…now here's Paul with the weather!
  |  First Published: May 2011

What a crazy six or seven months we have had on the Clarence, with blistering heat and driving rain all in the one day.

In fact the Clarence has had more top-ups than a 21st birthday yard glass.

All of these freshes have the prawn population turned into elite athletes. One week they are heading to sea, the next they’re making their way back up to Maclean.

Still, the local bream are not complaining, they’re feasting on the prawns and they are not too hard to find, either – just look for the terns and gulls diving into the river and the bream are under them.

This month the ABT Clarence Super Series BREAM circus rolls into Maclean and it should be a cracker too, with the fish spread out from Maclean to the mouth.

The soapie mulloway that have been in plague proportions over summer are continuing to put on weight. Many legal fish are now being caught in all the usual haunts like Browns Rocks, Middle Wall and the Oyster Channel bridge.

At this time of year the Clarence will record its warmest water for the year and it is no surprise that there has been a few good mangrove jacks taken. Brown's Rocks, Oyster Channel, Iluka boat harbour and even Rocky Mouth around Maclean will be all worth a look.


At long last the mackerel decided to appear and locals and visitors were there to greet them. As usual the fish have been very fussy feeders but if you can get some live slimy mackerel to troll you will have a better than even chance.

Yellowtail will still pull Spaniards, with the bonus of maybe attracting a decent cobia or even a snapper over the inshore reefs.

The run of longtail tuna has just started and by the time this is in print they should be well and truly in full swing.

Many anglers look forward to their arrival with much anticipation. For many fishos this is the only time of year they can get a land-based game fix.

It certainly gets the adrenalin pumping as a reel unloads its contents into the ocean at breakneck speed.

The mornings are starting to get a little brisk and each dawn is greeted by a gentle cool westerly off the land.

It's beginning to feel a lot like snapper time and the early starters have been rewarded.

Like every coastal area, we have a growing band of inshore kayak fishers and although their craft maybe tiny, their catches certainly are not.

They have been giving the close grounds off Woody Head serious attention and turning up some great snapper, cobia and some uncomfortably large whaler sharks.

All the noted inshore reefs to the south of the river have also given an early taste of what's in store for a winter of snapperin’.


May is when the big mulloway start to gather on nearby reefs waiting for the mullet to make their move, so there’s never a better month to tangle with a big jewie from your boat.

It is also the first real month of the year worth putting some effort into catching a big mulloway from the main breakwalls at Yamba and Iluka. Look for a slack-water high tide just after dark on the new moon for the best results.

Live mullet is the No1 bait but mulloway are opportunistic feeders and will eat all manner of fresh bait.

This is the last month to fish for trout in the Ebor region before the winter closure. The area is looking as good as it possibly could for autumn and the days are about perfect for hiking into some back country.

With only a few weeks left, I might have to chuck a few sickies so I can fling some more fur and feathers – get up there and give it a go.

With the summer we experienced in this area, it has been the only type of fishing that has been keeping us all sane!

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

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