Paul “Ringo” Lennon from Fish Port Stephens Estuary Charters reports cool conditions up the bay, but fish about if you’re willing to put in the work.
“The water is really cold in the estuary and that seems to have scattered the fish, but there’s been some good ones about,” Ringo said.
“Quality bream up to 40cm have been lurking around the rocks walls and oyster racks.
“We’ve seen the odd winter jew moving about from Corlette to Soldiers Point
“Tim Finch got one about 20lb (10kg) – nice little fish for winter.
“We’re seeing the odd winter flathead around if you can get a couple of nice warm days in a row.
“Plenty of tailor on the ocean beaches and a few salmon.
“Pick the high tides and head down with a few lures in the pocket to spin the beach. Sometimes you’ll get some big numbers if they school up. And there’s heaps of luderick and drummer on the rocks and around the breakwalls.
“Fish the tide change with good quality cabbage and you should have no probs getting your bag.”
There’s been some great snapper caught recently.
Adamstown Heights angler Anthony Kloczko has been doing really well out of Swansea, while up the bay way, there’s been some quality coming off Seal Rocks and surrounds.
“It is a good time of year for snapper,” Ringo observed.
“August can be a bit slow as declining water temps kick in, but the snapper always seem to fire up.”
Been a few reports of tuna in the 600 to 1000 fathom mark this week, according to Ringo.
“A few yellowfin were few caught over the weekend with fish up to 30kg and there was one reported 60kg big eye. I’ve heard of kings getting jigged off Allmark Mountain and using live baits. The odd bar cod as well.”
Local protected harbours and bays are proving to be havens for cracking big calamari.
“This time of year they breed up,” Ringo said.
“The big ones come in and the snapper and kings give them a hard time.”
Fish of the Week winner Darren Newell was singing the praises of Copeton Dam after his first ever Murray Cod mission last week.
“The son Nicholas took his old man up,” Darren reported.
“He’s been up there something like 10 times.
“Tell you what, it was cold, and the dam is down to 26 per cent.
“We fished Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and this was the only fish we got – on the Saturday morning session.
“There was a fair bit of bait around – little red fin – and you could hear the cod boofing them around the edges.
“The barometer was 1019, which I don’t know if that has anything to do with it.
“They say that ‘when the barometer’s 1020, the cod’s aplenty’. I’ll definitely be going back.”
Darren is a mad jewie fisho and reckons the Murray Cod puts up a different fight.
“The first few lunges they give you some, then you have to be careful dragging in that weight.”
When you look at the pic, you see what Darren’s talking about.
Robert Gauta, manager of Newcastle Fish Co-op, has been in Sydney this week talking to relevant ministers about matters pertaining to commercial fishing – quotas on species, making sure things remain sustainable.
A notable observation from his trawlers has been the large number of big hairtail off Newcastle at the moment.
“You usually see them getting taken by hand off the wharves around Honeysuckle, but my guys have been getting heaps of them out in about 100 metres of water – five or six mile off the coast,” Robert said.
“It’s not very common but it does happen some seasons, and it’s been going on for a couple of weeks now.
“Fish four and five foot long. They school up like a big bait ball and it’s not unusual you get half a tonne in one shot.
“They’re not a bad eating fish and we’ve been selling them at the co-op.
“You get a good fillet off the back at that size and I just pan fry mine up and it’s good.”
We’re coming towards the end of the king prawn season off Newcastle but next month may see school prawns back in swing.
“There’s a saying that goes you catch school prawns in months that contain the letter ‘r’,” Robert said.
Makes you realise how slow May, June and July are.
That’s the second wise proverb this fishing column, following Darren Newell’s “when the barometer’s 1020, the cod’s aplenty”.
If you’ve got any other ancient words of fishing wisdom, like “no run, no fun” or “if they’ve got roe, let ‘em go” send them in. Could make entertaining, and possibly educational, reading.