The weather is starting to warm up nicely around these parts, but true to form the fishing has been lagging a fair way behind.
Late spring is traditionally the transition period, where the good blue water is yet to arrive, and the cool winter stuff is warming daily.
Spring can be a really frustrating time of year, but don't despair there is always something to catch around these parts.
So rather than look at what isn't biting, let's look at what is.
Right now is the best time of year for big kings and snapper.
For these two species, the transition period from spring to summer means very little, with both biting freely.
Those after big kings should head down to Fish and Black rocks, both of which produce XOS kings at this time of year.
The two main catalysts for big king action is the inshore run of salmon and sauries.
While those chasing snapper tend to head north off Scotts, Grassy and Middle Head, there's no doubt some serious snapper regularly patrol both Fish and Black rocks.
Those flicking soft plastics here at dawn and dusk have a good shot at a serious red.
Keep in mind big kings don't mind jumping on lightly weighted plastics, so expect a little trouble if there's good numbers of kings around.
While I am yet to hear any report, this is the time of year to start looking for mahi mahi.
Of all the exciting northern visitors, mahi mahi are usually the first to arrive.
Prime spot to start looking is the DPI Fisheries FAD out on the 60 fathom line.
However before you head out, ring the Rocks Marine Bait and Tackle to make sure it's actually out first. They will also be able to give the GPS co-ordinates, or you can find them on the DPI fisheries web sight.
A little closer to shore there are still some decent tailor along the headlands, as well as good bream. These two species tend to hang around a little and can be caught quite regularly right up until summer.
The Macleay River is also in transition mode, with the first push of warmish water sparking up the local flathead populace.
The first place to start looking for flathead are the shallow zones, and the most likely area is up the northern arm towards Stuarts Point.
There's quite a few weed beds up that way that are well worth a flick. Concentrate your efforts on the edges of the weed beds, and expect to find reasonable numbers of fish in the 500g to 1kg class.
For the bigger fish you really have to start looking along the rock walls. While these are quite difficult spots to fish, the rugged rock walls are the place to find those croc-sized lizards.
Nowadays most anglers wouldn't consider keeping these valuable breeding fish and mainly just target them for fun. If it's a feed you're after, hit the shallow zones and score some of the more abundant and much tastier pan-sized fish.Bream are usually in good numbers and fun to catch during the warmer months with plenty of fun to be had working surface lures in the feeder creeks and up-river.
But as many know, a ‘great’ season hauling searun bream from the beaches in April and May has hindered the stock.
One hauler mentioned to me how he couldn't get top dollar for his bream after the 20 tonne shot they sent to market.
Needless to say my blood pressure was steadily rising.
I can’t believe the lack of restrictions from DPI fisheries with such valuable spawning fish.
To cut a long story short, there's basically no bream between here and Ballina thanks to a ‘bumper season’ of beach hauling...
On a more positive note, the good old bass have fired up nicely, belting surface lures when conditions suit.
Thanks to no commercial market, bass have remained a mainstay here in the Macleay and other systems, proving a reliable target as the other species end up in the co-op.
Enjoy the bass run, as the next month or so is as good as it's going to get.Reads: 1895