over two metres and tough times for fishos, especially on the inshore reefs and beaches.
“Those big tides, I don’t like them,” Hancock said.
“There’s a lot of water movement and the water on the inshore reefs has gone pretty cold. It’s only about 16 degrees, so it has shut the fishing down a little bit.”
Despite that, Hancock said there were reports of snapper up to three kilograms caught in the shallows at Fingal, kingfish catches off the breakwall at Nelson Bay and in the back half of the Bay towards Taylors Beach and that flatheads were firing in the flats around Karuah.
“Inside the bay has probably been the pick of it all because the colder water in the ocean has shut the beaches down a bit,” he said.
“The water in the bay is still pretty warm so it’s been fishing quite well.”
The highlight report came from Mick Zoricic.
“He nailed a really nice tailor off Fingal Beach this week, up around 80 centimetres, which is a cracker,” Hancock said.
Nunn said whiting were still biting on the beaches and higher water temps should lead to even more.
“I can see improvement in water colour the last couple of days, with more bluey green than the brown, so the more wind we can get from the south the better our situation will be,” he said.
IN FROM THE COLD
Whiting, bream, flathead and jew fish have been biting in the protected, warmer corners of Lake Macquarie.
And Nunn said the key to success was fishing on the run-out tide.
“The southern end and fringes of the Lake warm up quickly once the tide turns and starts to move out," he said.
“We get the blended water out and the warmer water back that encourages the fish to bite.
“There’s some beautiful bream and whiting about and the highlight this week will be the December prawn run and that will be the trigger for fishing into Christmas. That should start around Monday night onwards.
“There’s plenty of nice flathead around through all the shallows, some beautiful bream and cracking whiting on surface lures, which will increase with the prawn run.
“There’s been a few jew in the Lake, and nice reports of mulloway and flathead in the harbour, but you just need to fish the run-out tide.”
The quality and quantity of bream in the Lake, especially around Swansea Bridge, was plain to see on the weekend.
The ABT bream grand final was held in Lake Macquarie and Graham Franklin powered to victory with a 15.46kg total from his bag limit of 15 fish caught over three days of competition.
Nunn said Franklin took up “pole position” at Swansea Bridge each day and reaped the rewards.
“The guy who won it, won it fishing the bridge for three days, just waiting for the tide to turn and the first of the run-out tide,” he said.
“He was casting Cranka Crabs into the bridge structure and there were some incredible catches.
“That’s good fishing to average over a kilo.”