Recent rain will make things interesting for anglers competing in the Trailer Boat Tournament at Nelson Bay this weekend.
The annual family friendly fish fest attracts big numbers to the area, and there are reasons to be optimistic, and not just because it looks like the sun is going to shine Saturday and Sunday.
“The bay will dirty up which will make it interesting fishing the estuary,” Brent “Hammer” Hancock, from Tackle World Port Stephens said.
“I’m predicting the lower estuary will be good for flathead: the short cut at Tea Gardens is always a good spot after rain, lots of big lizards. Jimmy’s Beach and Barnes Rock too.
“The other main target will be the jew around places like Fame Cove, Soldiers Point and even Nelson Bay breakwall.
“There was big rain up the Myall and Karuah systems and it’s going to push down over the next couple of day.
“The entrance to any of the rivers will be hot spots.”
Rusty Hyland got onto a few mulloway through the week with fish up to 15kg, fishing the change of tide with live baits.
As the southerly abates anglers will have a decent shot at fishing outside, and we should see snapper moving in close for a feed.
The hope will be that the big blow midweek has turned the water over after a strong nor-easter shut down what has been a fantastic inshore marlin bite over the last couple of weeks.
“I headed out there last Monday and got nine black from 10 hook-ups off the Big Gibber,” Hammer said.
“Then the nor-easter turned the water over and made it go cold. Hopefully the southerly will re-turn it and get some warmer water back.”
In the lead-up there had been reports of cobia and long tail mixing in with marlin of all persuasion.
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The recent flush of freshwater is going to pose similar conditions for anglers contesting the NSW District Anglers Association Estuary championships in Lake Macquarie this weekend.
There’s been some great reports of big tailor about, mixing in with flathead, bream and whiting.
With any luck the jew will be on the chew too.
Patrick Nunn and Justin Worley brought home 14 tailor between them last weekend fishing up around Carey Bay.
Decent fish up to 1.2kg, all caught on the troll in the deep throwing chromes.
“There’s been a lot of bream around too but the funny thing is they have been catching them at night,” Jason said. “Similar thing with jew, on lures.
“Still a few whiting around although it’s getting late in the season and a lot of them have moved out onto the beaches, like the flathead.
“I hope the fishos competing in the state championships remain loyal to the catch and release tagging program we have going with the Flathead Trophy Fishery here in the lake.”
There’s been a few jew getting caught in the lake of an evening on lures but the real interest for Newcastle mulloway and prawn lovers is how much water comes down the Hunter River
“We won’t know for a couple of days but a bit of fresh which will reinvigorate the jew fishing, and it might open the cage on the Hunter River prawns, right on Easter,” Jason said.
“They have been right up the river beyond Morpeth for months now, and a flush might bring them down for Easter.”
Did someone say “yellowfin fever”? Too right they did.
Gary Hoff, fishing on Screamin’ Hoff, had a tremendous day last weekend, catching four amidst a range of other pelagics
Paul Hogg got some too, as did and Steve Dial on Redemption, who also tagged a 123kg marlin and 429kg tiger.
“The big news is the yellowfin with fish up to 60kg,” Jason said.
“My advice is that if anglers push wider they have a chance to catch yellowfin in a good way this weekend. On top of that they will be in blue marlin territory.”
The current out wider is pouring down the coast, jacking out to sea off Port Stephens. Within it the water is eddying and holding lots of fish.
“Everyone gets yellowfin fever when it’s like this,” Jason said.
In closer to shore the water temps have been hovering around a balmy 23 degrees and quite aqua in colour.
Anglers have been getting lots of big bonito, up to 4kg, trag, jew and a few longtails.
“I heard the first official report of a cobia this week which was estimated at around 15kg,” Jason said.
“I’ve been saying it’s only a matter of time before we saw these northern water species heading down because that’s deadset cobia water out there.”
The Swansea FAD is no more. Whether it was run over or broke away, no one’s sure. The one thing people do know is it’s gone which is a shame because its a magnet for dolphin fish.