INCREASING catches of whiting have been the highlight close to land as offshore fishing continues to be a hit and mostly miss affair.
Jason “One For” Nunn, from Fisherman’s Warehouse, Marks Point, said the December prawn run was coming to an end and bream continued to be a feature, but whiting appeared to be taking over as the best catches around.
“We’re still in the aftermath of the prawn run, but it’s about to fade out,” Nunn said.
“I’ve only had a few reports. A few guys went out the other night and got a couple of kilos of prawns but the way tube worms have been walking out the door, everyone appears to be catching whiting.
“I had a fella come in the other day who said he caught one around 48 centimetres, and that’s a big whiting.
“Whiting seems to be kicking into gear and there’s still plenty of bream about.”
Chris “Man” Drake, from Tackle World Port Stephens, said it was a similar story out his way.
“The whiting have been good, particularly the beaches now that the water has warmed up, they’ve come on really well,” Drake said.
“There’s been a couple of good jew fish, up around that 15-16 kilo mark coming off the rockwalls here in the marinas. And there’s been plenty of rat kingies as well down there this week.
“Flathead have still been good and there's been some good school jew up around the Karuah Bridge as well
“The boys have been getting a few bass up here in the ponds and there’s plenty of squid around at the moment as well out across the weed flats.”
Nunn said the estuaries were still firing for flathead, a few jew fish, and blue swimmer crabs were also prominent in reports.
“There’s quite a few blue crabs getting caught, but this time of the year, the closer we get to Christmas, the more females are going to be about,” he said.
OFF THE MARK
Offshore conditions continue to tease game-fishing hopefuls.
Drake said there was a report of a striped marlin hooked at Seal Rocks this week but not much else.
“The water out wide on the shelf is looking really good for marlin, it’s blue and there’s bait, but no one has seen many fish yet,” he said.
“There’s plenty of trag about off the usual spots like the Gibber and the 21.”
Nunn had similar reports of trag and had experienced frustration out on the shelf last Sunday.
“There’s been a lot suddenly turn up,” he said.
“That is one thing that is happening offshore. There’s not a lot else but there’s a lot of trag along the coast.
“Game fishing wise, we’re just waiting.
“We had a really good fish in the spread last Sunday and three times we got them up in the pattern, big fish, but we just couldn’t get them to go on.
“We saw a couple of marlin, we nearly ran over a tiger shark, we saw a mako bust the surface and we saw white pilot whales and sunfish.
“We saw everything known to man but nothing actually jumped on the line and pulled it off.
“Offshore there’s been flathead, a few reddies if they do some hard burleying, and a few kings, but it has been a bit flat.”
BONITO OR BUST?
Nunn said one head-scratcher was the lack of bonito coming in.
“This time of the year, normally there would be a lot of bonito around with the water temperature up around 20 degrees on the inshore, but there’s none around at all,” he said.
“It’s quite unusual not to see some filter on down the coast.”
Decent king fish are still about as Tyler Drake, secretary of Newcastle Neptunes spearfishing club, found out this week.
“My brother shot a nice 18-kilo king fish up at Broughton Island during the week,” Chris Drake said.
DADDY OF A CATCH
Fish of the week winner Alex Powell helped make her Dad’s 60th birthday a memorable one when she reeled in a whopping first snapper on Saturday.
The Adamstown woman caught a six-kilogram, 82-centimetre snapper off Broughton Island while on a charter fishing trip that was a gift for her father, David Powell.
David, an experienced fisherman, had some decent catches but Alex stole the spotlight, with a little help from Dad.
“I was definitely happy with it,” Alex said.
“We went out on a charter for my dad’s 60th birthday, so there was five of us and a few other people.
“He caught a few trag but that snapper was the best fish of the day.
“He had to actually help me reel it in though because it was too much for me.”
David Wisemantel was another celebrating a big catch this week. He snared a 80-centimetre mulloway between the wood piers under the Stockton Bridge.
“I caught it on six-pound line so it was a patient battle but very rewarding,” he said.
“It was caught using a poddy mullet as bait on a 1/0 long shank hook. We were actually targeting flathead at the time. Heck of a by-catch!”