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There Is Something Fishy Going On In Port Macquarie?

October 27, 2018 Headline News No Comments

With fishing now one of Australia’s favourite pastimes it appears that Port Macquarie, described by Port Macquarie Tourism as a fisher’s paradise, may be the fishiest place to be in Australia!

Described as having a spectacular marine environment, an annual Golden Lure Tournament taking place from 4-12 January 2019, a superb estuary and deep-sea fishing, boat charters and the installation of the Port Macquarie Artificial Reef, a $900,000 sustainable reef ecosystem located 6.3km off the Hastings River mouth providing recreational anglers with access to new habitat and more exotic species, it appears fishing has become a very big part of the tourism economy.

Located four-hours’ drive North of Sydney, the seaside city of Port Macquarie appears to offer everything a fisherman or woman need in accommodation and services for the perfect fishing holiday, with the additional options of staying in the smaller townships of the Camden Haven such as Laurieton, Dunbogan, North Haven and Lake Cathie.

A special bonus is that the friendly locals at fishing shops will help with conditions, the best fishing spots and what bait to use, so whether casting off from a pier, throwing a line off a boat or spending a relaxing day on the beach fishing, it appears anglers will be happy, plus there is a choice of two excellent experts charters, Port Macquarie Fishing Charters or Castaway Fishing Estuary Charters.

The two magnificent river systems of Hastings and the Camden Haven, plus pristine coastal waters as well as rocky headlands and off shore reefs, offer catches that include bream, blackfish, tailor, whiting, flathead and much more.

When to go

The fish bite year-round as the area is blessed with a warm temperate climate with water and air temperatures generally mild during the winter months and very pleasant during summer. The prevailing winds in Summer are North Easterlies while in Winter the Westerly prevails.  Understandably Spring and Summer are the main fishing seasons, but beachand rock fishing are popular in Autumn and Winter when tailor, bream and mulloway are moving along the beaches.

Fishing the Hastings River

The Hastings River starts high on the Great Dividing Range and winds its way through the rich farmlands of the Hastings Valley to spill into the Pacific Ocean at Port Macquarie.  It has many significant estuarine tributaries with the Maria River and Limeburners Creek being very popular for anglers with boats. Tidal influences reach 32 kilometres inland to just upstream of Wauchope and this does impact on fishing. For those who wish to fish the upper reaches there are good catches of freshwater bass.However, you will find most anglers in the estuary and lower reaches of the Hastings River. Some of the most popular fishing spots are almost right in the heart of Port Macquarie. The Southern Breakwall is good for tailor, bream, mulloway (jewfish) and luderick (blackfish). The Town Wharf and wharves near the Fish Co-Op at the end of Clarence Street are a good place to fish for families or those on holiday who just want to throw in a line.  These spots provide a mixed catch and a chance to just relax.  The Settlement Point Picnic area is also a favourite with families with good catches of whiting, bream and flathead. If you can get out on the water, then one of the best places to fish is Limeburners Creek.  Although there are speed and wash limits because of the oyster leases in the area, these farms also attract schools of bream and luderick.  There are also flathead and blue swimmer crabs particularly in the shallower waters of Big Bay. Up river around Dennis Bridge is favoured for flathead and whiting while others try their hand in the Maria River, especially around the deeper waters of Boomerang Island.

Port Macquarie NSW Mid North Coast. Pic: Lindsay Moller Photography.

In Port Macquarie there are boat ramps at:

  • Short Street, next to the Fish Co-op;
  • End of Clarence Street;
  • Park Street at Westport Reserve;
  • River Park Road in McInherney Park off Settlement Point Road;
  • Ferrybank Creek Road in Port Macquarie West;
  • Blackman’s Point Road; and
  • Ferry Reserve on Northshore Drive, North Shore.

To view a online map of Port Macquarie, Telegraph Point and Wauchope from NSW Maritime click here

Fishing the Camden Haven

The Camden Haven River is a very popular and easily fished estuary. The area is best characterised by its relaxed feel, tranquil setting and the scenic backdrop of North Brother Mountain. The river starts high up on the Comboyne Plateau. By the time it reaches the picturesque and historic town of Kendall in the Camden Haven it seems to be a small local river. As it meanders to flow under the Pacific Highway it broadens dramatically and then finds its way through a very complex lakes system before flowing through LaurietonDunbogan and North Haven to the Pacific Ocean.

Safe entrance to the sea via the Camden Haven Inlet and the bountiful fishing of the area is the reason why Laurieton is home to the local fishing fleet. The upper reaches of the river are known for mullet, bass and catfish but it is again the lower estuarine reaches which are more popular and known for good catches of bream, flathead and luderick. The breakwalls on both the North Haven side and Dunbogan sides of the estuary mouth are favoured locations with most having success in getting a mixed bag of fish.

In the Camden Haven there are boat ramps at:

  • Eastern side of the North Haven Bridge;
  • Picnic area in North Haven;
  • Dunbogan, Bay Street and off The Boulevarde;
  • Laurieton, Reid Street and Laurie Street. Henry Kendall Reserve, off Pacific Highway;
  • Raymond Street in Kendall and
  • Evans Street off Ocean Drive, Lake Cathie.

To view a online map of the Camden Haven from NSW Maritime click here

Crabs and Prawns

Part of the magic of the Camden Haven River is the network of the river into the Watson Taylors Lake and Queens Lake. These are renowned for their prawn and blue swimmer crab. The best conditions for success are at night each month around the new moon. At this time the prawns and crabs head for the sea on the run out tide. The most popular methods of fishing are dip or scoop nets. Hand hauled nets can be used but these must be registered with NSW Fisheries. You will also find prawns at nearby Lake Cathie as well as some bream, luderick, flathead, mullet and garfish.

Off Shore Fishing

Once at sea there are some excellent reef areas with plenty of snapper, pearl perch and kingfish. To the north the area off Point Plomer and Big Hill provides opportunities for lots of reef fish while to the south there is a large reef off Diamond Head. North of Port there is some good game fishing with marlin, mackerel, dolphin fish, tuna and wahoo. A number of charter operators work out of Port Macquarie. If trying the fishing on your own, then you need to be aware that Port Macquarie has a bar, which must be carefully navigated and can be dangerous at ebb tides if the wind is north-easterly.

Beach and Rock Fishing

No matter where you are along the coastline you will always see someone beach or rock fishing. The North Shore is a wilderness area and a great place to get away from it all. Queens Head between Port Macquarie and Crescent Head is considered one of the best fishing areas on the coast for rock blackfish (black drummer) and luderick.

On the south side and closer to Port Macquarie, anglers should visit the beaches that run from Town Beach south to Lighthouse Beach for tailor, whiting and mulloway. For those with four-wheel drives and a beach permit, access is possible at selected points south from Lighthouse Beach to magnificent Rainbow Beach and Grants Beach.

In the Camden HavenPerpendicular Point is one of the best rock areas in NSW with high ledges and platforms over deep water. The high ledge is famous for its land-based captures of long tail tuna, kingfish, tailor, mulloway and mackerel tuna. The coastline of Crowdy Bay National Park is also very popular. At Diamond Head you may get snapper, big drummer or bream.

For more information go to

Edited by John Alwyn-Jones

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