Fishing: Whiting biting and offshore fishing warming up

IT’S starting to warm up outside – and not just with the weather.

FISH OF THE WEEK: Conner Moore wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this PB flathead of 69 centimetres caught in the Hunter River on beach worm.

FISH OF THE WEEK: Conner Moore wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this PB flathead of 69 centimetres caught in the Hunter River on beach worm.

Offshore fishing has been hit and miss because of cold water temperatures and northerly winds recently but Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackle World Port Stephens, said conditions had improved in the past week. 

“The water has warmed up a bit and there has been some nice snapper,” Hancock said.

“We had some anglers up from Sydney this week and we sent them over to the northern side of Fingal Island, and they got nice fish up to 85 centimetres, just drifting a burly trail.

“There’s some nice trag on the reefs as well. That water temp spiked up a bit and hopefully these northerlies don’t hurt it too much.”

Further out, Hancock said water temperatures on the shelf had hit 23.5 degrees and “as long as northerly winds don’t turn it over, it should be good”.

“There were a couple more striped marlin caught on the shelf,” he said.

“Lone Wolf have caught four or five so far this week and local boat, Glaucus, they released a black marlin last weekend and some other boats caught stripes.

“The early season has been good this year so let’s hope it keeps going.”

Geoff Ruse, from Freddy's Fishing World at Broadmeadow, said there was reward for effort chasing snapper.

“It’s been a bit cold outside and some of the seas have been up, so unless people are willing to take that on, it's going to be tough,” Ruse said. “But, on the other hand, snapper fishing is going to be good for those who do want to brave it. I know there’s been a few good reds caught. They like the big seas, the big burly machine.”


A safer bet, Ruse said, was chasing bass in Glenbawn Dam and Lake St Clair.

“The bass fisherman have been cleaning up on TM 60s, we’ve also got football jigs which have been popular up there as well,” he said.

“Some guys are saying over a weekend that they are getting 50 plus.”

He said popper lures, used early morning and late afternoon, were also working well.


While waiting for the outside to fire up, whiting appears to be the pick of the targets in protected area like Lake Macquarie and estuaries all around the region.

Hancock said Nelson Bay was “fishing really for whiting”.

“There’s solid sand whiting in any of the shallow flats,” he said.

“Live tube worms are doing the deal there and there’s been some nice fish up around 40 centimetres, which is really good.

“There’s reports of solid flatheads this week as well and there was one out of Tilligerry Creek that was 91 centimetres, caught on a plastic.”

Shannon Malone, from Fisherman’s Warehouse, Marks Point, said flathead reports out his way were “nothing to write home about”, but whiting and bream were firing.

“There’s been some decent reports of bream and whiting coming out of the Lake and some off the beach,” Malone said. “Up around the 40-centimetre mark, so there’s some good quality fish.”

Ruse, too, touched on the abundance of whiting.

“Offshore hasn’t been great but in the Lake and the Hunter, it’s been quite good,” Ruse said. “The guys who are chasing whiting are cleaning up on lures like the Bassday Sugarpens, OSP Bent Minnows and the Sammy 65s.”


The wait is still on for best of the Lake Macquarie prawn run into Christmas.

“We’re just hoping it is a decent one because last month’s wasn’t that great,” Malone said. “I went for a look on Tuesday night and got a few, maybe half a kilo in a couple of hours. They are not flowing like they should just yet. We really do need a bit of rain to push a few out of the upper reaches. A bit of rain and a southerly would do wonders.

“But there seems to be plenty of schoolies and if you put the time in, you’ll get enough for a feed or some bait.”

Malone said he'd also had some success chasing squid this week.

”If you’re fishing or throwing plastics, just have a jig on a rod ready to go, because squid will more than likely follow up your bait or your lure. If you’ve got one ready to go, you’ll get one for sure,” he said.


As we come to the end of 2017, the question has been asked: ‘Where’s Bruce?’

Hardened Lake Macquarie fishos had dubbed the biggest great white shark in the region, Bruce. Malone said the shark was “every bit of five metres” but he had not sighted him in a long time.

“He must have moved on,” Malone said. “I haven’t seen him this year. I saw him four times last year. I didn’t think he would hang around because he's such a big animal, that one anyway. There’s not enough food to maintain him.”