It's shaping up as a bonza Australia Day long weekend - blue skies, hot and sunny.
How long you make that weekend will depend on whether you throw a sickie on Monday, but we'll leave that patriotic call up to the individual. Fishing looks good though.
Wind conditions won't be too bad but anyone considering a trip outside or a fish off the rocks, will have to contend with a bit of swell, courtesy of a big system down off New Zealand.
Caution will be the key as the waves are tipped to be reasonably epic.
Arrow squid are starting to turn on in Lake Macquarie, according to Alex Schmaler-Loomes, from Fisherman's Warehouse at Marks Point.
"The Dropover is very popular this time of year," he said.
"Small jigs, 2.5g and under, is what I'd recommend.
"People eat squid or use them for jew, and there's been some great catches of mulloway this week in the lake and along the beaches, particularly at night. Beaches are fishing well for tailor too."
Alex recommends gang-hooked pillies or chrome lures to chase the tailor.
"You'll need a bit of weight - 40g-80g range - to get the cast to where you need," he said.
"Throw it out and mix up the retrieve. Going slow on the retrieve in the surf is always good as it gives them a chance to see it and eat it.
"Timewise, they seem to be about early morning this week, chasing little white bait."
Inside the lake, apart from mulloway, the feature has been whiting and bream biting in and around the shallows and sandflats.
"Been some stoinker whiting, according to my workmate Sean Griffiths," Alex said. "Fish up to 43cm.
"Tube worms have been the go."
The recent inshore marlin bite has started to move out wider this week off Newcastle.
The news is more encouraging off Port Stephens and further north, as far as pelagics in close, with blacks and stripes the predominant species.
"The Carpark is due to turn on, I'd say," Alex said.
"Beyond the marlin, inshore there's bonito about.
"Lots of rat kings around Moon Island with the odd good one mixed in.
"You'll definitely get them at Swansea Bridge on live squid.
Where to fish
As far as Australia Day weekend fishing goes, Alex is leaning towards sticking to the estuaries.
"They will fish well and offer a lot of protection from wind and swell," he said.
"I'm tipping there will be a lot of traffic too.
"But if I had to schedule a plan of attack, early morning I'd be chasing squid and having a drift for mulloway and flathead.
"During the day, get the tubies and fish light along the sandflats for whiting.
"Offshore you might be limited by the bigger swell - large trailerboats and game boats will be OK, but you'll have to weigh that up.
"The beach produces well when there's a bit of swell - pushes the fish in, but you'll need big sinkers and fresh bait. Target those low light conditions - early morning, late afternoon."
Hunter game fishing boats represented the region and their clubs with distinction at the Golden Lures Tournament which concluded at Port Macquarie last Friday.
Newcastle Port Stephens Game Fishing Club (NPSGFC) boat The Omen claimed Champion Boat Tag and Release (T&R) with 150,000 points.
Newcastle Game Fishing Club (NGFC) boats Blackout (115,000) and Sausalito II (112,500) finished fourth and fifth respectively in the same category.
Joel Abercrombie, fishing on The Omen, took out Champion Male Angler T&R ahead of runner-up Michael Giles, on Blackout. Joel also recorded the highest number of marlin (12).
NPSGFC angler Caron Collins, fishing on Weekend Detention, won Champion Female Angler with 90,031 points.
Rhys Jolly (Sausalito II, NGFC, 75,000 points) was runner-up in the Junior Angler T&R division while Lake Macquarie Game Fishing Club (LMGFC) member Nate Thornton, fishing on Elmad, won Champion Small Fry Angler T&R.
White Dog (NPSGFC 8500) was third in the blue marlin tag and release category.
No Excuse (NPSGFC) won Heaviest Shark Capture over 150kg with a 335.8kg tiger Shark. No Excuse also won the Most Meritorious Capture division with 4571.42 points.
Elliot Guyer, fishing on No Excuse, was Champion Angler Capture, while fellow NPSGFC member Logan Banek, on Reel Issues, won Champion Capture Small Fry.
A total of 59 boats and nearly 250 anglers contested the event, which is the annual pre-cursor to the local Hunter coast game-fishing calendar. Nearly 200 marlin were tagged and released, including 176 black marlin, seven blues and 15 striped.