FISH OF THE WEEK: Mitchell ParkinsonIT looks like being a pretty damp Christmas with showers, light east-nor-east winds and swell up to a metre forecast up to Christmas Day.

But with water temps on the rise and plenty of fish about, it won’t rain on angling opportunities this festive season.

Brent ‘‘Hammer’’ Hancock, from Nelson Bay Tackleworld, has a few tips for holiday anglers in Port Stephens over Christmas.

‘‘I’d fish the entrance to the Karuah River or Tilligerry Creek for flathead,’’ he said. ‘‘Find some structure – racks, rock walls, pylons – and drop plastics down the edge.

‘‘There’s also plenty of good sand whiting around.

‘‘Fish the sand flats from Soldiers Point to Jimmys Beach and back into Shoal Bay. Live tube or beach worms are the go. Surface poppers will work, too.

‘‘You’ll also got bream in the estuary. Definitely check out the oyster racks at Soldiers Points, the rock walls around North Arm Cove and the racks around the Myall River entrance.’’

Local beaches, particularly Fingal Spit, are producing good bream and whiting. Again, live worms are key.

Sisterly snaps

OFFSHORE, anglers have been getting snapper around the Sisters at Broughton Island in the early morning and late afternoons.

‘‘Anchor up with a berley trail and toss around some soft plastics,’’ Hammer said.

‘‘If you head out to the wider reefs – Big gibber, V and 21 – you’ll get snapper, kingies and trag after dark.’’

Ben Doolan got some nice reds between 3kg and 7kg this week off Little Island

Out on the Shelf there’s plenty of striped marlin around, especially places like the Carpark.

The boat Anarchy got two stripes last weekend. Greg Plunkett, aboard Lone Wolf, and his son had a potential Australian record on 10kg beside their boat on Wednesday. Unfortunately it broke off.

Early risers

GREG Hayman, from Tailermade Fishing Adventures and Singleton Fly Fishing Club, reports there’s good trag on the bite early morning north of Nobbys about five or six miles off Newcastle.

‘‘They tend to shut down after a few hours. There’s been some nice tailor on the bottom, too,’’ he said.

‘‘Water temps are warm on the top [21 degrees] but cold on the bottom [18].

‘‘There’s plenty of bait fish – slimeys and yellowtail – but the cold water is putting a lot of fish off the bite.

‘‘We’re still getting a few trevally, so that means it’s cool. There’s heaps of flathead up to 60cm around, a few ‘just legal’ snapper and small nannygai.’’

On the overflow

ALL this rain has filled dams and inland waterways throughout the Hunter and NSW. St Clair and Glenbawn are just about full and fishing well around the edges for bass.

Greg had a couple of days down in Lake Eucumbene in the Snowy Mountains and reports it’s so full he could use his boat for the first time in eight years.

‘‘What was usually a two-hour walk to get to my spot took me 15 minutes,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a blinder – got a couple of hundred trout between the four of us over a couple of days. Good fat healthy trout. Let most of them go.

‘‘Jindabyne is firing too and the rivers around Mt Selwyn. Word out of Lake Windermere [down near Jarvis Bay] is that yellow belly are going good.

‘‘There’s been some nice rainbows [trout] caught up Thompson Creek Dam at Lithgow. The water is up and when it is the fish gorge and grow very rapidly.’’

Freshen up

ARRON Flitt, from Toronto Bait and Tackle, reports Lake Macquarie anglers have caught bonito and rat kings around Moon Island.

‘‘There’s good squid in the channel,’’ Arron said yesterday.

‘‘Guys have been arming up in there and heading out to chase kings.

‘‘The Yamashita jig in the pink or orange colours has been working well for squid.

‘‘Bream have been biting on fresh mullet. There’s plenty of whiting around local sandflats in the lake.

‘‘Live bloodworms are good. There’s always flathead about in the lake, and they’ve also been plentiful outside around the 46-metre depth.’’

Arron’s big Christmas fishing tip is to stick with fresh bait.

‘‘Toronto Bait and Tackle sources theirs straight from the Sydney Fish Markets,’’ he said.

Papers, Tiger

ONE of the great pleasures of Christmas holidays is going fishing with family and friends. And one of the great pains can be copping a fine for not having your recreational fishing licence.

Fisheries will be patrolling waterways through the summer ensuring paperwork is in order and rules and regulations are being followed, so do the right thing and get it all sorted.

A $200 on-the-spot fine applies for fishing without a current fishing licence, unless exempt.

In addition, a penalty of $75 applies if fishers do not have the licence in their immediate possession.

You can get your licence from most bait and tackle shops, some Kmart stores and your local Fisheries office.

They’re also available online at or by calling 1300369365.