FISH OF THE WEEK: Adrian Callaghan wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 21-kilogram longtail tuna caught while spinning for tailor off the rocks north of Hawks Nest. ‘‘What a surprise,’’ Adrian reported. ‘‘We could see a bait ball and thought we might get a few tailor from underneath. The tailor were absent, however, this fella made the trip a memorable one. How hard do they go off the rocks!!!’’ A HUGE high pressure system over the east coast of Australia has provided outstanding fishing conditions this week and the snapper have responded, according to Jason “One For” Nunn, from Fisherman’s Warehouse.
“We’ve been seeing snapper up north and in local waters, and coming off the rocks. Not big fish, but good numbers,” he said.
“We’ve seen them at Flagstaff at Swansea Heads, up to 42 centimetres this week, and coming off Blacksmiths beach too. Inshore reefs are producing as well.”
Jason has a theory that the increase in snapper action may be put down to the decrease in professional fish trapping.
To quote Billy Joel, he may be right, he may be crazy, but guys have been getting them.
Ben Hayes got a nice pair off Newcastle recently and Rickie Turner scored one off Stockton beach.
But the biggest by far was this 16-kilogram snapper caught by Albany local Nathan Brown off the rocks in WA on May 12.
MONSTER: Albany local Nathan Brown with his 16kg red hooked off the rocks at Albany.
It measured 112 centimetres and was just shy of the Australian record of 18.4 kilograms.
Getting back to the weather, experts are tipping we may be heading into an El Nino phase and if the current conditions hold up we’ll have had the most 20-degree days in May on record.
Salmon find lake
AFTER a lean couple of years, the salmon are back bigger than Ben-Hur in Lake Macquarie.
The “Marks Point Marksman”, Patrick Nunn, and good mate Justin Worley have been working them over in Salts Bay.
The boys got 15 last Saturday using the ever-reliable Casper Clears with the deadly little resin heads. The biggest went 3.1 kilograms.
Unlike previous years, the salmon have entered the lake and have started to spread out over to Belmont Bay, right along the edge and south down Gwandalan/Pulbah Island way.
OFFSHORE out wide has been lifeless apart from the antics of the boys on Newcastle Game Fishing Club boat Rocket, who may well have kicked off a tradition to be known in future as the “Porcupine Challenge”.
Jason was with NGFC member Steve Norris.
“We didn’t see a fish all day, and we did a lot of miles,” Jason said.
“We were in 300 fathoms, 40 miles offshore, no boats, no birds, no nothing, except this four-inch puffer fish that happened to get hit dead centre in the head by a 14-inch marlin lure and big 11-0 hook as we trolled by.
“The unluckiest toad in the ocean. I turned to Steve and said ‘you truly are the champ’. He called me names I can’t repeat. So I said ‘I’m getting our boat, Running Bear, out here next year and we’ll have a Porcupine Challenge.’ It was a bit of fun on a slow day.”
Jason reports water temp was 23.8 degrees on the Shelf but the further out you went the worse the colour got.
ON a more encouraging note, the inshore reefs have been firing.
There’s a bit of current about, but anglers have been getting perch, kings and trag off Terrigal. Meanwhile, the FAD off Swansea continues to attract dolphin fish.
It’s been one of the best years for dollies – they’ve been hanging around now for nearly five months.
Bream real studs
EVERYBODY is talking about the quality of bream this year – real studs.
“Allan McMaster fished Cave Beach and got bream up to 38 centimetres on worms this week,” Jason said.
“Steve Mason got 16 in two days through the week, some nice trevally and a flathead.
“They all made comment about the width of the bream, all travelling bream with travel fat.”
AS our Fish of the Week shows, there’s longtail tuna about off local rocks.
Broughton Island has been firing for snapper, and there was a bit of a buzz last week about some local lake anglers who got smoked by kingfish off Moon Island.
Lizards flat out
THERE’S good numbers of sand flathead around inshore reefs, according to Cameron Judd.
He fished the sand edges last Saturday with Brett Hayes and ended up with around 30 in an hour, all around 45 centimetres.
“I said to Brett they must be lying on top of each other down there, they were so thick.” Cam said. “When we got back to the cleaning tables there were a few other people with good catches of flattys from up Redhead way so they must have been on everywhere.”
Paul Lowe got this nice flathead in Lake Macquarie.
NINETEEN people fished the Budgewoi Fishing Club outing last weekend, with 82 fish recorded, weigh master Graeme Morgan said.
“The winners were deep sea John Rappa, estuary Bill Ingram, secret weight Allen Friend, female winner Kathy Dixon and junior winner Cody Ison.”
Around the traps
MATTHEW Burgess, from Kurri Kurri, caught a three-kilogram bonito at Stockton breakwall on a bait jig chasing yellowtail. Tom Sherwood got a seven-kilogram jew in Lake Macquarie on soft plastics. And three-year-old Anna James got a 73-centimetre flathead in the lake with minimal help from her dad.