Fishing is a popular past-time in the Port Stephens region, with boats lining up at the local boat ramps every weekend, all keen to get out on the water and reel in some big ones. For those who don't have boats, it is a quick trip to BCF or Duff's for some bait before beach fishing at Boat Harbour, Birubi Beach or to drop in a line at their favourite bay inside the port. Before you start fishing in the Port Stephen region however, ensure you have a NSW fishing license and know where you are allowed to fish by looking at the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park Zoning Map. Also, keep an eye on the tides and for local fishing tips, check out Duffy's website for the latest news.
When taking kids fishing, depending on their age, you may need to find somewhere that isn't too dangerous with sharp rocks and where you can safely sit or stand without tripping over - or falling in the water! These are a few places that our family have discovered with our daughter age 7, however if you have a favourite spot that isn't mentioned, please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your local tip. You can never know about too many!
Soldiers Point Jetty is a favourite of ours as it has stunning views all the way along the bay, steps down to the water to fish from and safe areas to walk around for older children. What our daughter enjoys most about this venue however, is that there are other kids and families there doing the same thing. On our last visit, we didn't catch anything, however other people were pulling in whiting off the end of the jetty. The best time to visit is on the rising tide - if you see the jetty full of anglers, you know you have arrived at the right time! See here for a Google map to find it. Park your car outside the tavern at the bottom of Bannisters Hotel.
Little Beach Jetty is another top spot for families, as you can catch a variety of fish off the jetty and it is safe for kids. What our daughter likes about this jetty is that after you have a fish, you can go for a swim and play in the playground afterwards. If you take your catch over to the fish scaling area near the boat ramp, you will also meet some cheeky pelicans! See here for a Google map to find it and here for a full article on Little Beach.
Fish off the jetty at Little Beach, then go for a swim!
Nelson Bay Breakwater is a popular venue for serious anglers and families, as everyone tries their luck off the rocks facing the bay This venue isn't ideally suited to smaller children as there are a lot of sharp rocks to climb over, however if you have older kids who are happy to find a flat rock and sit for a while, then this spot is a hive of activity. Watch as anglers all along the rocks and on boats a short distance away reel in a variety of fish - most of which are large enough to keep. If you don't catch anything, you could always pick some up from the seafood shops at the start of the breakwater, or have some hot fish and chips at the Bay Harbour Café! See here for a Google map to find it.
Nelson Bay Breakwater, with cormorants, pelicans and plenty of bream!
These are just 3 of our family's favourite fishing spots to take our daughter, with the rock wall at The Anchorage Hotel in Corlette another top place to try. Where have you discovered as the best place to fish with kids in the Nelson Bay region?
When our family first moved to the area, we went into BCF at Taylors Beach to buy our rods and received excellent tips on where to go and what bait to use. We were told that the fish in the area can be a bit picky with bait, as they have such a plentiful supply of other things to eat, so we were recommended to try chicken breast marinated with minced garlic as bait - apparently the fish love it! After our initial surprise, we found that it worked - these bream caught below were from our family's first fishing trip off the rock wall at the marina at the Anchorage Hotel, using garlic chicken breast as bait. Wherever you go, whatever you have on the end of the line, enjoy making memories with your kids, which they will treasure forever.