FISH OF THE WEEK: Declan Vandeven (with happy uncle Glenn Cork) wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 90cm mulloway hooked in Newcastle Harbour this week.With the freshwater in the system and the amount of mullet making their way up the coast, fishing is looking good this Easter.
In fact, in keeping with the religious nature of this long weekend, the weather gods have smiled too, providing the perfect backdrop to get out and wet a line.
The pros have been busy hauling at Stockton and Blacksmiths as the mullet made a break for it.
A lot of predatorial fish had already been lining up at the mouth of estuaries to feed on what was being flushed down by recent rains.
The addition of the mullet has only added to the attraction.
Sean from Fisherman’s Warehouse at Marks Point reportedan army of anglers gearing up at the shop yesterday in preparation for the break and reports the prospects were good.
“There’s a heap of mullet coming off Blacksmith at the moment and lots of jew lurking around underneath,” he said.
“Thebreakwall on Swansea Channel has been very productive for bream.
“Tailor and bonito have been lurking off the breakwall too, and a few small salmon.
“They’re calling the salmon‘jellybeans’because they’rereal small.
“But they’re looking to feed, and as is nature’s way, there’s other fish looking to feed on them.”
Happy haulsPaul Philpott, from Stockton Tackle and Bait,agrees that with the colour in the water and the mullet running, there is a good bite going in and around Newcastle.
“The pros are hauling at the moment as each mullet run goes throughand I can tell you there’s a fair few things feeding off them.
“Guys are getting a lot of jew, bream, the odd tailor and some handy flathead.”
Paul has an Easter competition running Sunday and Monday with lots of great prizes on offer.
Competitors can enter anytime from Sundayand fish anywhere so long as they’re back at the shop by 5pm for the weigh-in.
Entry is $5 and is compulsory so that Paul knows who’s legit.
“I’ll have prizes for the biggest fish by weight, most unusual fish and a general kids section under 12,” he said.
Shop rebornThe shop Paul is referring to is of course Stockton Tackle and Bait whichis up and running at224 Fullerton Street, supplying you with all your fishing needs north of the harbour.
The actual bait shop has been there forever and used to be known as Stockton Bait and Tackle.
When the opportunity came up to get involved last October, Paul wanted to put his stamp on the business, soStockton Tackle and Bait it is.
“You gotta be individual in this world,” Paul joked this week.“Actually, the name change suited my signage.
”I’ve always wanted to run my own shop and I love my fishing and it’s going really well.”.
Stockton Tackle and Bait stocks a full range of frozen and vacuum-packed fresh and as all anglers know, it’shandy to have a shop nearby if you get down to the water and found you’ve left something at home.
And if the fishing’s no good, you can also pick up a coffee and a burger.
Stockton Tackle and Bait also does a fine line in coffee and takeway, and being a butcher by trade, Paul takes great pride in his burgers.
“Everyone raves about my works burger,” he said.“At 750g it’s hard to finish. I’m toying with a 1.5kg version.”
Hooded heroIt’s a well known fact that fishing brings out the best in the individual under pressure and the following story illustrates that.
Glenn Cork has been hosting nephew Declan Vandeven (aged 12) in Newcastle for the school holidays from Brisbane.
Declan is fishing crazy and ever since seeing photos of uncle Glenn with mulloway “he’s done nothin but dream of catching one,” according to Uncle Glenn.
He was only down for five days and Wednesday this week was the only day they could get out due to the generally average weather.
It wasn’t that crash hot Wednesday, either, but seeing as Declan was leaving next day, they went out any way.
“Bait was hard to find but after an hour and a half we were able to get 10 livies in total, herring andyellowtail,” Uncle Glenn reported.
They then headed up to Stockton breakwall to set up.
After an hour, zzzzzzzz, Declan’s line starts screaming.
With one arm in a cast from breaking his wrist last week falling off his BMX, he starts out fighting the fisht.
“Then he says ‘oh noo’,” Uncle Glenn said.
”I’m like ‘what?’
Declan was wearing a hooded jumper and the pullcord from the hoodie got wound into the overhead reel’s handle anddrag system, jamming the reel up. Panic stations!!
“We couldn’t get it out so we frantically cut the cord and got it free, crisis over,” Uncle Glenn said.
“Five minutes later Declan lands his first ever mulloway [90cm]. Happiest kid in the world. Happy Uncle too.”