Discover the best fishing spots in Port Macquarie.
The warm crystal waters of the mid-north coast are very alluring to humans and fish alike. For humans, at least, this coincidence is a lucky one. It means that there are lots of great fishing spots and they’re all teeming with fish. As a holiday angler, all that remains is to stick your hook in the water, sit back and enjoy the serenity. Oh, and remember to reel the fish in.
What to bring if you’re a fishing novice
If you are a straight out beginner when it comes to fishing, don’t worry. There is a basic list of supplies and there are plenty of people to help.
First things first. Your fishing starts with a rod. Fishing rods come in many different types, lengths and weights. As your most valuable tool, it is worth investing in a decent one.
Spend some time with the staff in your local fishing shop, let them know what your goals are and they’ll guide you towards the best gear. Think about buying a two piece rod if you are a beginner. This type of rod is much easier to transport.
Lines and lures
Once you have your rod, you need to think about your line. Fishing lines come in a bewildering array but experts recommend beginners select a simple, monofilament line. Check with the salesperson for a breaking strength that matches your new rod.
Another factor is the type of fish you would like to catch and the location you will be fishing in. Talk with your store attendant about where you are headed and they may have some advice.
Lures can be helpful for catching certain fish. Again, do your research and consult a professional. Otherwise, there is the simple hook and sinker to which you can attach your bait. Finally, don’t forget a tackle box, cutting board, fish scaler, sharp knife and of course – an icebox/esky to bring home your triumphant, record-breaking, photo-worthy catch.
You will probably also want to bring along a few basic First Aid supplies. Fishing equipment can be sharp and cause a mishap if you’re not careful. Being able to sterilise and bandage a small cut means you can keep your game face on and let the fish know that you’re not scared.
Best fishing spots in Port Macquarie
Fishing is a key attraction in the Port Macquarie area thanks to the abundant marine life. These are some of the best fishing spots in Port Macquarie that the locals head to. Just don’t tell too many people!
Spanning the beautiful blue waters of the Hastings River, Dennis Bridge is the ideal place to start your Port Macquarie fishing experience. The bridge caters for vehicle traffic but also offers a comfortable walkway which is great for setting up the rod.
Once you’ve found your spot anywhere along the width of the river, there is plentiful fishing to be had. The locals know Flathead and Whiting bite at Dennis Bridge but Herring and Bream may also end up on the line. Worms, Nippers and Prawns are the best bait to use on the bridge as these are irresistible to Bream and Whiting.
The Southern Breakwall
The Southern Breakwall, set as it is where the Hastings River meets the sea, is a hugely popular spot for fishing. Get there early if you want the best spot. Locals know just how strong their chances of a good catch are and they show up often.
Drop a line at The Southern Breakwall and you can catch Bluefish, Bream, Mulloway and Luderick. Worms, Nippers and Prawns should lure the Bream and Luderick. Mulloway love fresh and preferably live bait. This species also loves small fish and if you catch a small Luderick first, you can send it back in for a Mulloway. Bluefish are an active and aggressive fish so a lure is the best way to catch them. Many fishers will add a wire to their line because this large fish has some nasty teeth that can sever a line easily.
One of the other benefits of the Southern Breakwall is its proximity to central Port Macquarie. It’s a short walk or an even shorter drive to all the amenities you could need, including The Westport Club, when beer o’clock strikes.
If you don’t wish to go far, Town Beach Park has picnic tables and plenty of areas to set up on the grass. There is even a skate park if you have older children looking for something else to do.
You will also enjoy the fun-looking painted rocks along the breakwall. A bit of history: Around twenty years ago holidayers started painting messages and the trend took off, becoming an impromptu outdoor art gallery. You’ll never fish from more colourful and interesting rocks!
Limeburners Creek National Park
Just north of Port Macquarie is Limeburners Creek National Park. Nestled against the coast, the park presents beautiful beachsides, stunning walks, surfing and, of course, fishing. Whiting are plentiful here, with Tailor and Bonito also showing up. If you are after some Bonito, invest in some metal lures; the locals say these are your best bet. You can even try your hand at crabbing as delicious crustaceans are plentiful in the rock gutters near the campsite.
Speaking of campsites, Limeburners Creek National Park has a beautiful one, or, if you prefer more solid walls, Plomer Beach House is available to rent. Both accommodation options have toilets and showers, while the beach house also has bbq facilities and electricity. With all this and more, the national park is a great place to bring the whole family for an Aussie bush getaway. You can introduce your kids to the joys of catching and cooking their own fish, plus there are plenty of other activities nearby.
Looking for more of the best fishing spots in Port Macquarie?
Breaking up the Hastings River as it flows towards Port Macquarie, the Rawdon Islands are the place to go to catch Bream. These Bream are keen on Cicada profiles but Worms, Nippers and Prawns will also do the job as a tempting snack. Bream aren’t the only fish biting of course and you may land a Flathead, Tailor or Blackfish as well.
