Chasing flathead and whiting around an estuary system either for a fresh feed of fish or to simply satisfy the hunting urge is where it all starts for a lot of fishos. Finding a waterway that fishes well all year round for bread and butter species and still has an X factor – the chance to tangle with a trophy mulloway or rampaging kingfish - is difficult to find.

Forster and Tuncurry are two vibrant towns located on the amazing Barrington Coast, situated either side of the main channel that fills and drains Wallis Lake.

The lake expands west and south with plenty of fishing options; the technically minded can fish for whiting on surface poppers over the sandflats, or there’s always the option to cruise around enjoying the scenery and pull a few crab traps for a tasty feed of blue swimmers.

Michael Guest Fishing

Bream are abundant right throughout the system but hold in the biggest numbers around the oyster leases. Speaking of oysters if you are a fan of these delicate shellfish then you’re definitely in the right place.

Flathead renowned for their exceptional eating qualities are plentiful both in the lake and throughout the channel. It is great to see big breeding females held up for a quick photo before they swim off to challenge another angler on another day. The popularity of catch and release fishing has increased over the last couple of decades and the Forster area is home to some of the biggest flathead in the country.

The Forster area is home to some of the biggest flathead in the country.

A short boat ride from the launch ramp gives first time boaties a look at the mouth of the channel and the coastal bar. All NSW coastal bars require a safety first approach and this one is no different. Marine Rescue NSW are right there for all the latest weather information along with helpful advice.

Once offshore there is a myriad of bait options from slimy mackerel, yellowtail, pike and my favourite, squid. They all make fantastic live bait for the two main target predators, mulloway and kingfish which hunt the mouth of the waterway. Whether you are fishing from the rock walls or boat-based mulloway and kingfish are at the top of the list.

I like the last of the runout tide for mulloway using live yellowtail for bait and a simple two hook rig which allows the yakka to dance around close to the bottom. Fishing around a tide change late in the afternoon and into the evening is prime time.

Kingfish rate as one of the toughest, dirtiest fighting fish in the ocean and they are seriously great fun to catch. A cool looking character, sporting an all Aussie green and gold exterior, powerful tail with incredible power; they are ready to challenge every angler.

Michael with an impressive kingfish caught in Wallis Lake
Michael with an impressive kingfish caught in Wallis Lake

When it comes to tackle capable of handling a 15-kilo kingfish in shallow water it pays to set up on the heavier side. I like 50-pound mono with 80-pound fluorocarbon leader and 10/0 circle hooks and 15 kgs of drag pressure.

All of these fish are regular inhabitants and one of the main reasons I love fishing this part of the Barrington Coast.

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