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Thrilled to the macks
  |  First Published: April 2011



A month is a long time in fishing, and over the past four weeks things have really started to heat up around here.

The main action has been from spotted and Spanish mackerel up on the northern reefs.

The spotties are in much greater numbers than the bar mackerel (as is normally the case), though they are not over-big fish.

Most of the spots have been around 2kg to 3kg. As the season wears on we should see the average size increase by a few kilos.

Those targeting them out on the middle and wide grounds (in 40m to 50m off Grassy Head) should find a larger class of fish.

The Spanish run has been very welcomed around these parts, with most locals saying it's the best run they're seen in the past 10 years.

The average size is around 8kg to 10kg with a sprinkling of 12kg to 15kg fish mixed in. If you're really lucky you may encounter some much bigger fish of 20kg to 30kg, but certainly not many.

Those heading out off Trial Bay Jail looking for baby black marlin have been pretty disappointed.

Yep, it’s been another year the fish didn't show in numbers worth targeting.

So that's seven years straight the run has been very average indeed.

I did hear of a few sailfish caught, so not all is lost for the small group of diehards out there targeting billfish. Fingers crossed next year’s run is a blinder – it has to come good eventually!

Cobia are always welcome around these parts, though this year the ‘run’ is more a sprinkling of fish from all different age classes.

One day you'll hear of cobes around 5kg caught, then the next they will be closer to 30kg.

Any cobia is a good cobia, but the bigger fish are what we really want. There's still a month or two left of the run, so maybe they will bulk up and find some consistency between now and then.

Wahoo are trickling through. The average size is around 10kg with a few around 20kg.

The gun method seems to be trolling minnows and bibless lures.

Another reliable lure is the old jetheads. Rigged with 90lb wire and dragged at 8 knots and above, you should eventually score one of these northern speedsters if you troll in areas with noticeable signs of bait or birds working.

It's a big ocean so look for signs of life or you’ll just be wasting petrol.

RIVER CLEARS

Back in the Macleay River, flathead and bream have sparked up since last month.

The rain has kept away for the past four weeks and both species seem much happier to feed. Still, stay in the lower reaches, particularly below Jerseyville bridge.

Whiting are biting quite well up towards Smithtown, especially around Benalong. Live nippers and worms have been the gun baits.

Up closer to Smithtown, bass, flathead and a few bream are moving around. This is real brackish country, so you get a good mix of fish at times

Mulloway have been scarce – as they have for the past five years – and this is largely due to lousy DPI Fisheries management.

Heavy beach hauling on spawn-run fish (which should be just about under way when you read this) and heavy estuary netting have added up to a serious decline in mulloway numbers.

It's totally frustrating to see such a magnificent species dwindle to near-total collapse.

Locally over the past five years they have faded to around 10% of previous years.

This all coincides with an exceptional beach hauling season the year before, when virtually every net shot produced numbers of jewfish.

The remnant schools could easily recover if Fisheries would put their hands up and say, ‘mulloway are now a recreational species only’.

This one step would boost tourism up and down the coast and allow these magnificent fish to prosper. This has to happen before it's too late!

FISH ROCK

As many of you know, there have been some new rules put in at Fish Rock and Green Island.

Basically you can't fish at either location with bait; you are allowed to use only lures.

You can either troll or spin, no jigging, and no anchoring.

Yep, it's crap, but it's better than not being allowed to fish there at all.

For all the dismal details go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/species-protection/fish-rock. A word of warning: just have your sick bag close by as you read the rubbish to justify the decision.

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