Being river islands, the Rawdon Islands are perfect for taking the tinny. There’s nothing like enjoying the peace of a good river fishing spot with a nice packed lunch and a drink or two (non-alcoholic of course). You’ll get just that here, with the bonus of plentiful fish.
Best fishing spots in Port Macquarie: Town Wharf
For the casual angler who doesn’t wish to stray too far, Port Macquarie’s Town Wharf is the ideal location.
You’ll find a relaxed atmosphere even closer to the centre of town than the Southern Breakwall. Bring the family and drop a line and you may catch any of a wide variety of fish.
Bream, Tailor, Blackfish, Whiting and Trevally have all been known to bite at Town Wharf so you can certainly expect a mixed catch. Locals and holidayers alike use this spot to relax, drop a line and enjoy family time.
For the ultimate deep sea experience, fishing charters are available for offshore fishing. Port Macquarie offers many charters to choose from, with experienced and friendly locals taking you straight out to the best spots. The waters of this part of the northern New South Wales coast are teeming with a huge variety of fish. Do your research, decide what you are after and let your charter know.
Our tips for offshore fishing include the following:
Find bottom dwelling and game fish like Bream, Mulloway, Flathead, Sweep, Snapper and Kingfish, at the reefs to the south of Lighthouse Beach.
For fish like Yellow Fin Tuna, Marlin, Dolphin Fish, Cobia, Spanish Mackerel, Scad, Snapper, Sweep and Pearl Perch, ask your charter to visit the north or south canyons.
If you are in for a challenge and fancy some more active sport fishing, head north off Point Plomer. Here, you have a chance at reeling in some Mahi Mahi, small Marlin, Yellow Fin Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin Fish.
Rules for fishing safety
Now you’re all set and ready to go fishing at some of the best fishing spots in Port Macquarie, it is vital you know your fishing safety.
As with any water activity, fishing can be dangerous and has cost people their lives. Just follow a few simple rules and there is no reason not to have a safe and enjoyable time.
If you are on the water, wear a life jacket. This can’t be stated enough. If you are on a boat or even somewhere where you may fall into the water, put on your life jacket. Make doubly sure any children have theirs on too.
Lifejacket rules include:
- Having enough life jackets for every person on board
- Life jackets are compulsory if you are the only adult on board
- Each passenger must wear a life jacket after dark
- Children must wear life jackets at all times
- Some life jackets expire so be aware an old and worn out life jacket may not do its job. It also may not pass muster with marine safety authorities
Only fish where it is permitted.
If an area is marked ‘No Fishing’, there is probably a good reason. There may be dangerous currents or endangered species so stay away.
Bring back up gear.
Especially if you are off the beaten track, make sure you have water, torches, navigation and communication equipment. Always tell someone where you are going and when you are due back. That way they will know if something has gone wrong.
Be careful with the fish.
You might be surprised by just how strong fish can be and many of them have mouths full of nasty, sharp teeth. Handle them carefully and respectfully.
Maintain your equipment.
Keep your equipment in good condition and be careful when handling hooks and knives. Knives should always be covered whenever they are not in use.
Beware of the sun.
Don’t think just because you’re not at the beach the sun won’t get you. UV rays are dangerous everywhere. Wear a hat and shirt and sunscreen whenever you’re in the sun. You don’t want to catch a sunburn.
Rock fishing safety
Rock fishing can be especially dangerous and earns its own safety list:
- Never fish alone.
- Wear a life jacket. You may think you’re fishing on land but if you get swept off the rocks a life jacket may save your life.
- Stay alert. Keep an eye on the weather. If a storm is coming in it might be best to leave. The same goes for tides; they can creep up on you so be aware at all times that you don’t get cut off.
- Along with your life jacket, wear appropriate clothes. Non-slip shoes and light clothing that won’t weigh you down if you end up in the water.
- Don’t go in the water in an emergency. If someone is swept into the water, look for a floatation device to throw to them and call 000.
Do the right thing
Fishing isn’t always as easy as finding a spot and dropping a line.
Remember there are rules and regulations that need to be followed, including:
- Not pulling too-small fish out of the water
- Limiting the number of fish you take home
- Paying for a fishing licence.
Head over to the NSW Department of Primary industries for information on NSW fishing regulations.
Tide charts are available from tides4fishing.com and specifically check out the Port Macquarie page. This site also provides weather forecasts but the Bureau of Meteorology is always an excellent source of all weather information.
Come up empty-handed?
While you’re in town, be sure to visit The Westport Club. If you don’t catch anything on your fishing excursion, you can still dine on seafood with a magic view at Aqua Restaurant. If you need a coffee before you head out for the day, pop into Hastings Coffee Co.