Poor weather and measures to guard against coronavirus have wreaked havoc on the competition fishing scene.
Last Saturday's Marlin Skins Shootout at Central Coast Game Fishing Club was postponed in the interest of competitor safety because of predicted rough weather. People who had entered could gain a refund or wait for the potential new date for the one-day tournament.
The three-day Twin Rivers Fishing Tournament, due to start today, was also cancelled but this time because of the coronavirus.
Hosted by the Junction Inn Fishing Club at Raymond Terrace, the event was to be contested from the weir on the Williams River and from the Junction of the Paterson and Hunter Rivers down to the breakwalls in Newcastle Harbour.
However, club president Peter Hughes said concerns over the potential numbers gathering at the event's presentation and weigh-in, combined with a desire to deliver value to sponsors, led to the decision to cancel this week.
To help combat the spread of coronavirus, the federal government has this week banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor events with 500, which left contest organisers with little choice.
"We didn't know how many people were going to turn up at the hotel for the weigh-in and we weren't getting the people signing up for it anyway," Hughes said.
"We had about $8000 worth of cash and prizes pledged to us and I like to give our sponsors some bang for their buck, so to run it for 30 or 40 people when normally we get 135 on average, I just didn't think it was socially responsible or fair to the sponsors, so we made the call to just give it a miss this year."
Hughes said the event may be rescheduled for later this year but it was likely to be abandoned for 2020 given the coronavirus restrictions were estimated to continue for several months.
The government guidelines also have the Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club's Big Fish Bonanza on March 28-29 under serious threat. The event was rescheduled because of rough weather in February.
LMGFC was set to meet and discuss the tournament on Monday but a decision to cancel the event could come sooner. If the event is cancelled, the club said all entries will be fully refunded.
The Broken Bay Game Fishing Club's invitational tournament set down for this weekend was also cancelled this week.
One contest that did get on before the chaos was the East Coast Classic, hosted by Newcastle Game Fishing Club on March 7-8.
While the competition side of angling is taking a hit because of the coronavirus, recreational fishing - and the benefits it offers - is likely to become even more important.
And Jason "One For" Nunn, from Fisherman's Warehouse Marks Point, believes the time is right to catch a wide variety of fish for fun and food.
"There's going to be a lot of people on semi-permanent holiday and they won't have the funds to do many things, but fishing is one of those few things that they will be able to do," Nunn said.
"And you can go out all day and fish and come back with a feed."
Good weather for fishing is forecast up until Monday and Nunn said there were plenty of options for anglers.
He said Lake Macquarie was fishing very well for squid, with small squid jigs working the best.
Good reports of tailor were also coming in from places like Pulbah Island and local beaches, and he said those numbers were set to increase in the coming weeks.
Flathead, which are on the move out of estuaries, were another highlight, with several reports of catches in the 55-70 centimetre range in and around Lake Macquarie.
He said there were beautiful bream in the estuary systems and those doing well were fishing into the evenings.
"Those numbers will build because there's an immense amount of mullet around at the moment," Nunn said.
"I was down at Nords Wharf yesterday and there were mullet jumping there and at the back of Swansea flats. They are really getting flighty, so over these next few weeks, they will build and so will the bream."
He said reports also keep rolling in of nice jew catches in the Hunter River and off the beaches.
"The beauty of it is you can get a few squid out of the Lake in the morning, then head over to the beaches and fish with them into the evening, and you'd be unlucky not to get a mulloway because there's plenty about," he said.
Looking to offshore chances with better weather coming, he said marlin, snapper, tailor, bonito, flathead and trag were all on offer. Trag and tailor were highlights of fishing on the inshore reefs.
"When you see trag and tailor out there, that's a sure sign that autumn is upon us," he said.