AFTER recent heavy rains, clear skies beckon this weekend and red-hot fishing.
Jamie Priest, from Freddy’s Fishing World, reports the flush has pushed snapper out wider off Nelson Bay, there are a lot of small kings in and around the islands off the bay and we’re starting to see a few smaller pelagics turn up on the Shelf.
‘‘The water temp is up over 22 degrees and it shouldn’t be long before the tuna turn up,’’ Jamie said.
‘‘There are kings on the shallower reefs and they’re feeding hard – lots of live bait around and easy to get.’’
Further south outside, Steve Kennedy and Dave Mitchell got a few nice trag fishing off Norah Head last Saturday.
Inside the bay, anglers are cleaning up on bream, flathead and jew.
‘‘Nothing massive on the jew front, but fish up to the 10-kilogram mark,’’ Jamie said.
Big jew on the chew
IF you’re looking for massive, get to Newcastle Harbour. In the past 10 days, as the Hunter River clears, there have been reports of big jew on the chew.
Dave Birt caught a 22-kilogram mulloway fishing with Chad Kelly on Sunday.
‘‘At the same time I was fighting the jew Chad had to pull his lines in, only to find a four-kilogram-plus flathead had taken his live yellowtail,’’ Birty said.
There was a report of a 44-kilogram jew taken off Stockton breakwall.
‘‘They’re hanging at the mouth of the harbour feeding on bait exiting the area,” Jamie said.
Billy ‘‘The Machine’’ Gillon reports a few hairtail about Newcastle breakwall on the Stockton side.
Bream have been making their way back up the Hunter River and can be found in good numbers as far up as Morpeth.
North Reef, five nautical miles off Newcastle, is holding small kingfish, good trevally and the occasional small snapper.
Lake St Clair is fishing exceptionally well, according to Jamie, who was up there on Monday and got about 40 fish between 32 centimetres and 40 centimetres.
‘‘Fish are very aggressive, taking plastics, blades and hardbodies around weed edges. Quite a lot of fish are taking surface lures as well. Best time? Afternoon,’’ Billy said.
Step to greatness
THERE are reports of lots of big flathead in Lake Macquarie. Five-year-old Bailey Bass got a 70-centimetre lizard last Sunday morning.
And there are huge numbers of bream in Salts Bay in Swansea Channel.
‘‘For best results try using small two-inch Z-Man grubs on 1/16 jigheads around the start of the run-out tide,’’ Jamie said.
Jamie also urges any angler keen to take their fishing to another level to get an electric motor on front of their boat.
‘‘They are good for manoeuvrability and stealth, and are essential for lure casting,’’ he said.
‘‘Combined with good tackle and a quality depth sounder and you will achieve greatness.’’
Small bait at Swansea
THE prawns have been running this week, mainly small, and the fish have been feeding hard.
Billy ‘‘The Machine’’ bagged a kilo of small prawns in the lake.
‘‘There’s plenty of small bait fish under Swansea bridge but the kingies just haven’t arrived yet,’’ he said.
Swansea flats has been producing good whiting in big numbers keen on soft plastics, surface lures and live worms. Jamie predicts snag areas around tributaries like Dora and Cockle creeks will become hotspots as bream and estuary perch push back upriver in the next couple of weeks.
Ben Hodson, meanwhile, caught a 95-centimetre, seven-kilogram mulloway last week on a pilchard.
Young guns to fore
BILLY is keen to get on the water for the inaugural Fishing Lake Macquarie Classic this Sunday and believes time will be on his side.
The innovative online-based event is raising money for John Hunter Children’s Hospital, and the more people who sign on, the more money for the kids.
‘‘It’s a great comp for a great cause,’’ Billy said.
‘‘I think the young guns will have the advantage for sure. The oldies will have to work out what a Facebook is first, LOL.’’
For details on how to enter this catch and release competition, contact Tony Griffiths on 0410 493 903 or tonygrifAiths1@mac.com.
Woodforths in whiting
PELICAN RSL had its Christmas weigh-in/barbecue on Sunday.
Reece and Blake Woodforth and family bagged about 40 whiting, three bream and one five-kilogram mulloway.
Robert Brown landed two jew while Don Cummings caught his bag of 10 flathead.
There’s been a few squid on the move just before dark too.
Fuel goes where?
NELSON Bay Diggers Fishing Club’s Annual Invitational Tournament held at Nelson Bay recently was a roaring success with 120 anglers from clubs from Newcastle, the Hunter, North Coast, and Sydney competing.
The catch and release action on the water was intense as fishos competed in 10 fish categories.
There were some funny incidents off the water too, according to club secretary Chris Wills.
‘‘A new member of one of our invited clubs wanted to help his boating mates out,’’ Chris reported.
‘‘He insisted on filling the boat with fuel at the service station as part of his contribution.
‘‘All was fine until one of his ship mates noticed him pumping fuel into the rod holder on the back of the boat.
‘‘Fuel was going all through the bottom of the boat.’’
There was another incident with a boat turning into the launch area of Little Beach with a rod in a rod holder and lure attached.
‘‘It caught a tree branch and trailed line all round the car park, and around other boats – first catch of the day without being in the water,’’ Chris quipped.