Ah, how sweet it is! With summer now just around the corner, things are starting to look up for anglers. Although the fish are on the chew all year round, many anglers just can’t get the motivation levels high enough to hit the water during the cooler months. The good news is that there are no more excuses, with the warm waters and nice daytime temps not far away. The other good news is that the red-hot fishing action that comes with summer is also not far off, and already things are looking promising.
The offshore season will, as always, depend on the east coast currents. Fingers crossed we get the good currents and the same hot action that last summer provided. Some days the marlin bite was hard to believe! We can be fortunate some seasons and see regular marlin captures only a few kilometres from the coast. Generally, anglers looking to work areas to the north such as The Car Park off Port Stephens will elect to slow troll live baits around the concentration of baitfish in the area. A general rule is to have one unweighted targeting the top part of the water column, and another set deep, with a breakaway lead to work the deeper parts of the bait balls. Anglers fishing grounds closer to Swansea itself usually work a spread of skirted game lures.
Along with marlin, there is always a good chance of scoring a feed of fresh mahimahi, which no game angler will pass up on. You will often find the smaller fish around the Fisheries FADs, and the larger ones will generally come as by-catch on the marlin lures when you least expect it. During summer it’s important to keep an eye out for any floating items in the ocean, as you could strike it lucky. If you do spot anything, be sure to give it the once over and troll close by it to see if there are any larger fish hanging off it as they often do. Bear in mind that some days they won’t take anything other than a live bait, so before you head offshore it pays to load the live well with livies.
Shark anglers are also starting to get the action they’re looking for. As the currents get moving, so do the sharks. Crews are starting to encounter some good fish wide offshore. Plenty of effort and dedication is put in, that’s for sure – but these anglers don’t mind when they get rewarded with sharks weighing many hundreds of kilos. I’m sure this season will be no different from the last, and with luck the crews will score some more solid fish for their efforts.
Kingfish numbers are also on the improve on the inshore grounds. There are also a few good bonito in the mix to spice things up a little. Micro-jigging inshore reefs and live baiting is scoring the results so far, and these captures should only improve as summer moves in.
Back into calmer waters, and anglers fishing Lake Macquarie are not missing out on the action. There have been fantastic numbers of mulloway coming from the lake. Lure anglers are scoring good numbers, but it’s the anglers soaking live baits after dark that are scoring some great numbers of mulloway. Most fish are in the 80-90cm range, and with so many around it’s great to keep one or two for the table and pop the others back to grow to that magical metre mark.
Bream anglers are also in luck, as the bream fishing has been pretty good of late, and it’s sure to get better as the weather warms. The flats are starting to produce on occasions, providing some fantastic and fun fishing. Small hardbody lures are the go, and shallow dive models are your best bet. I find small lures that weigh around 3g are good to cast. Remember that bream love hitting a lure on the pause, so be sure to mix it up with your style of retrieve.
Colour choice for lure anglers is another topic altogether. It all comes down to personal preference. I love brown, olives and other types of green coloured lures. I also love hitting the flats when there is heavy cloud cover, and during these periods I love throwing bright green hardbody lures for the bream over the flats. It’s a deadly approach and often underrated by many anglers.
Flathead numbers have made a good comeback. Many fish are now moving up into warmer, shallower waters and you should have no problems scoring a few fresh fillets for the dinner table. I am still finding good fish in the deeper waters, but have certainly noticed a big increase in the number of flathead I’m getting as by-catch when I’m targeting bream in the shallows.
As we move through spring and into summer, the whiting should also start to fire up for anglers in the lake. They are a great little fighting fish, good on the plate and provide hours of fun for the kids. Small longshank hooks with small pieces of peeled prawn work well, and live worms are another bait that’s hard to go past.
Lure anglers love throwing poppers and other small surface lures at these fast-moving whiting, and you will generally find good numbers of whiting over the shallows in similar areas to the bream. You will be better off hitting more of the sand flats though for better results, and small clear poppers are often very effective on these fish.
Rock anglers are out and about enjoying the slowly warming weather. Some locals have been reporting some reasonable kingfish from the rocks. Numbers are thin at the moment, but these should increase as water warms up. High speed spinning from the stones is the most common approach, although floating out a live bait under a balloon will often score a good fish. Please keep an eye on weather conditions and stay out of harm’s way while you’re out there enjoying the warm waters that are hopefully heading our way!Reads: 822