The fishing on the Tweed River has been hot and cold for the majority of the summer thus far, mostly because of the constant rain dirtying the river and shutting down the fishing.
Fortunately there has been a lot of current running on the offshore grounds, which has been able to move a lot of the dirty water away from the river mouth and help the Tweed to clear fairly quickly.
When the river has been clean the fishing has been reasonably good with a variety of fish coming to those getting out there in the often-inclement weather.
Some good mangrove jacks have been caught throughout the system with local gun angler Steve Blainey having some good sessions on these prized estuary fish, as well as a few school jew.
Steve has been catching most of his fish on soft plastics in the deeper sections of the river. This has been a good tactic because the deeper sections hold more good salty water with the outgoing fresh floating on top.
The fish have been sitting in these deeper spots in good numbers to get out of the fresh water and Steve has been taking full advantage.
The walls and rock bars around the middle to lower sections of the river have also been productive spots to troll hard-bodied lures or live baits and have produced jacks, trevally, cod and the odd flathead.
Bear in mind that most of these fish pull extremely hard when hooked and they will need to be wrestled away from the rocks to ensure that you keep your lure and land the fish.
We recently had a very productive filming session on our charter boat RU4REEL with ET for his TV show Escape with ET.
We caught a variety of mackerel species using a few different techniques, as well as some cracking yellowtail kingfish on downrigged live baits.
We could see the kings marking up on the sounder and as soon as we trolled the live baits through them we hooked up. On one session we attached a Towcam camera to the Canon downrigger ball and watched a 12kg kingfish come up to the live slimy mackerel, eat it and then swim off – some pretty cool on-camera stuff.
The offshore fishing has been dominated by mackerel around Palm Beach Reef and Mermaid Reef.
Even though there have been massive numbers of boats on these two reefs day in and day out, they have still been producing spotties, spaniards, cobia and a variety of other reef fish most days.
There have been huge schools of whitebait covering these reefs and the mackerel have been queuing up to get them.
Small slugs have been the most productive method of targeting these tasty table fish and unfortunately they have been quite fussy about the use of trace wire on the slugs. We have had sessions where we will get countless follows if we have wire and will hook up only when the lure is tied straight to a mono leader or main line. The odd bite-off is therefore standard.
The spots should still be around in February with a few more spanish making their presence felt. The spaniards will spread to all the popular reefs by February with Kingscliff, Fidos, Cook Island and Black Rock the main spots to try.
Hopefully we should still see a few black marlin. These fish generally move to the wider grounds in February and March, depending on where the bait is and the quality of the water.
Mahi mahi are excellent by-catch when trolling the wider grounds for marlin and they put up just as an impressive show on the line as the marlin do.
Mahi mahi are excellent table fish as well, but remember that they often go crazy when put in the boat – and be wary of the threshing hooks on your lures.
All in all, February can be a good month on the Tweed for a variety of fish so get out there.Reads: 1862