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  |  First Published: March 2011

This would have to be one of the hardest columns I have ever had to write.

I have always tried to be optimistic, but after what would has to have been the worst six months of weather in living memory, topped off with a major flood, even the Dalai Lama would struggle to raise a smile if he was a fisherman on the Clarence.

Anyway, mustn’t grumble!

Now for the good news: All this rain has the whole of the Ebor region in absolutely perfect condition. Taking a look over the countryside would truly have you believe it was October up there, not February.

And the trout have benefited greatly. The water up there is still extremely cool and this year’s stocked fish are fattening up nicely indeed, auguring well for this Autumn and for a cracker spring and summer next season.

After the enormous downpours in the upper catchment, the Clarence river from Grafton to Maclean is a waste of time as I pen this. The oxygen level is very low and there has been a minor fish kill.

The Clarence is a big river, though, and it will recover very quickly. By the time you read this, good water will be pushing up past Palmers Island.

Most of the attention has been on Lake Wooloweyah because the local area did not get a huge amount of rain and the lake kept a good plug of salt up there.

The Middle Wall has had a huge concentration of bream as clean water is pushed in on the making tide.

Add the odd school mulloway and flathead to the mix and you can have an almost fish-a-cast session on the smaller tides.

There have been a fair few eagle rays spotted in the river around Oyster Channel, so maybe there is still a chance of a few blue swimmer crabs to be had yet. Eagle rays and cobia will often follow the migrating crabs up the river at this time of year.


A couple of days before the flood, locals were reporting massive schools and huge catches of spotted mackerel around Shark Bay, just north of Woody Head.

It looked like a very early and promising start to the season, but post-flood I have not heard of a single sighting.

And even the sea can't seem to get it seasons in order; the reefs to the north and also a fair way south have been producing better snapper now than they did all Winter, and in close as well, in 10m to 20m.

Big boats that have been able to push wide of the discoloured water report brilliant 26° blue water, mahi mahi and the odd wahoo. I hope that by the time you read this, I will be in my boat and out there among them as well.

My heart goes out to all those effected by the horrendous flooding and cyclones through Queensland, Victoria and Northern NSW.

Let’s hope that was the almost mythical ‘1-in-100-year flood’ will not be repeated in our lifetimes – somehow I doubt it, though!

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