River kicks into gear
  |  First Published: April 2011

Finally! A couple of weeks of decent weather and the fish are coming back on the chew, the salt and the prawns have returned to the river up to Maclean and the bream and flathead have followed them back up.

Anglers tossing lures for bream are having some great action.

If you enjoy catching bream on small surface lures, you would be in your element at the moment.

In past years when we have suffered through a wet summer, the autumn flathead run has been pretty special. Early signs are good and with the Weather Bureau is forecasting the breakup of La Niña and a better than average chance of a dry autumn/winter ahead. It all augurs well for some champagne cool-weather flattie fishing.

The school mulloway have also made a return. At time of writing the majority are being caught from around Palmers Island to the river mouth.

My records tell me that my best month for catching schoolies on lures around Maclean is November, closely followed by March, which was shaping up to be a cracker.

Although we were robbed of any sort of bass season this summer, it's not to late to have a last-ditch effort before the water cools.

All the tributaries of the Clarence are clearing nicely and if you put in the effort, the rewards will be there. Let's face it, the bass have not seen much angling pressure over the past six months!

The water and air temps are still OK for some surface lure action as well. The cicadas have all but disappeared so a more subtle approach, like walk-the-dog style presentations, tend to work better at this time of year.


This would have to be one of the months to fish the Clarence Coast offshore. Water temps are still around 24° degrees or better and the wind is certainly kinder on average.

The bulk of the mackerel run is behind us now (largely untouched), but there can be little dispute that if you want to target a large Spaniard, this is the month.

The small bonito they love to hunt will still be in big numbers. Couple this with the early migration of spawning tailor and the big barred fish will be out in force.

It’s certainly not too late to target marlin here, either. I had grand plans over summer to put plenty of time into them this season but that just did not eventuate.

The longtail tuna also have finally turned up in numbers and the live-baiters and popper chuckers are having a whole heap of fun as the fish terrorise the bait schools along the Iluka Wall.

The warm water is now in very close so they will be swimming within reach of the average trailer boat.

If you ever contemplated catching a big cobia, now is also the time.

There seems to be an unusual number of large rays hanging on the inshore reefs at the moment. This can only mean an above average chance of encountering a decent cobe and a live slimy mackerel will be their undoing every time.

The one shining light over the past few months has been the numbers of big snapper caught. Summer did not really seem to slow them down.

And they’ve been in close, too, with many good reds taken on plastics inside 20m of water, especially at the southern end of the Clarence Coast. Autumn will only see the reds get better.


Trout fishing in the Ebor region is not be missed. Cool mornings give way to days that barely reach 25°, walking long distances in waders is far more civilised at this time of the year, and the ‘Joe Blakes’ are nowhere near as active, either!

Grasshoppers will be the food of choice and the trout will be throwing caution to the winds to fatten up for the spawn run ahead.

The region has just had another top-up of rain and is looking good for the rest of the season.

• For all the latest info, call in and see us at Big River Bait & Tackle, 16B River Street Maclean – country service at city prices. Call us on 02 6645 1834 or visit www.shakeandbake.com.au

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