With Xmas just around the corner, the Forster/Tuncurry area is really starting to buzz. The towns are super busy with holiday makers and locals keen to get out and about, our waterways too are becoming increasingly busy both above and below the water.
The bulk of the Flathead have now well and truly moved all the way down out of the rivers and settled within the first third or so of the Estuary. These summer favourites can be found just about anywhere between the mouth of the estuary and Wallis Island with places such as ‘The Cut’, ‘The Paddock’, ‘Lanis’ and the bridge fishing particularly good. Soft plastics and vibes are accounting for the majority of fish however they are also taking baits of Pilchard, Whitebait, Mullet and Herring for those wishing to soak a bait. If you are keen on chasing that once in a lifetime beast, get up in the shallows on a high tide and throw some big surface, sub surface or shallow running lures about, you will be amazed at how many big fish sit in ankle deep water waiting for an easy meal!
Sand Whiting have barely missed a beat over the past month or so. The high tides are beautiful and clear and the sand flats are teeming with life. Surface lures are the most effective way to chase these fish, particularly the bigger models, however you will also find plenty if you fish the shallows and drop offs with baits of Beach Worm, Yabby or Prawn. The estuary is full of Prawns at the moment, if you scoop a handful of prawns and keep them alive for the next day (or send them out as soon as you get them) you are almost guaranteed to get a bag full of large Whiting, they absolutely love a live prawn.
The local Trumpeter Whiting can be somewhat temperamental this month, there is always enough fish about to get a feed in December but you may have to work for them and possibly hunt about to find the schools. If you are struggling to find them in the usual spots, don’t be afraid to have a look at the deeper channels closer to the mouth of the river as the schools will often move down a bit this month.
The local beaches are still fishing well for Whiting and Bream, the north end of 9 Mile Beach is producing some particularly nice fish along with the odd Tailor. It may well be worth trying for a Flathead down around the rock walls as well, we often see a lot of them down on the beach near the mouth of the river over the summer months, especially after we have had a bit of rain. School Mulloway up to 10kg or so have been fairly common over the last couple of months which is a great sign, we need to look after these amazing fish to ensure that they will be about for our future generations, please only take what you need.
December can be a surprisingly productive month on the stones if we get some unsettled conditions. There can be some red hot Summer Drummer fishing to be had during periods of strong winds and/or swell as these cave dwelling brutes fire up and feed hard on all of the dislodged morsels that float about in the washes. When conditions are calm there is a real possibility of running into a large Kingfish or early season Cobia, any kelp areas are also worth prospecting with a Squid Jig and will nearly always produce some nice Calamari.
Getting out for a fish has been a little tricky due to the wind but there has been the odd window of calm weather and those that have managed to sneak out have found plenty of fish. The reef fish are fishing best out in 40-80m, anglers that have hit the reefs behind the marine park off Cape Hawke have done particularly well with nice mixed bags of Snapper, Pearl Perch, Teraglin and Flathead all coming back to the ramp. Unfortunately the shallows are not holding any real numbers of fish, however this can change literally overnight and some of my best shallow water sessions have come on hot windy days close to Xmas!
For the game fishing guys things are looking very promising. There are loads of nice Mahi Mahi floating about out there and I have received plenty of reported sightings of free swimming and free jumping Marlin getting about, there has also been a couple of fish caught not too far from here so it’s only a matter of time before the local boats will be getting amongst them!